Over the past two weeks more than one hundred participants from twenty countries came to Katowice to compete in the five competition categories at the first Karol Szymanowski International Music Competition.

Content by Albion Media

The Karol Szymanowski International Music Competition is held every five years with total prize money of over 280,000 Euros. It aims to promote Polish music and to raise awareness of Karol Szymanowski and his compositions. Krzysztof Penderecki and Simon Rattle form the Competition’s Honorary Committee and the Director of the Competition is Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa.

The Competition is organised by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) in Katowice in cooperation with Polish Radio, Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, and Karol Szymanowski Music Society in Zakopane.

On Sunday 23 September the finalists performed at a Gala with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in the NOSPR Concert Hall in Katowice.

About the winners:

Composition: Giovanni Bonato
Italian composer Giovanni Bonato studied at the Verdi Conservatoire in Milan and is the winner of more than 20 international prizes from Rome to Tokyo.

Successes include his opera Auxele which was premiered in Vienna and being composer in residence with the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto.

His works have been performed by musicians and orchestras around the world including the Arditti Quartet, Ex Novo Ensemble, Leonard Slatkin, the Estonian National Male Choir and the World Youth Choir.

Bonato’s compositions have been broadcast by major European radio stations and been published by Ricordi, Rugginenti, Agenda and many others.

Piano: Tymoteusz Bies
The 23-year-old pianist has won prizes in many major piano competitions and festivals including the National Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and 1st prize at the Friuli Venezia Giulia International Piano Competition.

Appearances include NOSPR, National Philharmonic, Silesian Philharmonic, Opole Philharmonic, concert hall of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum, St Petersburg, Paris, Cologne, Rome, the 69th Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdrój and the Chopin & his Europe Festival.

Scholarships include Krystian Zimerman’s Scholarship (2016), Piotr Kler’s Foundation Scholarship (2016), and the Scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2015). His debut recording of Mozart and Chopin concertos was released this year.

String Quartet: Eliot Quartett
The Germany based Eliot Quartett was founded in 2014 and named after T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets which was inspired by Beethoven’s late quartets. The Eliot Quartet are united with Eliot and Beethoven in trying to establish a connection between the past, present and future by breaking away from the accepted classical forms of their time.

Previous prizes include the Polytechnische Gesellschaft Frankfurt chamber music prize; 3rd prize at the Felix Mendelssohn- Bartholdy Hochschulwettbewerb and 2nd prize at the Irene Steels-Wilsing Foundation String Quartet Competition. This year, the Eliot Quartett took home 2nd prize at the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg and at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and became the first string quartet in 14 years to be awarded the German Music Competition Prize, as well as three additional special prizes.

The Quartet has performed in various concert series throughout Europe, including a residency at the Kammermusikwoche at the Thüringische Sommerakademie.

Violin: Sławomira Wilga
Previous competition and prize wins for Wilga include: 1st prize, Grażyna Bacewicz International Violin Competition; 3rd prize, Michał Spisak International Music Competition in Dąbrowa Górnicza; 1st prize, International Chamber Music Competition in Bydgoszcz; 2nd prize, Kiejstut Bacewicz International Chamber Music Competition in Łódź; 1st prize, Music Festival & Masterclass in Piła and many others.

As a soloist, she has repeatedly performed with European and Asian symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras and ensembles including the Silesian, Kalisz, Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestras, and Norwegian Telemark Orchestra.

Wilga is also a recipient of numerous grants including from the Minister of Culture & National Heritage and the Yamaha Foundation.

Voice: Ewa Tracz
A former member of the young artist programme at the Accademia Teatro Alla Scala, Tracz made her La Scala debut in 2016 singing Konstanze in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail.

Tracz has won numerous competitions and was a semi-finalist at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, St. Petersburg in 2015. Courses and masterclasses attended include those with Neil Schicoff, Luciana D’Intino, Gregory Kunde and Eva Mei.

She has sung leading roles in European opera houses that include Puccini’s Suor Angelica; Mozart’s Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte) and Countess (Marriage of Figaro) and Verdi’s Giovanna D’Arco.

Karol Szymanowski International Music Competition

10-23 September

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