Rafal Blechacz Chronology

Rafal Blechacz

2005 Grand Prix at the 15th Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition, Warsaw, winning all the Special Awards for best Performance of Mazurka, Polonaise, Concerto and Sonata. (No second prize was awarded in 2005).

Rafal Blechacz

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PURE BEAUTY:

“Rafał Blechacz, a 20-year-old very modest but extremely gifted young artist, has won the title of the best Chopin pianist of 2005!”
(Jan Popis, from Gazeta of the Competition as of Oct.22, 2005)
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“It was Rafał Blechacz’s competition”.
(Adam Rozlach, from Gazeta)

- What did you have to give up to play the piano? Do you miss anything?
“I didn’t have to give up anything. And I would miss playing the piano”.
(Rafał Blechacz’, from Gazeta)

“Although the Chopin Competition is something sacred to us Poles, my teacher and I treated it as just one more stage in my development. There are many other competitions after which one could also begin a concert career. Mme Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń had always stressed this fact, adding: 'You could lose in every competition, but it is most important for you not to lose your love of music.'"
(Rafał Blechacz, from liner notes of album ”Chopin Complete Preludes”)
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Rafal Blechacz

At Steinway’s Hamburg Factory, May 2006,
Purchased his own Steinway. Gave a special recital for the workers of the Factory.
Concluded an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, the label of Rolls-Royce for classical music according to Julian Sykes, during this trip.

“It was, according to the pianist, no real competition. Once he played the model B Steinway, number 575 336 to be precise, he knew he had found the instrument with his name on each and every key. Boasting a 211cm length, its sound, rich and multi-colored, sang to him.”
(From Steinway & Sons, owners’ magazine, page21)
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“I am happy that the first contract with DG ended well….. I have now signed a new contract for three more albums. The next one without Chopin's music….I will play these works during my concerts soon…
(Rafał Blechacz, from interview with Jacek Hawryluk of Polish Radio, Aug. 2009.)
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Rafal Blechacz

U.S debut at Gilmore International
Keyboard Festival, April 2008

“Pianist Rafał Blechacz displays grace, versatility in thrilling Gilmore recital”
(C.J. Gianakaris, Kalamazoo Gazette, April, 2008)
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Salzburg recital debut, August 15, 2008

“As the pianist made himself at home, wholeheartedly enjoying playing music, he let listeners freely absorbed in the merits of each work.
The bigger becomes a stage, the more Blechacz demonstrates his potentiality.
Rather than showing off techniques, he relies on his ability to express and depth of musicality.
He draws sighs of admiration and sometimes tears of inspiration”.
(Yoshiko Ikuma, Aug. 2008)
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Salzburg recital debut, August 15, 2008

“Rafał Blechacz – Starry young Lisztian.
…..he demonstrated what you ought to demonstrate in these pieces: a big technique and a Romantic imagination. In other words, Mr. Blechacz is a Lisztian.
Throughout these pieces, when the pianist performed some technical feat, the man in front of me looked
at his wife as if to say, "How 'bout that?" His amazement and pleasure was justified”.
(Jay Nordlinger, NY Sun, Aug. 2008)
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Rafal Blechacz

Recorded Chopin’s two concertos in commemoration of 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
A week-long recording session was held in June and July, 2009 at Amsterdam Concertgebouw, including a live concert, with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra directed by Jerzy Semkow.

"… I want to stress an important event, which is the year 2010 approaching- the Year of Chopin. I think these concertos are the most representative work of piano and orchestra among the creations by this composer. Therefore, such a decision"
(Rafał Blechacz)
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“Divinely playing Blechacz becomes Chopin:
Technique, the outmost refinements in the touches, the incredibly virtuoso passage play, we do not even need to mention. These speak for themselves. It was all musicality.
His rubato, the soul of Chopin’s music, was absolutely unique”.
(Erik Voermans, Het Parool, prestigious paper in Amsterdam)
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Rafal Blechacz

Played Chopin’s concerto in F minor for the Gala concert of Chopin’s 200th Birthday week in Warsaw on Feb. 22, 2010

“…..after five years of beautiful and wise development of his international career and at the same time maturing as an artistic personality, he showed how deeply he enters into the understanding and feeling of the Chopin music”
(Themis Stankiewicz-Podhorecka on Nasz Dziennik, Feb. 2010).
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Rafal Blechacz

Back stage of J.F. Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, Washington DC, Feb. 27, 2010
after DC debut recital
(Courtesy Roman Frackowski)

“Blechacz is a student only in the deeper sense: a musician in service to the music, searching its depths, exploring its meaning and probing its possibilities. He plays with humility and absolute clarity…”
(Phillip Kennicott, Washington Post, March 2010)
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Awarded the International Prize of Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Chigiana Musical Academy). It’s the 27th edition of this prestigious prize for young and prominent pianists and violinists. The prize was awarded on July 13, 2010 in Siena, Italy.
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Awarded the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (Prize of the German Record Critics) of 2010 for his remarkable recording of Chopin's Piano Concertos No. 1 and No. 2, in Stuttgart on Dec. 13, 2010.
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Rafal Blechacz

Awarded the double platinum disc for his recording of Chopin Piano Concertos, in Poznań, Poland, May 22, 2010.

On January 8, 2014, Rafał Blechacz was named the the 2014 Gilmore Artist. The prize is given to the most distinguished artist every four years by the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Michigan through a full-fledged scrutiny of candidates by a group of experts in an extended period of time.

Website of the Gilmore Artist Award

Photo credit: Andrea Mohin/ The New York Times

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