Rafał Blechacz



Rafał Blechacz was born in 1985 in Nakło nad Notecią. He started playing the piano at the age of five. He studied in the Artur Rubinstein State Primary School of Music in Bydgoszcz under Professor Jacek Polański. In 2007 he completed piano studies in the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz under Professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń. Still a student, the artist received many awards and honors such as the 1st Prize and Grand Prix in the 13th Johann Sebastian Bach National Competition in Gorzów Wielkopolski (1996), the 2nd Prize in the 5th Artur Rubinstein International Competition for Young Pianists in Bydgoszcz (2002). He also won the 1st prize in the 5th International Piano Competition in Hamamatsu, Japan (2003).


As the winner of the Grand Prix of the 15th Chopin Piano Competition Rafał Blechacz started giving concerts in the most prestigious venues such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna, Berliner Philharmonie, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Herkulessaal in Munich, Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Royal Festival Hall as well as the Wigmore Hall in London, Tonhalle in Zurich, La Scala in Milan, among others. He is invited to the best music festivals such as Salzburg, Verbier in Switzerland, La Roque-d'Anthéron (France), Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany as well as the Gilmore Festival in the USA. He plays with numerous symphony orchestras, cooperating with outstanding conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Daniel Harding, Pavo Järvi, Fabio Luisi, Kent Nagono, Andris Nelsons, Victor Pablo Perez, Trevor Pinnock, Mikhail Pletnev, Jerzy Semkow, Antoni Wit and Dawid Zinman. In 2006 the artist signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, classical music record label. He is the second in history, after Krystian Zimerman, Polish pianist signed to this prestigious label.


Rafal Blechacz’s first album with Fryderyk Chopin’s Preludes appeared in 2007. In Poland it obtained platinum record status two weeks after its launch. It has been honored with many awards, among others by German Echo Klassik and French Diapason d’Or. The next album, this time with sonatas of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, was released one year later and again it was very well received. After the success of the two first albums the artist celebrated the Chopin’s Year of 2010 recording both Chopin’s Piano Concertos under Jerzy Semkow and with the legendary Concertgebouw Orchestra, proclaimed in 2009 by the British magazine Gramophone the best orchestra of the world. This third album of Rafał Blechacz was honored with Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the prestigious award of critics from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In Poland it obtained double platinum record status overnight. The next recording featuring works of Debussy and Szymanowski, due to a thoughtful selection of the repertoire, as well as masterful performance, gained significant publicity and recognition among international music critics. In 2012 the Deutsche Phono Akademie awarded Blechacz the Echo Klassik prize in the category the Best Solo Album of the Year (19th and 20th centuries). Furthermore, this same recording was honored as the Album of the Month by the British magazine Gramophone. It was also recognized with the Polish phonographic Fryderyk Award as the best classical music album of 2013. In the fall of 2013 Rafał Blechacz returned to Chopin’s repertoire recording his seven grand polonaises. This album obtained gold record status on the day of its release. Soon after, it was honored with Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik as the best album in the category Piano music (2013).


In July 2010 Rafał Blechacz received the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena) award for his overall artistic achievements bestowed on him by the international jury of music critics. In January 2014 in New York he was pronounced the winner of the Gilmore 2014 award, highly valued in the piano world, conferred every four years on the most outstanding artist to provide financial support for advancing their artistic career.


On February 24, 2015 in Warsaw during the concert in the Warsaw Philharmonic Rafal Blechacz was awarded during the concert at the National Philharmonic with the President of the Republic of Poland’s medal, the Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.


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Competition partners
The Competition is financed by
The Competition is financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Republic of Poland from the Fund of the Promotion of Culture, obtained from subsidies established in games covered by the state monopoly, in accordance with Article 80 (1) of the Act of 19 November 2009 on gambling games, as part of the “Music” program, implemented by the National Institute of Music and Dance and the City of Bydgoszcz.
Partner of the International Paderewski Piano Competition is Kujawsko-Pomorskie Region.