Sławomir Zubrzycki

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Sławomir Zubrzycki - pianist, clavichordist, claviolinist, composer, and constructor of musical instruments, born and living in Cracow.

In 1988 Sławomir Zubrzycki graduated from the Academy of Music in Cracow, where he studied piano in Professor Tadeusz Żmudziński's class, and modern music in Professor Adam Kaczyński's class. Having received a grant from The Fulbright Program, he continued to study piano at The Boston Conservatory of Music under the supervision of Janice Weber in 1990-91. The pianist also developed his artistic skills by participating in master classes taught by: Victor Merzhanov, Michael Lewin, Jerome Lowenthal, Włodzimierz Obidowicz, Johann Sonnleitner (harpsichord).

In 1987, he won a Prize at the Polish Piano Art Festival in Słupsk. Sławomir Zubrzycki has been giving concerts both as a soloist - performing with Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra, Capella Cracoviensis, Toruń Chamber Orchestra, Imperial College London Sinfonietta - and as a chamber musician with Olga Szwajgier's Quartet (as one of its members), Gwendolyn Bradley, Jadwiga Gadulanka, Andrzej Hiolski, in Poland, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Ukraine and USA. He has made several recordings for Polskie Nagrania (Polish recording company), Polish Radio and Television. As a presenter, composer and musical director he has collaborated with Polish Televison on production of educational programs, such as Wszystko gra (It's All Music To My Ears - a series of lectures on musical instruments for TVP 1 and TVP Polonia) and Sesame Street (Polish version for TVP 2). He has taken part in several festivals, including: Poznań Spring of Music, Music in Old Cracow, Audio-Art in Cracow, Fest der Kontinente in Berlin, Visiting Artist Series in Berklee College of Music in Boston, The Colours of Poland, Warsaw Cross Culture Festival, Turning Sounds in Cologne and Warsaw, Edinburgh Theatre Festival. He specializes in performing contemporary music, ranging from dodecaphony to instrumental theatre, improvisation and performance art. He was a lecturer at Summer Academy of Contemporary Music - Avantgarde Tirol in Austria (2005, 2007). He teaches his own piano class at the Frederic Chopin State Secondary Music School in Cracow.

Apart from the series of television lectures, his long-lasting interest in the design and construction of musical instruments made him build a replica of Johann Silbermann's clavichord from 1775. The instrument, which is considered to be the ancestor of the piano, and has its distinctive expressiveness, came into being in Sławomir Zubrzycki's own workshop in 1994.

In 2009 Zubrzycki came across the traces of a real rarity - the instrument designed by Leonardo da Vinci, but which had almost been unknown and forgotten.

The designs and drawings with Leonardo's comments in his mirror-image handwriting can be found in Codice Atlantico (Atlantic Codex), the largest - comprising over 1000 cards - collection of Leonardo's notes from 1489-1492. The instrument, called Viola Organista, had never been built by Leonardo himself. Over 500 years there have been several attempts to build individual copies of the instrument, yet none of them won the approval of contemporary musicians. Fascinated by the facts from the past, in the years 2009 - 2013 Zubrzycki created his own version of Leonardo da Vinci's design, drawing also on other instruments from 1575 - 1625. The premiere recitals of viola organista (on 18 October 2013 in Cracow, during the International Royal Cracow Piano Festival, and on 21 October at Conrad Festival) were a spectacular artistic success and received a lot of publicity in the media. The video report from the viola's first concert has been watched by more than two million people on YouTube. The news about the construction of viola organista was presented by the most popular media all over the world, including BBC, TheTelegraph, France 24, Deutche Radio Kultur, Le Figaro, Corierre della sera, Japan Times , MSN, Oman Daily Observer, Hindustan Times, Taipei Times, San Francisco Classical Voice, Sydney Morning, CNN México.

Viola organista European tour in 2014 included recitals at Mantta Music Festival, Stockholm Early Music Festival, Wratislavia Cantans, Ghent Festival of Flanders, Kotor Art Festival, Copernicus Festival, Anima Musica, Almo Collegio Borromeo Concerts, "Five O'clock" Polish Radio channel 2 and Polish Music Days in Turkey.


(c) Sławomir Zubrzycki 2015

Photo: Grażyna Makara TP