The Karol Lipiński Academy of Music is the only institution of higher education in the Lower Silesia region preparing pupils for artistic careers in orchestras, ensembles, choirs, as educators, and other aspects of music including composition, conducting, music therapy and jazz.
Marek Pijarowski pursued his studies in conducting at the Academy of Music in Wrocław under Tadeusz Strugała as well as participating in International Music Courses in Weimar under Arvid Jansons. In 1977 he was awarded an Austrian government scholarship and spent nine months in Vienna, under Carl Oesterreicher at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst. In 1974 he began serving as the conductor’s Assistant at the Wrocław Philharmonic. The same year he took part in the All-Poland Conducting Competition in Katowice, where he won First Prize and the Special Prize of the Silesian Philharmonic. In 1980 he was appointed General and Artistic Director of the Wrocław Philharmonic serving until 2002. From 2002 until 2005 he was the Artistic Director of the A. Rubinstein Philharmonic in Łódź. He currently holds the title of the Principle Conductor of the Poznań Philharmonic.
From 1980 until 2000 he also served as the Artistic Director of the Festival of the Polish Contemporary Music in Wrocław, and between 1986 and 1987 he was the Director of the International Chopin Festival in Duszniki. In 1997 he attained the designation of profesor sztuki muzycznej conferred by the President of the Republic of Poland. Pijarowski has collaborated with the K. Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław, for a number of years, running the conducting class as well as serving for a period as Vice-Rector. He also serves as a Professor of conducting at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music. Pijarowski has been decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta as well as the Gloria Artis Order.
Gracjan Szymczak was born in Wrocław and graduated from the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music having studied piano with Grzegorz Kurzyński. He currently studies conducting and is pursuing a Doctorate in piano at the Wrocław Academy. Szymczak was awarded second prize at the Miłosz Magin Competition in Łódź, in 2007, and the Grand Prix and Press awards, in Paris, in 2009. He was also honoured with a special prize for the best performance of a work by Granados at the Edward Grieg International Piano Competition in Oslo. Szymczak performed at the International Chopin Festival in Duszniki Zdrój, in 2008.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator