Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz has been the recipient of two particularly prestigious honors. In October 2005 he was the winner of the 15th Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, and in January, 2014 he was named the recipient of the 2014 Gilmore Artist Award.
Blechacz’ victory of 2005 in Warsaw opened for him the doors of some of the world’s most renowned concert halls such as Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Berliner Philharmonie, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Avery Fisher Hall in New York, La Scala in Milan, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, just to name a few.
Blechacz has performed as soloist with many major orchestras and has worked with such distinguished conductors as Valery Gergiev, Paavo Järvi, Charles Dutoit, David Zinman, Marek Janowski, Krzysztof Urbański, Fabio Luisi, Antoni Wit, Trevor Pinnock, John Storgårds, Jaap van Zweden, and Daniel Harding.
Rafal Blechacz toured the U.S. in the 2012-13 season, performing recitals in many cities including New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, as well as with the Detroit Symphony. In the 2013-14 season his schedule includes recital performances in Chicago, Portland, OR, Atlanta, and Kalamazoo.
In May 2006 Blechacz signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon and his first CD of the Chopin Preludes was released in Europe in October 2007. This CD won several awards, such as the German Echo Klassik and French Diapason d’Or. His second Deutsche Grammophon CD with the sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven released a year later, in October 2008, won immediately a great praise from music critics and the listening public. Upon the big success of those two CDs he honored the Chopin Year 2010 by recording Chopin’s Concertos for the “Yellow Label” with the acclaimed Concertgebouw Orchestra (listed in 2009 by the British music magazine “Gramophone” as world’s No. 1) under the baton of Jerzy Semkow. Soon after, the Concertos CD was awarded the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, a prestigious prize of the German music critics. After its release in Poland, it quickly reached the double Platinum Record status. His fourth Deutsche Grammophon CD entitled “Debussy/Szymanowski” was released on February 1, 2012. It received a great international acclaim and amassed excellent reviews as well as a title of the Recording of the Month from the British “Gramophone” for May 2012. In July 2012 Deutsche Phono-Akademie awarded the Debussy/Szymanowski CD with its distinguished annual prize ECHO-Klassik in the category of Piano-Solo recording of the year (20th/21st century). On April 25, 2013, for the same album again, Fryderyk, the most prestigious prize in the field of music in Poland, was awarded to him in the category of the classical music best recording of the year. He returns to Chopin for his latest Deutsche Grammophon album, a recording of the composer’s Polonaises nos. 1-7, released on September 6, 2013.
Born in 1985 in Nakło nad Notecią, Poland, Mr. Blechacz began his piano studies at age five, and continued his musical education at the Artur Rubinstein State School of Music in Bydgoszcz. In May 2007, he graduated from the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, where he studied with Professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń.