en / pl

Izabella Szałaj-Zimak


fot. Agata Grzybowska

Izabella Szałaj-Zimak graduated with distinction from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, where she studied violin with Roman Lasocki and Krzysztof Jakowicz. Having completed her studies in Warsaw, together with the Royal String Quartet, of which she is the first violinist, she pursued postgraduate studies at the Hochschule für Music in Cologne, where for two years she studied with the musicians from the Alban Berg Quartett.

Her artistic activity has been entirely associated with the Royal String Quartet. The international career of the Warsaw-based ensemble started with an invitation to join BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme. Since the RSQ was nominated for the Royal Philharmonic Society Chamber Music Award and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and won numerous prizes at competitions in Kuhmo and Banff, it has made guest appearances at the world’s most renowned concert halls, including Wigmore Hall in London, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Konzerthaus in Vienna and Berlin, and has performed at international festivals, such as the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Schleswig Holstein, and Chopin and His Friends. The quartet has been a quartet-in-residence at Queen’s University Belfast since 2012.

As the RSQ’s first violinist, Izabella Szałaj-Zimak collaborates with the Hyperion label, for which she made a record with music by Szymanowski, Lutosławski, Penderecki, Mykietyn, Szymański, as well as a critically acclaimed album of Górecki’s complete string quartets. The ensemble’s discography, including over 11 albums, demonstrates its versatility and passion to blur the lines between classical, jazz, popular and electronic music.

Together with the members of the RSQ, Izabella Szałaj-Zimak has successfully organized the “Kwartesencja” chamber music festival in Warsaw for 11 years. The quartet has worked with many renowned guest artists, such as Angela Hewitt, Mark Padmore, Urszula Kryger, Andrzej Bauer, Klaudiusz Baran, Stephen Kovacevich, Antoine Tamestit, Martin Fröst, Škampa Quartet, DJ Lenar, Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa, and Kayah. Since 2010, she has run summer chamber music courses in the Rybna Palace.

Since 2003, she has been affiliated with the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, where she earned her doctoral degree in 2010, her postdoctoral degree in 2013 and since 2015, she has worked as an associate professor at the UMFC.