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Lutosławski Piano Duo

fot Ksawery Zamoyski

Lutosławski Piano Duo is one of the leading piano duos in the world. The pianists – Emilia Sitarz and Bartek Wasik – are winners of the most important Polish cultural awards – Paszport Polityki (Polityka’s Passport) and Koryfeusz (Coryphaeus) – for non-standard, audacity in the program and excellent interpretation of pieces of music from various eras, including the newest. Their artistic way began in 1999 when they started to learn from renowned piano duos – Bracha Eden and Alexander Tamir (Israel) and Hans-Peter and Volker Stenzl (Germany). The duo took part in many prestigious masterclasses in Poland, Germany, Israel where they had a chance to learn from such outstanding musicians as Yaara Tal, Andreas Groethuysen, Anglika Genova, Luben Dimitrov, Bracha Eden and Alexander Tamir. They are graduates of the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Rostock (piano duo class of Hans-Peter and Volker Stenzl).

Musicians are laureates of many chamber music competitions in Poland, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Czech Republic. The most important are: Grand Prix (Konzerteum, Greece 2000), III prize (13. Franz Schubert International Piano Duo Competition, Czech Republic 2003), Grand Prix and all Special Awards (International Piano Duo Competition, Lithuania 2004), I prize and Marek Stachowski Special Award (International Competition of Contemporary Chamber Music, Poland 2006), II prize (Valentino Bucchi International Competition of XX and XXI Century Music in Rome, Italy 2009). They were also awarded several grants from Ministry of Culture in Poland.

Lutosławski Piano Duo is very often invited to prestigious festivals such as New Tradition Festival, Vratislavia Cantans, Sacrum-Profanum, Unsound, Warsaw Autumn, Kwartesencja, Nova Polska (France), Piano Duets Festival (Lithuania), Scelsi Festival (Italy), Israel Spring Festival (Israel), Duettissimo (Belarus), Chain Festival, Two Moors (England), EBU Festival. They premiered several new Polish compositions for four hands, two pianos, electronics, as well as for two pianos with orchestra.

In 2006 the pianists began cooperation with outstanding Polish percussion Hob-beats Duo (Magdalena Kordylasińska and Miłosz Pękala). As a Kwadrofonik quartet they perform 20th century music (eg. Crumb, Bartók, Berio) and their own pieces inspired by Polish folk songs and dances. The group has performed at various festivals in Poland and abroad. In 2010 during 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birthday the group prepared a special project with their own visions of Chopin’s masterpieces presented in the USA (Carnegie Hall and Chicago Symphony Hall were included). In May 2011 they had a debut in the Berliner Philharmonie where their own version of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was presented.

In 2007 the duo released the debut album published by Polish Radio with works by Lutosławski, Poulenc, Stravinsky and Kagel were included. In 2008 their CD was nominated to the most important Polish music award – Fryderyk – in three categories: the most outstanding Polish music recording, the best debut and the best chamber music album – in this very category the duo was awarded a statuette. In 2014, as the first European pianiststhey recorded works for two and four pianos by American composer Julius Eastman and Tomasz Sikorski (Bolt Records). They also received a Pizzicato Award for this album.

Lutosławski Piano Duo performed in the most important halls in Poland and abroad (Europe, Asia and both Americas) – the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Gulbenkian Concert Hall, Berliner Philharmonie, Lutosławski Polish Radio Studio, Chicago Symphony Hall, Central Conservatory Concert Hall in Beijing, Izumi Hall in Osaka, TheatREpublique in Copenhagen. Playing together the musicians managed to develop a harmony of their musical shades, articulations, rhythm and feelings. Broad repertoire of the duet contains about a hundred pieces from baroque to contemporary compositions as well as the musicians’ own transcriptions of symphonic pieces.