Katarzyna Borek – concert pianist, piano lecturer, and composer. In addition to many years of performing with the classical repertoire and being awarded at many prestigious piano international competitions, Katarzyna Borek creates innovative experimental music, combining piano and electronic sounds. Her brave and open approach to music has resulted in many multi-sensory projects where music, theatre, dance, and visual arts penetrate each other, creating an avant-garde artistic collage.
Katarzyna Borek graduated from the “Frederic Chopin College of Music in Gdańsk” (Poland), “F. Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz” (Poland) and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Bruxelles. It was there she studied thanks to a scholarship granted by the Ministry of Culture and Art in Warsaw and the Ministry of the Flemish Community in Belgium. She was taught by some of the world’s foremost pianists: Prof. Katarzyna Popova – Zydroń (Poland) and Daniel Blumenthal (Belgium). She has also participated in several master classes and workshops led by outstanding pianists, such as: Menahem Pressler, Dominique Merlet, Evgeny Moguilevsky, Lee Kum Sing, Andrzej Jasiński, Regina Smendzianka, Alexei Nasedkin, Daniel Pollack, Hans Leygraf, Aglika Genova & Liuben Dimitrov (Piano duo- Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Hannover/Germany).
Her incredible talent and hard work enabled her to win many prestigious awards among which the most laudable are: the International Frederic Chopin Competition in Moscow, International Frederic Chopin Competition in Gottingen (Germany), and the International Ignacy Jan Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz (Poland). She was also a finalist in the International Ferruccio Busoni Piano Competition in Bolzano (Italy), which is considered one of the most important piano competitions worldwide. Apart from musical awards, Katarzyna Borek received a number of cultural awards including the Prize of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage “Young Poland” and “WARTO” Cultural Prize of the Gazeta Wyborcza Daily. A most highly-regarded distinction for pianist was receiving the price for “Young New Talents” in Belgium for the creation of the musical and visual project “Chopin-animated impression” which had a tour in Europe and Asia on the occasion of Chopin Year 2010. Read more about awards
She has performed at Polish and international festivals including the International “Paderewski in Memoriam” Festival in Warsaw, Europhony Music Festival in Bucharest, International Chamber Music Festival in Beijing, Festival of Polish Culture in Luxemburg, Festival de Musique at Chateau de Bourglinster in Luxemburg, and the International “Chopin Open” Festival at the National Opera Hall in Warsaw. She was a soloist and member of chamber music ensembles in Europe (Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxemburg, Italy, Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, Romania), Asia (China, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam) and South and Latin America (Chile, Peru, Cuba). Polish and foreign audiences have had occasion to listen to her performances in many concert venues, including: National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Polish Academy of Science in Paris, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Symphony Stage of the Botanic Gardens in Singapore, and the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Music Conservatory in Moscow. Her exceptional talent was also recognized by the organizers of prestigious artistic events promoting Polish culture abroad.
One of the most interesting musical initiatives to which she was invited as a classical pianist was the project “Chopin for 5 pianos”. The idea of ensemble creation was initiated by the famous jazz pianist Sławomir Jaskułke and was supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw. Five outstanding Polish instrumentalists of the classical and jazz stage participated in the concerts. The project premiere took place in 2010 during the World Expo in Shanghai.
For many years Katarzyna Borek represented the “Paderewski in Memoriam” Foundation and she conducted a tour promoting Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s works in Poland, Europe, Asia, and South America. From those many years of experience, she has developed a profound knowledge of Paderewski’s repertoire, resulting in the release in 2011 of a record of his works entitled “I.J Paderewski – works for piano solo”.
A significant moment in Katarzyna’s career was in 2014 when she began collaboration with one of the world’s most famous international music labels – Warner Classics (Cd Album called “Tempus Fantasy).
Apart from concert activities, Katarzyna Borek gives individual piano lessons and she is frequently invited to conduct piano workshops. She has many years of experience in teaching and knowledge gained from outstanding pedagogues in Poland and abroad. Starting in 2013, she was invited several times to conduct master classes in China (Wuhan Music Conservatory, Central Conservatory in Beijing, College of Arts at the Guandong University of Foreign Studies, Polish Cultural Institute in Beijing).
Courage and curiosity push Katarzyna Borek towards creating bold and nonstandard projects, combining classical music with modern electronic sounds. The realization of her own experimental ideas started a project in collaboration with producer Vojto Monteur and resulted in releasing the record – Classica & Electronica “Tempus Fantasy” by Warner Classics. Based on the works of classics, they make a brave shift from the original stylizations. The artists’ approach towards the work of classical composers is far from a slavish following the original versions – it’s a starting point for creating their own compositions. Thanks to the sound of the Rhodes and grand piano combined with electronics, the duo creates a personal vision of music, rooted deeply in a serene, “Neoclassical” ambient- piano timbres, but also very modern and electronic. The album “Tempus Fantasy” was highly acclaimed, received many enthusiastic reviews, and was awarded the “WARTO” cultural prize by Gazeta Wyborcza daily.
In 2016 Katarzyna Borek released another – this time solo – album entitled “Space in Between”. She has created a personal compilation of modern compositions, and by doing so, took music into a cosmic realm. The album was released in May 2016 by outstanding jazz pianist Leszek Możdzer – BITTT Records. Many music critics recognize this album as one of the best and most intriguing records of 2016.
Also, in 2016, the pianist started a collaboration with well-known Polish drummer and music producer Puszmusic (Paweł Osicki). The duet creates electronic, experimental and abstract music. Their compositions consist of sounds of many acoustic and electronic instruments. In addition, the duet reached for non-standard sounds which are made by hand-crafted instruments or even children’s musical toys. Most compositions are created in a spontaneous improvisation process and their co-operation thus far transcends specific classification as it is constantly evolving. Their first album called: “Kids of Cherno”: “No Mercy No Pharmacy” was released in August 2018 by “MOD & WOOD” Records.
From a very early age, Ms. Borek was interested in the music of theatre and film. Her adventure with the performing arts began in 2010 with a performance in a gala show of the Wrocław Drama Song Review entitled “Revolutionary” directed by Agata Duda-Gracz. Collaborating with the director resulted in Katarzyna Borek’s invitation to perform in a musical and theatrical “Improvisations” sessions taking place at the “Pressure Stage” of the Capitol Music Theater in Wroclaw.
In the season 2013/2014, the pianist created music for the performance “The evidence of Blood” directed by Agnieszka Olsten. The show’s premiere took place within the framework of the European Capital of Culture program in Košice, Slovakia. The music composed by Katarzyna Borek was admired and awarded with the “Dosky” Prestigious Theater Prize at the International Contemporary Theatre Festival in Nitra.
The premiere of the contemporary dance performance “Tempus Fantasy” directed by Jacek Gębura took place in November 2014 thanks to cooperation with the Capitol Musical Theater in Wroclaw. Her “Tempus Fantasy” album had a musical basis and became the inspiration for a spectacular dance theatre performance “Tempus Fantasy” (directed by Jacek Gębura), which had its première with live music performed on the large stage of the Capitol Musical Theatre in Wrocław/Poland on 22.11.2014. The show combining dance, music and visual art turned out to be a great success. It played to a packed audience and received outstanding reviews.
In 2016 the pianist composed music for the performance “Bad Lord that is not just for adults fairy tale” directed by Sabina Misakiewicz which was presented in the OFF section of the Wroclaw Drama Song Review.
Thanks to cooperation with the creators of the independent cinema – Bartos Brothers (Studio Manifiesta) – Katarzyna Borek in 2014 created the music for their film “Boy with a Frog”. The film received the “best film” prize in the competition at the International Film Festival T-Mobile New Horizons 2014 in Wrocław (Poland).
The last film production for which she composed music is “The Filmmakers” directed by Dominik Watin. Its premiere took place at the Lower Silesian Film Center (DCF) in Wroclaw (Poland) in August 2016.