Pianist Magdalena Zuk's musical universe is inspired by the truly international, educational and cultural influences of Poland, France and England, where she was guided by both eminent artists and personalities.
At the invitation of Professor Eugen Indjic Magdalena Zuk studied from 1998 in Paris, as a French Government Scholar at La Schola Cantorum de Paris, where she received the Diplôme Supérieur and Virtuosity Prize.
In 1999 she was the winner of the French Government Scholars' Concerto Competition and made her Paris début as a soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto in B flat major K595 at the Grand Amphithéâtre de la Sorbonne.
In 2005 she was awarded 1st Prize from the Conservatoire National of Versailles at the Postgraduate Piano Performance with François Chaplin. The same year she entered the Royal College of Music in London studying Piano Performance with Kevin Kenner and Composition for Screen with David Burnand.
Magdalena is a winner of the prestigious Royal College of Music Concerto Competition for which she performed Szymanowski's Symphony Concertante with the RCM Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Kees Bakels.
In 2008 Magdalena received the Royal College of Music Postgraduate Advanced Diploma in Piano Performance and in Composition for Screen as a Scholar, supported by The Richard Carne Award and Pro Musica Award also receiving the Ann Driver Award for exceptionally talented young artists in England.
Magdalena Zuk has since performed as a soloist at St Martin-in-the-Fields and St James' Piccadilly in London, Festival d'Eté at the Château de la Petite Malmaison in France, Société Chopin in Paris and the Chopin Society in London. She performed as soloist with the London Amistad Orchestra in Gerald Finzi's 'Eclogue' and Benjamin Britten's 'Young Apollo' at St Martin-in-the-Fields' in the prestigious Pianists of the World series and at The Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall in London. She has given solo recitals in France, Poland, where she made recordings for Polish and French radio and television, as well as in England, Italy, Sicily, Greece, Austria, Argentina, Uruguay and in Japan.
Magdalena performing at the Universal Project for Peace Gala Concert, Philharmonic Hall, Szczecin, Poland
Photo: Jaroslaw Gaszynski
The French Première of Roman Polanski's film, The Pianist, opened with a Chopin recital performed by Magdalena Zuk at Cinema Studio 28 in Paris.
Magdalena Zuk's interest in composition and the correspondences between music and visual art led her to perform her piano improvisations inspired by Velazquez and Turner's paintings at both the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Magdalena also performed in Argentina at Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernandez Blanco in Buenos Aires and in the Residency of the French Ambassador in Montevideo in Uruguay where she performed her own compositions.
She played in the documentary film for French/German TV ARTE film Histoire du Look - Journées Romantiques by Phillippe Allante, for which she incarnated Chopin's student.
For Chopin's Anniversary Year 2010, Magdalena performed a recital at Eglise Madeleine in Paris and Chopin's E minor concerto Op. 11 with the Chopin Conservatory Symphony Orchestra in Paris and a version with string quartet by musicians of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France at the Embassy of Poland in Paris, in the presence of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Poland and France.
In October 2011 Magdalena Zuk was awarded the TV Polonia Award For "Merits for Poland and Poles in the World" at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland. This prestigious award, a sculpture of Chopin, has previously been awarded to such distinguished Polish personalities as R. Polanski, K. Kieslowski and A. Wajda (film directors) and W. Lutoslawski, K. Penderecki, W. Kilar, Z. Preisner, H. M. Gorecki, W. Wilkomirska and R. Blechacz (composers and musicians).
Recently Magdalena played as pianist for films by Polish film Directors: Marcin Wrona The Christening, Jan Komasa Suicide Room, and as an Argentinian singer with Carlos Libedinsky's composition Gente que si in Wieslaw Saniewski's film The Winner. Magdalena Zuk's performance of Chopin's Mazurka Op. 17 no. 4 is included on a Suicide Room's film CD soundtrack.
Since her Japan début concerts in 2012, under the honourable patronage of Mainichi News in Tokyo and Osaka and of the Petrof Society in Kyoto, Magdalena returned to perform in 2013 with solo recitals to Tokyo, Matsuyama, Kessenuma, Seiyo and for Kuma Kogen Chopin Festival on Shikoku Island. She has been invited to Japan for 2014 with a series of concerts at Chopin's Festival in Kuma Kogen, the International Art Festivals in Nakayama, Nomura, Matsuyama and Kyoto and in Osaka, by invitation of composer Nobuya Monta.
Magdalena will also perform for Summer Festivals in France at Château de Prye, Château de la Petite Malmaison and for the International Piano Festival Chopiniana in Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Fascinated by interactions between music and fine art, Magdalena collaborates regularly with the University of Compiègne in France and was invited to give a series of lecture-recitals entitled «Correspondences of Music and Fine Art».
Recently Magdalena Zuk was invited to give a concert-lecture at the Music Conservatory of Kyoto in Japan.
Magdalena's latest CD, "Une Belle Histoire", recorded live at the Tobe Concert Hall in Japan and featuring her piano and voice compositions, has recently been released in Japan.
Magdalena Zuk, Chopin Festival, Tobe Concert Hall, Japan
Top of page photo: Bertrand Kulik
No cuts or alterations of any kind should be made to this biography without the consent of Magdalena Zuk.
Couleur du temps
Iyo International Art Festival, JapanThis recording will be released soon.
- 'Couleur de Temps'
The young Polish pianist Magdalena Zuk here offers a beautifully balanced sequence of pieces centring on nine by Szymanowski. Plainly she intends the sequence to underline the relationship between the three other composers, leading up to Szymanowski. What emerges in Zuk's playing of all these pieces is the wonderful singing quality of her legato, combined with a most natural-sounding control of rubato, often marked but never exaggerated.
Those are qualities to be cherished in all these pieces from Chopin onwards. The Suite bergamasque of Debussy brings finely controlled tonal contrasts with the ever-popular 'Clair de lune', third of the sequence, given the subtlest treatment imaginable, never rising above pianissimo. Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte then comes as a bit of a disappointment, nicely graded and transparent of texture, but one tends to miss the orchestral colouring.
The nine Szymanowski pieces then provide the main focus of the disc, and it would be hard to imagine them played more lovingly or more stylishly, with the links with Chopin evident throughout. It would be good now to hear Zuk in English piano music by Ireland or Bax. Trained in Paris and at the Royal College of Music in London, hers is plainly a talent to watch.
- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone