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Kaja Danczowska – violin

Photo by Maria Wiktoria Hubner

Kaja Danczowska was born on 25th March, 1949 in Kraków. She started learning violin at age seven from Jan Stasica, and since she was eight, she worked under the supervision of Eugenia Umińska, who was later her instructor at the State Higher School of Music in Kraków. In 1972, she graduated with distinction. In the same year, she completed a two year master course at the Conservatory in Moscow under David Oistrakh. In 1976, she was invited by the Canadian government to participate in a master course led by Ruggiero Ricci.

In 1959, she received the first prize at the National Violin Competition in Wrocław and a scholarship from the Association for Polish Music Artists funded by Henryk Szeryng, and later scholarships from Paweł Klecki, Poznań Music Society, and from the Ministry of Culture and Art.

She has been awarded at many international violin competitions: in 1967, she took the third place at the 5th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań, in 1969 – second place at the Alberto Curci Violin Competition in Naples, in 1970 – second place in the Geneva Music Competition, in 1975 – third place atMunich Radio International Competition, in 1976 – silver medal at the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels.

Kaja Danczowska has been giving concerts since she was nine. She has performed in many countries in Europe, both Americas, Asia and Australia, with repertoires that spanned from Antonio Vivaldi to Krzysztof Penderecki, under the baton of such conductors as Jan Krenz, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Krzysztof Penderecki, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Antoni Wit, and others. Since 1978, she has collaborated with Krystian Zimerman as a chamber musician. In 1999, she also acted as a music adviser on the tour of Zimerman’s Polish Festival Orchestra, which presented Fryderyk Chopin’s concerts and on the album released through Deutsche Grammophon. In 2009, on the occasion of 100th anniversary of Grażyna Bacewicz’s birthday, she took part in a Polish tour organised by Zimerman. The entire performance was recorded at the Katowice Academy of Music for Deutsche Grammophon. She was also gave chamber concerts with, among others, Heinz Holliger, Gidon Kremer, and Misha Maisky.

She is a prolific recording artist. She has recorded, among others, Mieczysław Karłowicz’s Violin Concerto in A major with Polish Radio and Television Orchestra in Kraków under the baton of Antoni Wit (Le Chant du Monde, 1992), a double concert for violin and cello Lila by Konstanty Regamey with Andrzej Bauer and Sinfonia Varsovia, conducted by Wojciech Michniewski (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, 1994), Violin Concerto No. 1 and No. 2 by Karol Szymanowski with National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kazimierz Kord (Polygram, 1997). The latter album received the Diapason d’Or award. Danczowska’s discography also includes over 300 archival radio recordings, mostly for Polish Radio and RIAS station.

Since 1972, she has been teaching a violin class at the Academy of Music in Kraków. In 1997, she received a Professor’s title. She was a jury member in such international competitions as Henryk Wieniawski Competition in Poznań, in Tokio, Munich, New York, Vienna, and Carl August Nielsen Competition in Odense.

She has received numerous awards, for instance in 1976 she received the second degree State Award, in 1977 – City of Kraków Award, in 1979, 1991, 1998, 2010, and 2013 – the Award of Ministry of Culture and Art (later renamed as Ministry of Culture and National Heritage), in 1982 – the Award of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 1984 – theRadio and Television Committee Award, in 1986 – the Gold Cross of Merit, in 1992 – the Kraków’s Governor Award, in 1998 – the Polish Cultural Foundation Award, in 1999 – Excellent in Teaching of the Robinson Foundation, in 2001 – Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, in 2006 – Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis, in 2009 – Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, in 2011 – the Prime Minister’s Award.

Thanks to the efforts of the Polish Radio’s Second Channel and support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, 2014 saw a release of a seven disc album with approximately fifty archival tracks selected out of the artist’s entire phonographic oeuvre. In 2015, the record received a Fryderyk Award in the Album of the Year – Solo Recital category.

In 2016, she received an honorary doctorate from the Rector of the Academy of Music in Kraków.

Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Music Information Centre, Polish Composers’ Union, September 2002, update: October 2016, transl. AM, December 2016.