Barbara Świątek-Żelazna 1999-2002
Rector of the AM (1999-2002)
Flautist, teacher and organizer of musical life
Studied at PWSM in Kraków with Associate Prof. W. Chudziak and completed postgraduate studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris in the class of Prof. G. Crunelle. Already during her studies she commenced an intensive artistic activity. Laureate of the International Music Competition in Vienna (3rd prize, 1959), of the National Early Music Competition in Łódź (3rd prize, 1961), of the International Music Competition in Helsinki (bronze medal, 1962). A significant event in the development of her spectacular career as flutist-virtuoso was Orpheus prize 1964, which she received during the Warsaw Autumn Festival. She gave concerts in most of European countries and in the USA, as a soloist and chamber musician – as a member of the MW2 ensemble and of the Warsaw Harp Trio and Baroque Trio, together with which she was awarded the Prize of the City of Kraków in 1974. For many years she was a flute concertmaster of the Polish Radio and Television Orchestra in Kraków. Numerous works dedicated to Barbara Świątek-Żelazna by K. Fribeĉ, K. Meyer, K. Moszumańska-Nazar, B. Schaeffer, A. Walaciński testify the strength of her artistic influence. Since 1965 she taught at PWSM, since 1981 she was head of the Department of Winds, Percussion and Accordion at the Academy.
She was often invited as a jury member to many national and international competitions (Munich, Lvov); she brought to life the National (presently International) Flute Competition in Kraków, each time presiding over the jury in its subsequent editions. In 1996 she was the first one to receive the Exellence in Teaching prize, which since then has been given to the most outstanding AM teachers. Both as a teacher and virtuoso, she has emphasized the necessity of multifaceted and comprehensive education of instrumentalists; this approach is reflected in her rich repertoire covering the works ranging from early Baroque to contemporary ones.
During her rectorship, the renovation of the building at 43 Tomasza Street was completed and the Academy moved from Starowiślna Street to its new location. She also undertook the challenge of organizing the millennium celebrations. As a superior of the academic community she always displayed an interest in the problems of her subordinates – both teachers and students, engaging with great tact in solving arising problems.
Barbara Świątek-Żelazna, as a member of the Council of Higher Artistic Education as well as of the Central Committee for Conferment of Scientific Degrees and Titles, for many years has played a significant role in the process of educating the academic-artistic faculty and leading the musical milieu in Poland. Due to her rich artistic and organizational activity she received 16 prizes and national distinctions. In recognition of her exceptional contributions to the Kraków Academy, in 2007 she was honoured by the AM Senate with Pro Benignitate distinction.