The idea behind the activities of the Department is expressed in the words of the founder of the Academy of Music in Kraków, Władysław Żeleński, appealing to “work with music in a creative and competent manner”.
We owe the permanent presence of jazz specialities at the Academy of Music in Kraków to Professor Jan Pilch, PhD, whose conceptual and organisational efforts led first to the formation of the Academy’s Big-Band in 2003, and subsequently to the establishment of instrumental jazz classes in 2007. Professor Jan Pilch became the head of the Contemporary Music, Jazz and Percussion Department – a new organisational unit comprising classical percussionists, jazzmen and pedagogues responsible for contemporary music practice. The year 2020 saw a split of the Contemporary Music, Jazz and Percussion Department into the Percussion and Contemporary Music Department and the Jazz Department headed by Piotr Wyleżoł, PhD (habil.).
The first thirteen years of jazz specialities at the Academy of Music in Kraków have been a period of numerous scientific and artistic events, such as:
- scientific sessions led by: Isidore Rudnick (The Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts, USA), Rick Van Matre (Cincinnati University – College-Conservatory of Music, USA), Bryan Corbett (UK), Marek Dykta (Berklee College of Music, USA), Nick Petrella (UMKC Conservatory, USA), John Wilkins (Berklee College of Music, USA), Victor Mendosa (Berklee College of Music, USA), Jan Jarczyk (McGill University, Canada), Dariusz Terefenko (Eastman School of Music, USA), Eddie Henderson (Julliard School of Music, USA), Willem von Hombracht (Webster University, USA), Rosario Giuliani (Conservatorio Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Italy), Eric Marienthal (USA), Chuck Israels (Western Washington University, USA), Dennis Adu (Ukraine), Pavel Wlosok (Western Carolina University, USA), Rafał Sarnecki (The Academy of Music in Łódź), Enrico Pieranunzi (Italy), Jamie Baum (New School University, USA), Leszek Żądło (Musikhochschule Würzburg, Germany), Stephen Riley, Dayna Stephens (Manhattan School of Music), Roxy Coss (Juilliard School, New York);
- International Scientific and Educational Conference “Jazz XXI” in 2018;
- cyclical “Jazz at the Academy” concerts with the participation of the Academy’s Big-Band and ensembles composed of students and teachers;
The high quality of the teaching process at the Department has brought rich rewards for the students and graduates in prestigious jazz competitions. The total number of prizes and distinctions won by young artists coming from our Academy has been over 100, and, what is also noteworthy, the names of the students and graduates of the Academy’s jazz classes can be found on the covers and in descriptions of almost 170 records.