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Elżbieta Stefańska

Born in Cracow, Poland, to pianist Halina Czerny-Stefańska and piano teacher Ludwik Stefański, with whom she started her music education. She graduated from the State Higher School of Music in Cracow (Hans Pischner’s harpsichord class) from Berlin. She perfected her skills at international competitions in Siena and Weimar with such outstanding European harpsichordists as Zuzanna Růžičkov or Ruggiero Gerlin. In 1964, she received two First Prizes at the Competition of Ancient Music in Łódź for her performance of baroque compositions on piano and harpsichord. A year later she won the First Prize and the Henri Ghez Special Award for the best harpsichordist at the International Music Competition in Geneva. In 1967, her Baroque Trio with flutist Barbara Świątek and cellist Jerzy Klocek was granted the Award of the City of Cracow “Laurels of Cracow Music Lovers” for outstanding artistic achievements, as a token of recognition and gratitude for popularizing beautiful music. Her other prizes include the Culture and Art Award granted by the Cracow Province Governor in 1998, Ray E. and Ruth Robinson Musicology Award for outstanding teaching results in 2000, and the Culture and Art Award granted by the Capital Royal City of Cracow in 2003.

 

She has participated in national and international music competitions in Hanover, Halle (Händel Festival), Leipzig (Bach Festival), Shiraz, Orvieto, Interlaken, Gaming, and Paris.

 

Her repertoire features an abundance of solo and chamber works. She has made numerous recordings for various labels: Polskie Nagrania, EMI, Electrola, Decca, Naxos, Fonit, Cetra (D. Scarlatti’s sonatas, Bach’s French suites and concertos, Mozart’s sonatas, and Penderecki’s Partita awarded with 2013 Grammy, 17th- and 18th-century French, Polish and German music). The years 1974-1982 witnessed her career as a full-time soloist for the Polish Radio and Television Commission.

 

Stefańska has also served in juries at such national and international music competitions as the International Harpsichord Competition in Munich (1970), the 1st W. Landowska Harpsichord Competition in Cracow (1985) which she organized and served as Jury Chair, two National Guitar Competitions in Cracow (1986, 1987), the Piano Competition in Taipei (1990), the International Bach Competition in Lepizig (1992), the International Harpsichord Competition in Warsaw (1993), the International Harpsichord Competition in Budapest (2000), and the V. Shevchenko International Piano Competition in Yekaterinburg (2012, 2014, 2016).

Since 1990 she has repeatedly toured Japan, South Korea and Taiwan with a number of highly acclaimed concerts.

 

In the years 1991–2001 she has concertized in a piano duet with her mother, Halina Czerny-Stefańska, successfully performing a variety of works from classicism to contemporary music.

 

Her fascination of baroque and renaissance dances resulted in collaboration with the “Ardente Sole” Court Ballet and joint performances of European dances from the 17th , 18th and 19th centuries.

She has also collaborated with such artists as Kaja Danczowska, Agata Sapiecha, Dorota Imiełowska, and Kazimierz Moszyński. Professor at the Academy of Music in Cracow, she is currently tea ching a harpsichord class. In the years 1981–1990 (with a 4-year break) she headed the Department of Harpsichord and Ancient Instruments at the same school.

 

She has founded the Halina Czerny-Stefańska and Ludwik Stefański Music Society, of which she has been President since 2006. It was established to propagate the musical traditions of the City of Cracow. Its mission is to organize concerts, promote young and talented musicians and organize salon concerts in the artist‘s home. Motivated by the idea of developing the love of music in the society, she runs a private music school for children, adolescents and adults. In 2015, together with Mariko Kato, her ex-student and graduate of the Academy of Music in Cracow, she was granted the Ars Quaerendi Prize for remarkable activity to develop and promote culture.