Employees

dr hab.

Rafał Grząka

accordion

 

Graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, accordion class of Prof. Klaudiusz Baran, the Henryk Majewski Postgraduate Jazz School in Warsaw, class of Andrzej Jagodziński, and the second edition of Doctoral Studies at the FCUM; currently holds the position of Assistant Professor (adiunkt) with a post-doctoral degree (class of accordion) at his parent university. He participated in numerous masterclasses given by such teachers as Prof. W. L. Puchnowski, Y. Shishkin, M. Miki, G. Draugsvoll, C. Jacomucci, or F. Lips.
He is a prize-winner of over 35 international and all-Poland accordion competitions, e.g. in Castelfidardo, Poprad, Radziejowice, Gdańsk, Czechowice-Dziedzice, Przemyśl, Sanok. His ensemble KlezmaFour won a very prestigious award (“City Winery of New York”) during the International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam (2010). He has performed with numerous orchestras: National Philharmonic, Symphony Orchestra of the Podlasie Opera and Philhamonic, Symphony Orchestra of the Warmia and Mazyry Philharmonic, Polish Radio Orchestra, Lviv Philharmonic, Symphony Orchestra of the National Opera, Płock Chamber Orchestra, Polish Chamber Philharmonic, UMFC Symphony Orchestr, Gliwice Chamber Orchestra, Szczecin Philharmonic, Symphony Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Gdańsk, Suwałki Chamber Orchestra, Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra, Tychy Chamber Orchestra AUKSO, and Elbląg Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of such conductors as Lucas Vis, Mihail Agafita, Maja Metelska, Kazimierz Dąbrowski, Janusz Przybylski, Andrzej Rosół, Krzysztof Urbański, Wojciech Rajski, Nikola Kołodziejczyk, Alejo Perez, Akiki Bassem, Tomasz Radziwonowicz, Jarosław Praszczałek, Marek Moś, Rafał Janiak, Alexander Humala, Michał Klauza, Krzysztof Kozakiewicz, Mariusz Jacek Błaszczyk, or Piotr Sułkowski.
For many years, he has taken part in the artistic and organisational life of the Polish Accordionists’ Association. As content-related coordinator, he has finalised a number of composition commissions and opened festivals and competitions with his concerts. He is an active session musician at the Polish Radio and Television. He has performed concerts in the United States, Canada, France, Spain, Great Britain, Netherlands, China, Italy, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Bulgaria. His achievements include numerous premiere performances of works by Polish composers, e.g. Zofia Dowgiałło, Mikołaj Majkusiak, Andrzej Krzanowski, Wojciech Kostrzewa, Piotr Wróbel, Nikola Kołodziejczyk, Wojciech Widlarz, Marta Ptaszyńska, Paweł Łukaszewski, Ryszard Borowski, Krzysztof Lenczowski, Zbigniew Namysłowski, Cezary Paciorek, Krzysztof Herdzin, Rafał Janiak, or Tomasz Jakub Opałka.
In May 2014, as part of one of his projects known as the Cup of Time quartet, an album entitled Cup of Time plays Namysłowski, featuring guest artist Zbigniew Namysłowski, was released by DUX. It was chosen the album of the year in the category of jazz by the magazine HiFi i muzyka.
His latest album, Rafał Grząka/Atom String Quartet – Atom Accordion Quintet (Requiem Records Opus Series 120|07|2016, media patronage: Polish Radio, Programme 2), had its first concert performance on 10 August 2016. The CD included compositions by Mikołaj Majkusiak, Piotr Wróbel, Krzysztof Lenczowski and Nikola Kołodizejczyk. It was broadcasted by the Polish Radio in Warsaw, Katowice, Łódź, Radio Centrum Rzeszów, etc., and was acclaimed by music critics, which was reflected in the reviews: “The Atom Accordion Quintet project is absorbing and fascinating thanks to the successful union of artists – composers and instrumentalists. Similar musical tastes combined with creative performance brought a high-quality result” (Prof. dr hab. Teresa Adamowicz-Kaszuba, Twoja Muza 4/2016), “Accordionist Rafał Grząka invited the best string quartet known as Atom String Quartet and recorded an album with them: magnificent from the very first to the very last note. This result was not hard to achieve as the album reflects the spirit of our times – it is energetic, sometimes nostalgic, and mysterious”. (Kinga Anna Wojciechowska, Editor-in-Chief of Presto, 2-3/2016), “A multithreaded and well-weighted album in terms of its inspiration and style” (Henryk Cierpioł, Head of Music Editors, Polish Radio Katowice). The album was nominated for the Phonographic Academy Award FRYDERYK 2016 in the category of contemporary music.
Also in 2016, he was invited to the recording of the improvised accordion part of the last expansion of the game The Witcher Blood and Wine, which had its premiere during the finale concert of the Cracow Film Music Festival at Tauron Arena. In readers’ plebiscite of one of the most popular portals focused on music for games called musicgame.com, the soundtrack from this Production was chosen the world-best music for a computer game in 2016. 
In December 2017, he teamed up with Klaudiusz Baran and Polish Radio Orchestra under the baton by Michał Klauza and made the first ever recording of FisConcerto – concerto for two accordions and symphony orchestra by Mikołaj Majkusiak.
The most significant concert achievements of the artist include: a cycle of concerts featuring Yuri Shishkin, a concert tour in the USA, participation in the premiere performance of Symphony no. 1 by Andrzej Krzanowski as part of the Warsaw Autumn Festival (award for the best performance in that edition), performances on festivals Bratislavia Malajes and Jezzaldija in San Sebastian, inauguration of the Polish Culture Days in Vienna, La foul Journee 2013 in Warsaw, Summer Music Festival in Harbin (China), Film Festival in Cracow, Emanacje, Eurocultur Festival w Manchesterze, Eurocultur Festival in Manchester, Hutzpach Festival in Vancouver (Canada), International Jazz Festiwal Bansko (Bulgaria), concert closing the 17th edition of “The Colors of Poland” Festival, Polish concert tour with the Argentiniac ensemble 303 TangoFusion,  preparation and premiere performance of the accordion part in the opera by Thomas Andes entitled “Powder Her Face” Polish premiere performance at the National Opera, premiere performance of the concerto for accordion and string orchestra entitled “Olgino” by Nikola Kołodziejczyk with the Student UMFC Orchestra, premiere performance of Rafał Janiak’s Concerto for  bandoneon and chamber orchestra – Reminescences of Past with Suwałki Chamber Orchestra, premiere performance of concerto for accordion and string orchestra by Tomasz Jakub Opałka entitled Black stre¬ams with Elbląg Chamber Orchestra, and premiere double concerto for bandoneon, saxophone and string orchestra by Nikola Kołodziejczyk, again with Elbląg Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed at the National Philhamonic, Holy Cross Province Philharmonic, Subcarpathian Philharmonic, Słupsk Philharmonic, Płock Philharmonic, Bydgoszcz Philharmonic, Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic, Szczecin Philharmonic, Wrocław Philharmonic, Łódź Philharmonic, Olsztyn Philharmonic, Pomeranian Philharmonic, Kashubian Philharmonic, Rybnik Philharmonic, Koszalin Philharmonic, Polish Chamber Philharmonic, Lviv Philharmonic and numerous Culture Centres in the whole of Poland. As a lecturer, he has taught classes at the International Course in Music Interpretation in Miętne, Lusławice or Vilnius. In the concert season 2016/17, he was chosen Resident Artist of the Elbląg Chamber Orchestra. In 2017, he won the UMFC Rector’s Award for his academic and artistic achievements. Since January 2018, he has held the function of Vice-Chairman of the Polish Accordionists’ Association; in May of that same year, he was elected Vice-Dean for Student Affairs at the Department of Instrumental Studies at the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. He also won the plebiscite “Teacher for a Medal 2018” organised by Polska The Times.