ad. dr hab.
A musician (drummer) born on 17 July 1966 in Warsaw. He graduated from the Karol Szymanowski Complex of Primary and Secondary State Music Schools in Warsaw. He obtained his diploma from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw in 1989, having studied percussion with Prof. Edward Iwicki. He started his artistic activity when he was still a student, collaborating the National Philharmonic and the Grand Theatre orchestras. His achievements also include collaboration with numerous dramatic theatres from Warsaw, such as Ateneum, Studio, Mały [Little], Współczesny [Contemporary], or Rampa. Since 1993, he has been the kettledrummer of the orchestra Sinfonia Varsovia. For over 30 years of professional work, he has performed numerous concerts in Poland and abroad, playing extremely vast symphonic and chamber repertoire in the most prestigious concert hall in the world: Carnegie Hall, Theatre de Champs-Elysees, Barbician Center, Teatro Colon, Sidney Opera, Suntory Hall, collaborating with great conductors and soloists: Yehudi Menuhin, Witold Lutosławski, Jacek Kaspszyk, Jan Krenz, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Grzegorz Nowak, Lorin Maazel, Krzysztof Penderecki, Jean Pierre Rampal, Mścisław Rostropowicz, Valery Giergiev, Marc Minkowski, Charles Dutoit, Jerzy Semkow, Martha Argerich, James Galway, Nigel Kennedy, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Nelson Freire, or Shlomo Mintz. He has recorded over 200 albums with Sinfonia Varsovia for such world labels as Decca, Deutsche Gramofon, EMI, or Sony, and among the recordings were: complete symphonies by Beethoven and Schubert, overtures by Rossini and Mozart under the baton of Lord Yehudi Menuhin, and more. He has also collaborated (as popular music drummer) with such artists as: Ryszard Rynkowski, Piotr Rubik, Zbigniew Namysłowski, Zygmunt Kukla, Janusz Stokłosa, Krzesimir Dębski, Zbigniew Zamachowski, or Halina Frąckowiak. Apart from that, he has recorded music for around 50 films, e.g.: “Quo Vadis”, “With Sword and Fire”, “Three Colours”, “In Desert and Wilderness”, “The Battle of Warsaw 1920”, and many more.
In 2017, Piotr Kostrzewa was invited by Rene Martin, Head of the La Folle Journee Festival, to perform “Fantasy for Two Timpanists” by Philip Glass. He asked Piotr Domański – kettledrummer of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, to join him in the duo. The four performances of this composition took place in Japan (Niigata / Tokyo), Russia (Ekaterinburg), and Poland during the Crazy Days of Music Festival.
In 2000, invited by Franciszek Wybrańczyk – the founder, he co-created the Sinfonia Varsovia Foundation; initially he was the member of its board, then Vice-President, and since 2007 he has held the function of President of that foundation. The organisation deals with the promotion of the Orchestra Sinfonia Varsovia, organisation of some of its concerts and recordings, as well as promotion of young artistic talents. In 2008, along with the members of the board of the Foundation, he founded the Franciszek Wybrańczyk Artistic Scholarship – as Wybrańczyk was the original founder and long-term President of the Foundation. The scholarship is meant for outstanding young musicians – secondary school students from the Mazovian region.
In 2006, he started working as a drums teacher again at the Karol Szymanowski Complex of Primary and Secondary State Music Schools in Warsaw. At that same school, he became the artistic supervisor and conductor of the Szymanowski Big Band (2007) and with that ensemble he recorded 3 albums for the following labels: CD Accord - Universal Music Polska 2011 (100% swing), EMI Polska 2011 (Positive Vibrations 11) Sony Music Polska 2012 (Jazz’t friends ). After the Szymanowski Big Band was dissolved, he founded a new big band ensemble in 2012 at the same institution called the Szymanowski Young Power Big Band, with which he performed at numerous festivals, such as the Big Band Festival in Nowy Tomyśl and the Crazy Days of Music Festival. The big band has recorded three CDs.
In 2012, he became the supervisor and artistic manager of the Big Band of the Chopin University of Music and with that ensemble he twice won the Grand Prix at the Big Band Festival in Nowy Tomyśl (2015, 2017) plus he gave numerous concerts during Polish and international festivals, e.g., Jazz Jamboree, La Folle Journee ( 2014, 2017, 2019 ), or Big Band Festival – Siauliai / Lithuania 2016. His artistic achievements also include the recording of seven albums with the university big band he manages. In 2017, the big band received its official name: Chopin University Big Band. In the same year, by decision of the Department of Instrumental Studies of the UMFC, Piotr Kostrzewa was awarded with a doctoral degree in musical arts. By decision of His Magnificence Rector, in January 2019 ad. dr Piotr Kostrzewa was appointed Head of the Unit of Jazz and World Music at the Department of Instrumental Studies, and since October 2019 he has held the function of Dean of the newly created Department of Jazz and Stage Music at the UMFC. In April 2020, he obtained his post-doctoral degree.