Katarzyna Makal-Żmuda is a graduate from the class of Prof. Jerzy Godziszewski (Master Postgraduate Studies at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, 2001 - 2004). She also studied with Prof. Joanna Domańska (Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, 1992-1995) and Prof. Marek Drewnowski (Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź, 1995-1997). As far as the field of chamber music is concerned, she was a student of Prof. Regina Michalak, Prof. Krystyn Słobodnik and Prof. Maria Gozdecka.
She started working at the Białystok Branch of the Chopin University of Music in 1997. In 2014, she obtained a post-doctoral degree. In 2019/2020 she headed the Piano, Harpsichord and Organ Lab at the Chair of Instrumental Pedagogy. In 2020 she was appointed Vice-Dean of the Department of Instrumental and Pedagogic Studies, Music Education and Vocal Studies. She currently teaches piano, chamber music, and accompaniment with a prima vista playing classes, and collaborates with violin classes as an accompanist.
She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in Poland (e.g.: at the Podlasie Philharmonic and Subcarpathian Philharmonic) and abroad in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Lithuania and Belarus. In the period of 2007-2012 she was a member of Trio Camerata Masuriensis, and since 2015 she has co-created a two piano ensemble called “Poème Piano Duo”. She has recorded albums for a few labels, e.g. a CD with Włodzimierz Promiński entitled Polish Violin Sonatas – Żeleński, Noskowski (Polskie Nagrania), solo works with Olga Anikiej – Maksymium, Popielski, Serocki (Acte Preable), piano compositions by Zbigniew Popielski and a duo with Alina Mleczko (saxophone). She recorded piano pieces by Józef Koffler for the programme being a tribute to the composer for the TV channel TVP2.
She has been invited to sit on the jury of piano auditions and competitions, to teach music workshops and to speak at academic conferences. Between 1997 and 2004 she worked at the I. Paderewski Complex of Music Schools in Białystok, and since 2004 she has taught piano class at the Complex of Primary and Secondary State Music Schools in Ełk. Her students include numerous competition award winners. She has received numerous awards for her artistic and teaching activity by Headmaster of the Complex of Music Schools in Ełk, Starost of the Ełk District and Head of the Centre of Artistic Education.
She is a laureate of the 4th International J. Hofmann Piano Festival in Lublin, she also won piano accompanist’s award at the 1st International A. Kucingio Vocal Competition in Vilnius, and around a dozen honorary mentions for accompaniment at music competitions in Poland. In 2012 she was nominated for the Fryderyk award in the category of chamber music for her album Polish Violin Sonatas – Żeleński, Noskowski recorded with Włodzimierz Promiński and released by the label Polskie Nagrania.
At the Branch of the Chopin University of Music, she was the academic manager of the conference entitled: “Education of future conductors, instrumentalists and singers in the aspect of a piano instructor’s work”, head of chamber workshops supervised by Prof. Sławomir Dobrzański, and an initiator of a piano seminar conducted by Prof. Jerzy Godziszewski. She has been involved in research work for many years, studying compositions by Zbigniew Popielski, a composer from Białystok. She is an originator of the concept for a publishing series with his works – so far, she has prepared the content for selected piano and pieces and three cycles of songs for voice and piano. Apart from that, she was an initiator and content manager of two editions of the Zbigniew Popielski Vocal and Piano Chamber Music Competition. She has published articles in Zeszyty Naukowe entitled: “Fryderyk Chopin – Cykl 24 Preludiów op.24 – analiza i interpretacja” [Fryderyk Chopin - the cycle of 24 Preludes op. 24 – an analysis and interpretation] and “Kreatywna koncepcja pedagogiki Fryderyka Chopina”[A creative concept of Fryderyk Chopin’s pedagogy]. She is an author of the book on piano chamber music entitled “Polska sonata skrzypcowa końca XIX wieku – Pianistyczne zagadnienia w sonatach skrzypcowych Władysława Żeleńskiego i Zygmunta Noskowskiego” [Polish violin sonata of the end of the 19th century – Piano issues in violin sonatas by Władysław Żeleński and Zygmunt Noskowski]. On top of that, in 2009 she collaborated with Prof. Barbara Halska as part of the Polish-Norwegian culture bridge for piano duos – Białystok/Trondheim, and in 2018, as the coordinator of the 6th International Competition for Piano Duos in Białystok.