Graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin Music University in Warsaw. Winner of many competitions for young musicians in Poland and the USA, but his international career has been sealed with honours including First Prizes at the International Music Competitions: in Viña del Mar (Chile), Ljubljana, Leipzig, Kuhmo (Finland), New York, and the Second Prize at the Paulo Cello Competition in Helsinki. In 1999 he received the prestigious Paszport award from Polityka national weekly for his outstanding musical achievements, and in 2009 he was awarded with a Male Berlo from the Foundation of Polish Culture.
Foreign tours have taken him to many European countries, both Americas, Africa and Asia where - during a concert tour of Japan - he gave a recital in Tokyo's Suntory Hall. Since his 1999 recital début at New York's Y Hall and chamber Carnegie Hall, the artist has toured the USA several times. Kwiatkowski performed at many prestigious festivals: Pablo Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, Schleswig-Holstein, Europäischer Musik Sommer, Usedomer Musikfestival in Germany, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland, World Cello Congress in St Petersburg, Semanas Musicales de Frutillar in Chile, Prague Autumn, and at major Polish festivals. Kwiatkowski appeared as a soloist with orchestras in Bogota, Santiago, Los Angeles, Moscow, Astana, Helsinki, Budapest, Palermo and Munich Philharmonic as well as with leading Polish orchestras including Sinfonia Varsovia, Sinfonietta Cracovia, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2000, he made an acclaimed début with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Stanisław Skrowaczewski, which led to the invitation of the Orchestra for international tours and a CD recording of Witold Lutosławski Cello Concerto (DUX), which won many awards of the Polish and European recording industry. DUX has also produced Kwiatkowski's recording of Shostakovich Cello Concertos with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Rafał Kwiatkowski performer Krzysztof Penderecki Viola Concerto under the composer's baton (Berlin, 2001) and a few months later took part in the Polish premiere of Penderecki Concerto Grosso. Since then the cellist had been regularly invited by Penderecki not only to perform his works around the world, but also to record them on CDs. In 2003 Rafał Kwiatkowski was the soloist at the symphony concerts in Copenhagen (Tivoli Hall), Helsinki, and Basel that promoted Polish culture on the occasion of Polish accession to the EU.
Besides his solo activities, Kwiatkowski is pleased to perform chamber music - during the recent twenty five years he cooperated with most of the greatest Polish artists. He gave many concerts in trio with Vadim Brodski and Waldemar Malicki (Vienna, Copenhagen), and became a member of the Warsaw Quintet, that was reactivated by violist Stefan Kamasa, who many years earlier co-founded the world-famous Warsaw Quintet with pianist Władysław Szpilman. Kwiatkowski had a pleasure to perform together with Maxim Vengerov, Christoph Eschenbach, Kevin Kenner, and Krystian Zimerman, with whom in 2009 he gave a series of concerts with Grażyna Bacewicz Piano Quintets. The tour was crowned by releasing a CD on Deutsche Grammophon label. Kwiatkowski had also experienced quite a different dimension of chamber music, performing and recording a CD Polanna together with Anna Maria Jopek, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Gil Goldstein, among others. In 2017 he has became a member of Camerata String Quartet, beside many invitations as a guest cellist of Meccore String Quartet and Szymanowski String Quartet.
Rafal Kwiatkowski since 2005 is a member of the faculty at the Fryderyk Chopin Music University in Warsaw.
fot. Anita Wąsik