While looking back at the university’s piano heritage, which is primarily associated with its graduate, patron and Poland’s greatest composer Fryderyk Chopin, it is impossible not to mention the continuators of his ideas. One of them was undoubtedly Aleksander Michałowski – the successor of Chopin’s performance – student of Karol Mikuli who in turn was a student of Chopin. Among the outstanding pianists of the turn of the 20th century who were connected with the university we find such prominent figures as Ignacy Jan Paderewski or Henryk Melcer. Subsequent generations of its graduates and teachers also include magnificent pianists and teachers, laureates of the International Chopin Competition, such as Prof. Jan Ekier (the creator of the National Edition of Complete Works by Fryderyk Chopin), Regina Smendzianka, Barbara Hesse-Bukowska, or now Piotr Paleczny and Janusz Olejniczak.
The history of the current Chair of Piano dates back to the academic year 2006/2007 when, following the motion put forward by the community of pianists and teachers, the Senate merged two units existing at that time – the 1st Chair of Piano and he 2nd Chair of Piano. Head of the newly founded Chair of Piano was Prof. dr hab. Alicja Paleta-Bugaj (2006-2013 and 2014-2016). In the academic year 2013/2014, the work of the Chair was supervised by Prof. UMFC dr hab. Paweł Kamiński, and then prof. dr hab. Jerzy Sterczyński (2016-2020). At present, since 2020, the Chair of Piano has been headed by Prof. UMFC dr hab. Joanna Ławrynowicz-Just.
The aim of the Chair is – while utilising its previous teaching, artistic and academic achievements – to create better conditions for students so that they are able to develop their piano skills thanks to constant improvement of the quality of education.
· Versatile piano training taking into consideration students’ individual predispositions, preparing them for future concert activity both as soloists and chamber musicians (in collaboration with the Chair of Piano Chamber Music), including participation in piano competitions in Poland and abroad. The fullest-possible use of the richness of the world piano literature as well as Polish piano literature with special focus on music by Fryderyk Chopin. It is assumed that the importance of original programmes in classes of each teacher will grow.
· Preparation for academic and teaching activity connected with piano.
· Concerts and masterclasses for UMFC students featuring renowned lecturers from Poland and abroad.
· Courses for foreign students.
· Postgraduate studies.
· Collaboration with music schools of lower level (teaching, consultation, courses, seminars, lectures).
· Participation of members of the Chair in the work of the jury of numerous Polish and international piano competitions, giving masterclasses at other centres in Poland and abroad.
· Artistic activity of students within the University and outside of it – e.g. anniversary monographic concerts, concerts organised as part of exchange with other Polish universities, guest concerts at foreign institutions, participation of outstanding diploma candidates in symphonic concerts.
· Intense artistic activity of members of the Chair in Poland and abroad.
Academic and organisational activity
· Academic and artistic sessions at the UMFC.
· Lectures of members of the Chair during congresses, symposia and academic sessions in Poland and abroad, and also as part of professional pedagogic courses for teachers and students.
· Publications in the UMFC’s Zeszyty Naukowe and professional music journals.
· Academic collaboration with other UMFC Chairs.
· Participation of members of the Chair in organisations dealing with topics related to music (music societies and music festivals), collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (opinions on topics related to pianism and higher education in the field of art) and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.
· Collaboration with the Foundation of the National Edition of Works by Fryderyk Chopin – work on that edition and its promotion.
Members of the Chair
prof. dr hab. Joanna Ławrynowicz-Just - Head of the Chair
prof. dr hab. Elżbieta Karaś
prof. dr hab. Jerzy Sterczyński
prof. dr hab. Wojciech Świtała
dr hab. Anna Jastrzębska-Quinn, prof. UMFC
dr hab. Agnieszka Przemyk-Bryła, prof. UMFC
ad. dr hab. Konrad Skolarski
ad. dr Karolina Nadolska
ad. dr Monika Quinn
as Maciej Wota