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Zimerman to perform at ND

Analise Lipari | Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Krystian Zimerman is the latest in a series of high-profile musicians to be featured at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Hailing from Poland, this award-winning pianist will perform several notable classical pieces at his upcoming concert Wednesday night, including works of Beethoven, Chopin and Ravel.

Zimerman has studied the piano since the age of seven, when he began training under leading musicians at a music conservatory in Katowice, Poland. After graduating 14 years later, Zimerman went on to win several high-profile music competitions. As mentioned in a recent South Bend Tribune article, his victory in the world-renowned Warsaw International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in 1975 helped jumpstart his fledgling career.

Since that time, Zimerman’s touring and performance schedule has expanded dramatically, to all of Europe, America and Asia. Primarily, he has performed and recorded with the Deutsche Grammophon label. Zimerman has also expanded to teaching at the Music Academy in Basle, Switzerland in recent years.

Often praised by both critics and his faithful audience, Zimerman recently was the subject of dedication of Witold Lutoslawski’s latest piano concerto.

According to his official biography, Zimerman often makes a conscious effort to play particular pieces of music in their original environment. To Zimerman, performing Mozart in Vienna or Bernstein in New York is a particular priority.

“If I were an actor, I would also set myself the aim of performing Shakespeare in London and Chekhov in Russia,” Zimerman said in his biography. While Wednesday’s show will not feature any native Hoosier music, this kind of appreciation for the roots of his pieces makes Zimerman a unique musical performer.

True to his heritage, Zimerman also incorporates a Polish piece of music into each American performance. Wednesday night’s concert will follow suit, featuring several Polish folk dances called mazurkas. Zimerman’s inclusion of Chopin, arguably one of the best Polish composers, also contributes to his efforts to bring more Polish music to this American audience.

Zimerman is also widely known for his collaborations with several respected modern conductors. Working with men such as Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski has given Zimerman an unparalleled grasp of the more subtle nuances of both conducting and performing music.

“Working frequently and closely with an outstanding musical personality, a master of orchestral sound, was a formative experience for him,” Zimerman’s biography says of his collaborations with Bernstein. This type of connection with the conductor’s viewpoint lends a distinct perspective to Zimerman’s performances.

Recently, Zimerman has been the recipient of several international awards for his performances. His alma mater, the Katowice Music Academy, has awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Arts, the second in the institution’s history. He has also been of late the recipient of France’s “Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur,” as well as Japan’s 2004 Record Academy award for his 2004 Rachmaninov recording with the Boston Symphony.

Zimerman’s performance this upcoming Wednesday night will serve as a chance for the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s communities to hear a true artist at work at his craft.