Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Józef Turczyński - biography


Józef Turczyński, a Polish pianist, was born on 2 February 1884 in Zytomierz, and died on 27 December 1953 in Lausanne. He began to learn piano and violin in his early childhood with his father and completed piano studies under Anna Esipova in St. Petersburg. He also studied law at the University. In 1907, in Kiev, he was awarded a diploma in law, and next he went to take up master classes under Ferruccio Busoni in Vienna. In January 1912 he took part in a piano competition in St. Petersburg winning the first prize. The St. Petersburg press reviewed: "he turned out to be not an ordinary pianist, he overshadowed his rivals [..], winning general acclaim and admiration both with his excellent technique, as well as the beauty and variety of his strike coupled with the outstanding finish and the natural gift for performing every piece with enthusiasm and inspiration. The artist used his accomplished playing, strong temperament and exceptional personality to captivate the jury, who having forgotten their duties, stood up and joined the applause." It was the beginning of his intense virtuoso career with performances in Warsaw, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Berlin, Leipzig, Paris and other cities. In 1914, having received the manuscript of Juliusz Zarębski's Piano Quintet in G minor, he commenced promoting this work, and later published it in 1931. In 1920 he settled in Warsaw, where he accepted the position of a piano department professor at the Warsaw Conservatory. From 1933 he also taught at the Institute of Piano Playing, which he also founded. A meaningful point in his artistic life was the meeting with Ignacy Jan Paderewski in Morges, when he presented to the famous composer his Sonata in E flat minor. Paderewski was enchanted by his talent and the brilliant interpretation of the piece and gave him a few lessons. "The few sessions with Paderewski taught me more than I had learned in all my life", he said after years. Each year between 1920 and 1939, he went on tour of Europe (Italy, France, Germany, Bulgaria, the Balkans, Switzerland, Denmark, Estonia and others). In 1937, in cooperation with Paderewski and Ludwik Bronarski, he began working on editing Chopin's Complete works. On the outbreak of World War II he was in Morges, at Paderewski's. He found himself without a livelihood, but on the master's intercession he could perform in Switzerland and accepted every concert. He played works by Chopin, Paderewski, Zarębski and Szymanowski, as well as accompanied his wife in songs by Chopin, Moniuszko, Paderewski, Szymanowski and others. After the war he did not return to Poland. In 1946, he went on tour of England, and in the season of 1950/1951 he spent almost a year touring South America. He was a respected figure in the music world. His repertoire included all Chopin works, which he sometimes performed in cycles of recitals. He sat on the jury of the International Chopin Competitions in Warsaw (in 1927, 1932 and 1937). His pupils included Witold Małcużyński, Henryk Sztompka, Stanisław Szpinalski, Maryla Jonas, Maria Wiłkomirska, Aleksander Sienkiewicz, Jadwiga Sukiennicka, Stanisław Staniewicz, Moisei Weinberg, and Halina Czerny-Stefańska.

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