*9 IX 1924 Chorzów, †17 X 1992 Katowice
Tadeusz Żmudziński – winner 12th award IV Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition (1949) – began piano lessons in 1933 as a student of the Silesian Music Conservatory in Katowice, in Prof. Władysława Markiewiczówna. The outbreak of World War II forced him to stop his studies at the Conservatory, but he renewed them after his family moved to Kraków, taking secret lessons with Prof. Markiewiczówna, who had likewise moved to Kraków. He also played secret concerts in private homes.
After the war, the pianist returned to Katowice (1945), where performed with a symphony orchestra for the first time and took part in a radio programme. One year later, he began piano studies at the State Music Academy in Katowice – again under Prof. Władysława Markiewiczówna. He graduated with highest honours the following year after giving two recitals comprised of works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Albeniz and Ryszard Bukowski as well as an evening performance with orchestra performing Beethoven’s Concerto in E flat major and Szymanowski’s Concerto in F minor and IV Symphonie concertante. Over the next few years he consulted with Imre Ungar in Budapest (1948), Walter Giesenking and Alfred Cortot in Paris (1949) as well as Zbigniew Drzewiecki and Jan Ekier in Warszawa (1949).
The pianist participated in the International Music Competition in Scheveningen (1948), the Long-Thibaud International Music Competition in Paris (1949) as well as the Fourth Chopin Competition in Warszawa, where he won the 12th award. He was also a winner at the Second Festival of Polish Music in Warszawa (1952).
From the time of his success in the Chopin Competition until his death, Tadeusz Żmudziński never parted from the stage, playing a few dozen concerts every year. He performed in Poland (philharmonics, festivals, cultural institutions, etc.) Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Nigeria, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Uruguay, the USA and Yugoslavia. With the orchestras: National Philharmonic in Warszawa, Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice, Łódź Philharmonic, Kraków Philharmonic, Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz, Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk, the Cluj Philharmonic, he went on more than 30 tours playing in many countries. Żmudziński played a concert at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York (1964), he took part in gala concerts organised at the Kremlin in Moscow, as well as in palaces in Paris, Vienna, Peking (Beijing) and others. He took part in international music festivals in Copenhagen, Bucharest, Reykjavik, Dubrovnik, Berlin, Duszniki, Russ, Sofia, Prague, Paris, Vienna, Köln, Dresden, Wrocław, Warszawa, Villach and others.
The pianist gave several country and world premieres of Bolesław Szabelski’s works (Poems for piano and orchestra, 1961; Piano Concerto, 1976); Robert Nessler’s (Piano Concerto, 1961) and Krzysztof Meyer’s (Piano Concerto, 1984). He had an extensive repertoire that included works of all kinds and styles. The musical world especially valued his interpretations of Brahms and Szymanowski. His concerts, during which he performed both of Brahms’ piano concertos, have gone down in Polish musical history. Music critics described his playing as “monumental”, “close to perfection”, “[musically] flawless”, “sensitive” and “colourful”.
Tadeusz Żmudziński was engaged pedagogically during his entire artistic career. From 1961, he had a piano class at the State Music Academy in Kraków, and simultaneously, from 1973, at the State Music Academy in Katowice. He sat on the juries of several national and international music competitions, among others in Warszawa (Chopin Competition (1975, 1980, 1985, 1990), Tern (1975, 1976), Bolzano (1984), Porto (1986), Łódź (1983) and Katowice (1974).
Several of Tadeusz Żmudziński’s piano creations are preserved on recording for Polskie Nagrania „Muza” (Chopin, Szymanowski) as well as tape recordings by Polish Radio among others (Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Szymanowski, Strawiński, Szabelski).
The artist also executed several altruistic functions, including: president of the Karol Szymanowski Society in Zakopane, board member of the Fryderyk Chopin Society in Warszawa and member of the National Culture Assembly.