*1 XI 1935 Warszawa, †28 VI 1982 Oxford
Andrzej Czajkowski – winner 8th prize V Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warszawa (1955). Andrzej Czajkowski first exhibited his talent for music at age four but only began taking lessons at age ten since, as a child of Jewish heritage he had to be hidden by a Polish family for the duration of World War II. In 1945, he began learning piano at the State Music School in Łódź under Emma Altberg. Three years later, he left for Paris where Lazar Levy took over his education. After his return to Poland (1950), he studied at the State Music Academy in Sopot under Prof. Olga Iliwicka-Dąbrowska, and later at the State Music Academy in Warszawa under Prof. Stanisław Szpinalski. Already during his studies he began developing his concert career, displaying his showmanship through public performances of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Rachmaninov’s II Piano Concerto in C minor and astounding listeners with improvisations on any given theme. From 1951, he took composition classes with Prof. Kazimierz Sikorski.
After his success at the V Chopin Competition, where he won the 8th award (1955), Czajkowski lest to study in Brussels under Stefan Askenase. As a result of his co-operation with the famous Polish pianist, Czajkowski took part in the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Competition, winning third prize (1956).
In 1957, he gave a series of recitals in Paris, performing all of Ravel’s compositions for piano in honour of the twentieth anniversary of the French composer’s death. During the same time, he consulted Nadia Boulanger at Fontainbleau in matter of composition, as well as establishing contacts with Arthur Rubenstein.
Andrzej Czajkowski was gifted with a phenomenal memory. While playing concerts in New Zealand, he dedicated himself to playing all 22 of Mozart’s piano concertos, which he did by learning one composition per day in a row. His interpretation distinguished itself by its intelligence and ability to insight into the style of the composers. Music critics underlined his temperament and sensitivity to the beauty of sound.
Despite his success as a pianist, Andrzej Czajkowski’s greatest passion was composition. He wrote Piano Concerto, String Quartet, Shakespeare’s Seven Sonnets for voice with piano, Piano Trio and several compositions for piano solo. He began work on an opera – The Merchant of Venice.
He made several recordings immortalising his work for the label EMI, including works by J. S. Bach (Goldberg Variations), Joseph Haydn (two Sonatas, Variations in F minor), Mozart (Concerto in C major, two Sonatas and minor works), Franz Schubert (waltzes, lendlers, German dances), Fryderyk Chopin (15 mazurkas) as well as Gabriel Fauré (Piano Quartet in C minor).
He died of cancer at the age of 47.