Persons related to Chopin Persons related to Chopin

Barbara Hesse-Bukowska

Barbara Hesse-Bukowska

Barbara Hesse-Bukowska

*8 II 1930 Łódź; +9 XII 2013

Barbara Hesse-Bukowska, runner-up in the 4th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (1949), was born into a family of long musical traditions. Her father was a violinist and conductor, her mother a pianist and teacher, and her grandfather a piano tuner. She began learning piano at the age of six, with her mother. Her next teacher was Czesław Aniołkiewicz, then in 1938 she enrolled on the lower course at the Warsaw Conservatory under Maria Glińska-Wąsowska. During the Second World War, she attended piano lessons with Margerita Trombini-Kazuro. In 1945, she began regular piano studies with Maria Wiłkomirska in Łódź, before joining Trombini-Kazuro’s class at the State College of Music in Warsaw. She graduated with the highest distinction in 1949, and in that same year won Second Prize in the 4th Chopin Competition. In 1953, she won Fifth Prize in the International Long-Thibaud Piano Competition in Paris. Five years later, she honed her skills with Arthur Rubinstein in Paris, as a grant student of the Polish Government.


She gave her first public concert on 1 July 1945, in Łódź, performing Chopin’s Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante, Op. 22 with the local orchestra. She was very active as a concert pianist during the 50s, 60s and 70s, performing on every continent; in Europe, she played in every country bar Monaco and Portugal. She was partnered by such well-known conductors as Nikolay Anosov, Hermann Abendroth, Adrian Boult, Enrique Bátiz, Henryk Czyż, Jerzy Katlewicz, Jan Krenz, Kurt Masur, Witold Rowicki, Stanisław Skrowaczewski and Stanisław Wisłocki. She took part in international festivals in Dubrovnik, Duszniki, Gaming, Gent, Prague, Warsaw, Vienna and elsewhere. She made several concert tours as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra (incl. Germany, Austria and France) and the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice. In 1962, she received the Harriet Cohen Piano Medal for best pianist of the year. Her playing was marked by sensitivity, an ability to convey the style of the works she performed, and sparkling pianism.


She recorded for many radio and television stations around the world. For the record labels Polskie Nagrania ‘Muza’, Lumen, Westminster, Le Chant du Monde, Deutsche Grammophon and Pol-Music, she recorded works by Chopin (concertos, waltzes, mazurkas, nocturnes, impromptus, Allegro de concert, polonaises and etudes), Szymanowski (20 mazurkas), Paderewski (Concerto in A minor), Ludomir Różycki (Ballade for piano and orchestra) and others.


Barbara Hesse-Bukowska began teaching in the mid 50s, giving private lessons. From 1963, she gave a piano class at the State College of Music in Wrocław, then from 1972 at the SCM in Warsaw. She sat on the jury of international piano competitions in Warsaw (Chopin Competition, 1985, 1990, 1995), Leeds, Paris, Palm Beach, Hamamatsu and elsewhere.

Stanisław Dybowski


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