Janina Fialkowska

Janina Fialkowska

born on 7/5/1951 in Montréal, Canada

Janina Fialkowska

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Janina Fialkowska

Janina Fialkowska, (born May 7, 1951) is a Canadian classical pianist.

Early life

Fialkowska was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to a Canadian mother (Bridget Todd Fialkowski) and a Polish father (Jerzy Fialkowski), an engineer and Polish army officer who emigrated to Canada in 1945. Her mother was descended from an old Canadian family of Scottish-Irish and Cree (aboriginal) stock, who studied piano in the class of Alfred Cortot at the École Normale de Musique de Paris (1935-1939). Fialkowska is the Granddaughter of Dr. John Todd, Canadas first Professor of Parasitology,[1] and Great-granddaughter of Sir Edward Clouston, President of the Canadian Bankers Association. She is the Cousin of Canadian Politician and former cabinet minister David Anderson and cousin of stage and screen actor Christopher Plummer.[2]

Fialkowska began to study piano at age 4 with her mother and in 1960 enrolled in the École Vincent-dIndy in Montreal. In 1963, at the age of 12, she made her debut as a soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and began studying with Yvonne Hubert. She pursued her secondary education at the prestigious Montreal girls school The Study, graduating in 1967. The following year, at the age of 17, she simultaneously obtained undergraduate (Baccalauréat) and Maitrise from the Université de Montréal. During this period, she also studied in Paris with virtuoso and teacher Yvonne Lefébure (1966, 1968-1969). In 1969 she was awarded 1st Prize in the CBC National Radio Competition for Young Performers in Canada and travelled occasionally to New York City for private studies with Sasha Gorodnitzki. In 1970, she settled in New York and enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music as a student of Sasha Gorodnitzki, later becoming his teaching assistant from 1979-1984. Following her prize-winning performance at the inaugural Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition held in Tel Aviv in 1974, Arthur Rubinstein became her mentor and launched her international career.[3]

Career and Musical Style

A specialist of the Classic and Romantic repertoires, Janina Fialkowska has garnered especially high praise for her interpretations of the works of Chopin and Liszt. For the past thirty years, she has also championed the music of contemporary Polish composers like Lutoslawski, Panufnik and Mozetich.

Fialkowska appears regularly with renowned orchestras the world over. In Europe, she has soloed with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Hallé Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic of London, the BBC Symphony, the Scottish National Orchestra, the Bonn Philharmonic, the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, and the Orchestre National de France. Concerto appearances in North America have included the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and the Vancouver Symphony. Over the course of her career, Fialkowska has performed with many of the worlds finest conductors, including Sir Georg Solti, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Andrew Davis, Bernard Haitink, Hans Graf, Charles Dutoit, Kyril Kondrashin, Leonard Slatkin, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Thomas Dausgaard and Eiji Oue.

Her numerous solo recital tours have taken her to leading concert halls throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, and the Far East.

A few career highlights:

  • In 1986, to commemorate the centennial of the death of Franz Liszt, Janina Fialkowska was invited to perform his complete Transcendental Études in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, in London for the BBC, and in Canada for the CBC.
  • In 1990, she was chosen to perform, with the Chicago Symphony, the world premiere of the recently discovered Third Piano Concerto of Franz Liszt.
  • She has also given world premiere performances of piano concertos by American composer Libby Larsen, with the Minnesota Orchestra (1991) and by Canadian composer Marjan Mozetich, with the Kingston Symphony (2000).
  • In 1992, the Colorado Symphony invited her to perform the North American premiere of the piano concerto by Sir Andrzej Panufnik.
  • Also in 1992, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produced a television documentary of her life and career, entitled The World of Janina Fialkowska, which was aired across Canada and was awarded a special jury prize at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

In January 2002, on the eve of a European concert tour encompassing eight countries, Fialkowskas career was suddenly brought to a halt by the discovery of an aggressive cancerous tumour in her upper left arm. Following the removal of the malignant mass in May 2002, she subsequently underwent an innovative surgical procedure designed to reconstruct the arm that had been rendered almost useless by the excision of the tumour. During her eighteen months of convalescence, she gave numerous concerts in Europe and North America, performing music written especially for the left hand by Ravel (Concerto for the Left Hand) and Prokofiev (Piano Concerto no. 4), which she adapted for performance with the right hand. Both the public and the critics were unanimous in their admiration of her courage and the high calibre of these unusual and challenging performances[4] for example with the Houston Symphony Orchestra under Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. In 2004, Fialkowska made a triumphant return to the stage as a two-handed pianist, first with a highly anticipated recital in Germany,[5] followed by Beethovens Fourth Piano Concerto in Toronto.[6] Since then, she has resumed active touring in Canada, the United States, Europe, and the Far East performing amongst others with the Warsaw Philharmonic,[7] the Montreal Symphony,[8] the Toronto Symphony, the Suk Chamber Orchestra Prague,[9] the Vancouver Symphony,[10] the Detroit Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,[11] the Mexico State Orchestra, Lorchestra di Camera Italiana,[12] the Badische Staatskapelle,[13] the Osaka Philharmonic[14] and many others.

In the summer of 2010, Fialkowska hosted a celebration of the works of Chopin at the Festival of the Sound.[15]

Personal life

Janina Fialkowska is married to German music manager Harry Oesterle (since 2001). They have homes in the United States (Connecticut) and Germany (Bavaria).

Piano Six & Piano Plus (classical music charity programs)

Janina Fialkowska was the founder and first Artistic Director of Piano Six, a not-for-profit educational outreach program dedicated to keeping classical music alive in small communities throughout Canada. In 1993, Fialkowska convinced five of Canadas most distinguished classical pianists to join with her in taking time off from their busy international careers to tour to outlying communities that rarely, if ever, figure on the itinerary of the worlds top musicians. In order to serve as many communities as possible, Fialkowska and the other Piano Six artists agreed to perform for a fraction of their usual fees. During its decade of operation (1993-2003), this award-winning program sent its artists on more than 60 regional tours, reaching over 100,000 Canadian music fans of all ages with their live performances, masterclasses and teachers workshops. In 2004, in order to broaden the scope of its activities, the Piano Six roster was expanded to include top-flight Canadian musicians from the fields of strings and voice as well as piano. Under the banner of Piano Plus, the new programs associated artists continue to tour the length and breadth of Canada each season.[16]

Awards and honours

  • First Prize at the CBC National Radio Competition for Young Performers, 1969.[17]
  • Third Prize at the First International Arthur Rubinstein Piano Masters Competition, held in Israel, 1974.[18]
  • Officer of the Order of Canada, 2001[19]
  • Honorary Doctorate (Music), Acadia University Wolfville (Wolfville, Nova Scotia), 2006[20]
  • Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Keyboard Artistry, 2007[21]
  • Governor General's Performing Arts Awards for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, 2012.[22]

Recording career

Janina Fialkowska is an active and highly acclaimed recording artist. Two of her recordings were nominated by the Canadian music industry for a Juno Award: her 1997 CD Fialkowska plays Szymanowski (ODR 9305) and her 1998 recital of virtuoso salon pieces La Jongleuse (CBC MVCD 1114). Her 2001 recording of Liszts Transcendental Études (ODR 9332) earned the Critics Choice award from American Record Guide. She has also recorded the Liszt Sonata (for RCA) and discs of various works by Chopin (for Atma Classique).

Recordings by Janina Fialkowska have been the victim of a form of art theft. In 2007, it was discovered that some recordings originally attributed to the deceased pianist Joyce Hatto (1928-2006) contained tracks that had been plagiarized from recordings by other artists. Two pieces from Fialkowskas 1990 CD of works by Franz Liszt Mephisto Waltz and Venezia e Napoli were amongst the tracks that were fraudulently represented as having been recorded by Hatto. The discovery of these and other plagiarized tracks led to one of the biggest scandals that has ever occurred in the classical music recording business.[23][24]


Orchestral / Concertos

  • W.A.Mozart: Piano Concertos, nos. 11 and 12 (chamber version). With The Chamber Players of Canada. Atma Classique SACD2 2531. (2007)[25]
  • Frédéric Chopin: Concertos (chamber version). With The Chamber Players of Canada. Atma Classique SACD2 2291. (2005)[26]
  • Franz Liszt: Piano Concerti. With the Calgary Philharmonic, cond. Hans Graf. CBC Records, SMCD 5202. (2000)[27]
  • Paderewski: Piano Concerto; Fantaisie polonaise. Naxos 8.554020. (1999) [28]
  • Memories of Poland: Chopin, Moszzkowski, Koprowski. CBC Records, SMCD 5140. (1995)[29]

Solo Albums

  • Chopin: Book II (sonatas, impromptus) (2001)[30]
  • Transcendental Liszt: Transcendental Études (complete). Opening Day Recordings, ODR 9332. (2000)[31]
  • Fialkowska plays Chopin: The Études, opp. 10 & 25. Opening Day Recordings, ODR 9312. (1998)[32]
  • La Jongleuse: Salon pieces and encores CBC Records, MVCD 1114. (1998)[33]
  • Fialkowska plays Szymanowski: 4 Études; Variations sur un thème folklorique polonais; Métopes; 2 Mazurkas. Opening Day Recordings, ODR 9305. (1995)[34]
  • Franz Liszt: Pieces for Piano Solo. CBC Records MVCD 2-1035. (1990)[35]
  • Presenting Janina Fialkowska: Liszt solo piano works. RCA Red Seal FRLI 1042. (1977)[36]
  • Janina Fialkowska plays Chopin. RCA Red Seal RL 37071 (1977) [37]


  • None But the Lonely Heart: Russian Romances. With soprano Joanne Kolomyjec. CBC Records, MVCD 1144. (2001)[38]
  • Brahms/Schumann: Lieder. With bass-baritone Daniel Lichti. Opening Day Recordings, ODR 9311. (1997)[39]
  • Schubert: Schwanengesang. With bass-baritone Daniel Lichti. Opening Day Recordings, ODR 9302. (1994)[40]


  1. A. Murray Fallis, "John L. Todd, Canada's first professor of parasitology" in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 129, September 1, 1983
  2. Christopher Plummer, "In Spite of myself", New York (Knopf) 2008. p. 590f
  3. Arthur Rubinstein, My many years, New York (Knopf) 1980 p. 601
  4. Charles Ward: Pianist switch-hits to perform Ravel, in: Houston Chronicle, Sept. 27, 2002
  5. Helmut Mauro: Mit der Kraft des Dur-Vertrauens, in : Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Munich)November 16th, 2006
  6. Janina Fialkowska Reborn
  7. Teresa Grabowska/Jozef Kanski : Wystrzalowa koncowka in Trybuna, (Warsaw) June 14th, 2004
  8. Claude Gingras : OSM/Fialkowska : La main hereuse, La Presse (Montreal), Sept. 27th, 2004
  9. Augsburger Allgemeine, July 26th, 2004
  10. Pianist in top form after courageous comeback, in : Vancouver Sun, April 30th, 2005
  11. Elizabeth Grice : I couldnt lift my hand to the keyboard in : The Daily Telegraph, April 17th, 2006
  12. Mauro Bellachioma : Batte il cancro e suona per il Calcit in : Corriere di Arezzo, December 2005
  13. Claus-Dieter Hanauer : Polnisches Intermezzo, in : Badische Neueste Nachrichten, July 16, 2008
  14. Ongaku na Tomo (Japan), May 2008
  15. Season Highlights. Festival of the Sound. Retrieved on 2010-07-24.
  16. Piano Plus - About
  17. CBC National Radio Competition for Young Performers - First Prize Winners
  18. The Arthur Rubinstein International Music Society - The First Competition, September 1974
  19. Order of Canada - Janina Fialkowska, O.C.
  20. Acadia University to award over 900 degrees during May convocation ceremonies - Six honorary degrees to be awarded to international field of high achievers
  21. Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Awards
  22. Rush wins Governor General's Award, CBC News, March 6, 2012. URL accessed on 2012-03-06.
  23. The "Joyce Hatto" hoax, and the segment from the Liszt 'Mephisto Waltz' which first drew attention to Hatto.
  24. http://www.farhanmalik.com/hatto/lisztrecital.html
  25. fialkowska.com - Discography
  26. fialkowska.com - Discography
  27. fialkowska.com - Discography
  28. fialkowska.com - Discography
  29. fialkowska.com - Discography
  30. fialkowska.com - Discography
  31. fialkowska.com - Discography
  32. fialkowska.com - Discography
  33. fialkowska.com - Discography
  34. fialkowska.com - Discography
  35. fialkowska.com - Discography
  36. Gramophone Archive - Review
  37. Gramophone Archive - Review
  38. fialkowska.com - Discography
  39. fialkowska.com - Discography
  40. fialkowska.com - Discography


  • Rubinstein, Artur (1980). My Many Years, New York: Knopf.
  • Plummer, Christopher (2008). In Spite of myself, New York: Knopf.

External links

This page was last modified 09.02.2014 11:28:31

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