Rafał Blechacz Biography (Wikipedia)
Rafał Blechacz (pronounced (listen); born June 30, 1985 Nakło n. Notecią, Poland) is a Polish classical pianist.
Blechacz began piano lessons at the age of five, and enrolled in the National Arthur Rubinstein Music School in Bydgoszcz three years later. In May 2007, he graduated from the Feliks Nowowiejski Music Academy in Bydgoszcz with professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń. He won second prize at the Arthur Rubinstein in Memoriam Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz in 2002, second prize at the 4th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2003 (no first prize was awarded), and first prize at the International Piano Competition in Morocco in 2004.
On October 21, 2005, he became the sole recipient of all five first prizes at the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, taking First Prize and the polonaise, mazurka, sonata, and concerto prizes. No other pianist has achieved this feat. According to ABC News, one of the judges, Professor Piotr Paleczny, said that Blechacz "so outclassed the remaining finalists that no second prize could actually be awarded." According to PBS, another judge, John O'Conor, opined "He is one of the greatest artists I have had a chance to hear in my entire life". Blechacz was the first Pole to win the prize (given every five years) since 1975, when Krystian Zimerman won.
Rafał Blechacz Tracks