Rafał BlechaczIn October 2005 uncontested won the 15th Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland (the 2nd prize was not awarded). Also all the special prizes of the Competition went to him: Polish Radio Prize for the best performance of mazurkas, Frédéric Chopin Society Prize for the best performance of polonaise, National Philharmonic of Poland Prize for the best performance of concerto, and Krystian Zimerman sponsored Prize for the best performance of sonata.
Born in 1985 in Nakło nad Notecią, Poland, he began his piano lessons at the age of five. Continued his piano education in the Artur Rubinstein State School of Music in Bydgoszcz. In May 2007 graduated from the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, the piano class of Professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń.
Taking part in music festivals and competitions in his native Poland and all over the world the artist won many prestigious prizes and awards. The most important among them are: 1st Prize and Grand Prix of the 13th All-Poland Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Gorzów Wielokpolski (1996), 2nd Prize of the 5th International Young Pianists Competition „Artur Rubinstein in memoriam” in Bydgoszcz (2002), 2nd Prize of the 5th International Piano Competition in Hamamatsu, Japan (2003), ex aequo with Alexandr Kobrin (the 1st Prize was not awarded).
The victory of 2005 in Warsaw made the doors of the most famous concert halls of the world open for him. Among them are the Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in Lodon, Berliner Philharmonie, Herkulessaal in Munich, Alte Oper in Frankfurt/Main, Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Tonhalle in Zurich, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Avery Fisher Hall in New York, just to name a few. The most renowned music festivals, such as Salzburg in Austria, Verbier in Switzerland, La Roque-d’Anthéron in France, Klavier Festival Ruhr in Germany and Gilmore Festival in the United States keep inviting Rafał Blechacz to revisit. His appearances have evoked enthusiasm and acclaim from music critics and concert goers around the world. He performed with the best symphonic orchestras under the direction of such acclaimed conductors as Valery Gergev, Mikhail Pletnev, Charles Dutoit, David Zinman, Marek Janowski and Jerzy Maksymiuk. In July 2010 he received the prestigious Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena, Italy) awarded annually by the international jury of music critics to young musicians for their superb artistic achievements.
On May 29, 2006 the artist signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, a music recording company. Thus he has become the second only Polish artist, after Krystian Zimerman, who had enlisted under this prestigious label. His first Deutsche Grammophon CD containing all the Preludes by Frédéric Chopin was released in Europe in October 2007. This CD attained the Platinum Record status in Poland as early as in the second week of sale. Elsewhere it won many awards, such as the German Echo Klassik and French Diapason D’or. His second Deutsche Grammophon CD with sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven followed in October 2008. It won immediately a great praise from music critics and the listening public. Upon the big success of those two CDs the pianist honored the Chopin Year 2010 with both Chopin’s Concertos recorded for the „yellow label” with the acclaimed Concertgebouw Orchestra (listed in 2009 by the British music magazine „Gramophone” as world’s No. 1) under the baton of Jerzy Semkow. It was awarded the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, a prestigious prize of German music critics. After its release in Poland, it quickly reached the double Platinum Record status.