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Artists

Conductors

WOJCIECH RAJSKI

Conductor, founder and artistic director of the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Sopot.

Born in Warsaw in 1948, Wojciech Rajski is a graduate of the Music Academy in Warsaw where he studied conducting with Bogusław Madey, gaining a diploma with distinction. He then studied at the Musikhochschule in Cologne, Germany, on a DAAD scholarship. In Vienna, he participated in Master Classes with Witold Rowicki.

He made his professional debut in 1971 at the Grand Opera Theatre in Warsaw conducting the ballet Giselle. From 1974-78, he served as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for the State Philharmonic Orchestra in Poznań and also conduced the Betovenhalleorchester during 1978-80. In 1982 he founded the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Sopot.

From 1993 to 2006 Wojciech Rajski served as Artistic Director of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Warsaw, regularly performing some of the best European concert halls in France, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Spain and Italy.

In addition to concert performances, he realised many recordings for Polish Radio.

Beside the regular work with Polish orchestras, Wojciech Rajski has appeared as a guest conductor with numerous orchestras in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Mexico, England, Sweden, Greece, Spain and Germany. He has worked closely with several orchestras, including the Orchestre de la Suisse Romaine, NDR Hannover and Bayerische Rundfunk. He has performed with many soloists of world renown including Mstislav Rostropovich, Henryk Szeryng, Sabine Meyer, Ivo Pogorelich and Krystian Zimerman, who toured Germany together with Wojciech Rajski and the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie.

Wojciech Rajski has taken part in numerous international festivals including the Prague Spring, the Festival of Flanders, Festival Gran Canaria, Festspiele Europäische Wochen Passau, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Festivals at Evian and Montpellier, La Chaise Dieu and the Festival in Copenhagen. His discography includes over 50 albums for labels such as EMI, Chant du Monde, Claves, Thorofon, Tacet, Midas, Bis Wifon, KOCH, and many others. He has also records for radio and television in Poland and Germany  for SAT 1, 3 SAT and ARD.

In 1993 Wojciech Rajski began teaching, accepting a position at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe where he was awarded the title of Professor. Since 1998 he has been a Professor of Conducting at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, and has also taught conducting classes at the Music Academy in Gdańsk since 2008. In 2010, he received the title of Professor from the President of Poland.

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Soloists

PIOTR BECZAŁA tenor

Piotr Beczala is one of the most sought after lyric tenors of our time and a constant guest in the world’s leading opera houses. The Polish-born artist is acclaimed not only for the beauty of his voice, but also for his ardent commitment to each character he portrays.  In addition to his operatic work, he has sung many of the great choral and orchestral vocal works with the world’s most distinguished orchestras and maestri.

Piotr Beczala´s 2017/18 season begins in Barcelona at the Gran Teatre del Liceu with Un Ballo in Maschera. After that, he returns to the Vienna State Opera with his long-awaited role debut as Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur, alongside Anna Netrebko in the title role, to the Munich State Opera as Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) and to the Berlin State Opera as Rodolfo (La Bohème). Furthermore, Piotr Beczala can be heard in Carmen at the Vienna State Opera and in Luisa Miller (Rodolfo) at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Returning to the Zurich Opera House, Mr. Beczala headlines a revival of Werther and takes up his great success as Prince Sou-Chong in Das Land des Lächelns once more.  He starts off his concert season with an Operetta Gala in Baden-Baden, Budapest and Cologne and a Gala concert at the International Music Festival Český Krumlov. Following that, he sings recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Opéra Garnier in Paris, in Munich at the National Theatre and at the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, Austria.

Piotr Beczala is represented on numerous CDs. Since 2012 Piotr Beczala is an exclusive artist of Deutsche Grammophon and released his first album “My Heart’s Delight” in the spring of 2013. In 2012, he sang the New Year’s Eve concerts at the Semperoper in Dresden, which were directed by Christian Thielemann and released on CD and DVD by Deutsche Grammophon. His latest recording for Deutsche Grammophon, “The French Collection” was released internationally in 2015. A DVD of his stunning debut in the title role of Lohengrin opposite Anna Netrebko as Elsa was released internationally in 2017.

In 2014 Mr. Beczala was awarded at the ECHO Klassik Award as “Singer of the Year”.

 

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INGOLF WUNDER piano

Ingolf Wunder, born in Austria in 1985, started his musical adventure on the violin, at the age of four. Never pushed or forced by his parents, he treated violin as a hobby, fully enjoying and simply having fun with making music. At the same time he was developing his talent in sports and interests in technology. He had reached a high level of proficiency on the violin when, around 14 years of age his talent for the piano was coincidentally discovered by a teacher from Linz, Horst Mattheus. Wunder gave up violin after ten years of playing, left the Music Conservatory Klagenfurt and began intensive piano studies at the Music Conservatory Linz, under Prof. Mattheus. That was the moment when he fell in love with art and decided to dedicate himself fully to piano.

While many beginners would have started with easier repertory, Wunder pursued his inner fire for Liszt’s works and encouraged by his teacher’s made-to-measure teaching methods, he let the music of the Hungarian composer shape his technique. Living in his own world and far from the usual paths a young musician commonly takes, he was allowed to experiment in order to nourish his individuality and to find his genuine musical identity. As for his artistic taste, he formed it through the legacy left by artists from the generations of Schnabel, Friedman, Rubinstein and Horowitz.

A few months after switching to piano Wunder participated in his first youth competition and won the 1st Prize (VII Concorso Internazionale di Musica, Cortemillia, Italy). Soon after came the 1st Prizes at the XVI European Music Competition in Torino, the 63. Steinway Piano Competition in Hamburg and a few more.

About one year after changing the instrument he made his debut at the Konzerthaus Vienna, playing Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz and one of Debussy’s Preludes in a renowned youth cycle. In 2001, at the age of 16, he was awarded the Liszt Prize at the 36. International Franz Liszt Competition in Budapest (Hungary).

In 2003, after Wunder had been accidentally heard practicing by Emmanuel Krivine, he was invited by the conductor to perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris with the Orchestre National de France.

Wunder continued his piano studies at the Music University in Vienna.

After a brief but difficult period of doubts that made him think of giving up the aspiration to pursue a pianistic career and going into computer science instead, in 2008 Wunder started a collaboration with Adam Harasiewicz, a Polish pianist and the winner of the 1955 International Chopin Piano Competition. A year later Wunder decided to participate in a piano competition for the very last time, regardless the results.

The 2010 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw brought uproar, recognition, the 2nd Prize, a few special prizes and many devoted listeners around the world.

Next to playing concerts and touring, he undertook conducting studies to widen his musical horizons. He continued the studies externally until the end of 2012, when he obtained his diploma.

Between 2011 and 2017 he recorded four CDs for Deutsche Grammophon, he performed in Europe, Asia and both Americas, including such halls as Musikverein Vienna, Konzerthaus Berlin, Stuttgart Liederhalle, Hamburg Laiszhalle, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall in London, Sala Verdi in Milan, Teatro Manzoni in Bologna, Tonhalle Zurich, Auditorium Lyon, Théâtre du Palais Royal in Paris, Warsaw Philhamonic, Cracow Philharmonic, Rudolfinum in Prague, Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Teatro Municipal in Santiago di Chile, National Concert Hall in Taipei etc.

In late 2017, after a few years of planning and designing, Ingolf Wunder and his wife Paulina launched APPASSIO.com – the first in this form a real-time online learning and teaching startup exclusively for all fields of art, art education and help. It’s dedicated to teachers, students, art lovers of any age and parents. It aims at helping inspired individuals to find the right contacts and enrich their world in a made-to-measure way; to nourish their creativity, interests and artistic passion.

Passion is a keyword in Wunder’s life. Brought to the piano by passion and his own will, playing only repertoire that he feels passionate about, passionately admiring Romanticism and Impressionism in fine arts and passionately discovering new cuisines and tastes. He believes that an artist can only stay true to himself if whatever he does, he does it with full conviction and passion or not at all, and if he sticks to his personal beliefs. Even if it means taking risky challenges.

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VOCES8

The British vocal ensemble VOCES8 is proud to inspire people through music and share the joy of singing. Touring extensively throughout Europe, North America and Asia, the group performs repertoire from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary commissions and arrangements; versatility and a celebration of diverse musical expression is central to the ensemble’s performance ethos.

VOCES8 has performed at venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Cité de la Musique Paris, Vienna Konzerthaus, Tokyo Opera City, National Centre for the Performing Arts Beijing, Shanghai Concert Hall and Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall. Artistic collaborators have included the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, period ensembles Florilegium, L’Arpeggiata and La Folia Barockorchester, and violinist/artistic director Hugo Ticciati. This season they will perform with baroque violinist Rachel Podger with a new innovative project called “Guardian Angel”. In the 2017/18 Season the ensemble will be touring Europe extensively, returning to Russia, and making three tours to the USA; they will also make debut tours to Singapore and Mexico.

With an on-going programme of recordings and live broadcasts, VOCES8 is heard regularly on international television and radio. The ensemble is a Decca Classics artist and has released acclaimed recordings that have been at the top of the classical charts. VOCES8 has premiered commissions from Roxanna Panufnik, Alexander Levine, Alec Roth, Ben Parry, Ola Gjeilo, Philip Stopford and Thomas Hewitt Jones. The group also performs bespoke arrangements written by Arranger in Residence, Jim Clements.

The ensemble welcomed one of the most celebrated contemporary composers, Jonathan Dove, as Composer in Residence for two seasons from September 2017. As well as a commission planned for 2019 (Jonathan’s 60th birthday year), the associateship will provide mentoring opportunities to emerging composers linked with the group’s education programme.

VOCES8 is passionate about music education and is the flagship ensemble of the music charity VCM Foundation. Engaging in a broad range of outreach work that reaches up to 40,000 people a year, the group also runs an annual programme of workshops and masterclasses at the Foundation’s home in London, the Gresham Centre at St Anne & St Agnes Church. The ensemble is dedicated to supporting promising young singers and awards eight annual choral scholarships through the VOCES8 Scholars initiative. These scholarships are linked to the annual Milton Abbey Summer School at which amateur singers of all ages are invited to work and perform with VOCES8. International education partnerships include Bozar Brussels, Paris Philharmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus and Heidelberg Frühling.

As official Ambassadors for Edition Peters, the ensemble has published a collection of Songbooks and educational material including the VOCES8 Method. Developed by Paul Smith, Co-Founder of VOCES8, this unique teaching tool is available in four languages and adopts music to enhance development in numeracy, literacy and linguistics.

VOCES8 is very grateful for support from Arts Council England, the Merchant Taylors’ Company, the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers, Holman Fenwick Willan and T.M.Lewin.

“The slickest of the lot…fans of a cappella ought to hear this.” CD Review, BBC Radio 3

“Eight beautifully integrated solo voices… Every number here has something particularly arresting within it, all supported by persuasive and committed singing.” BBC Music Magazine Choral and Song Choice, A Purcell Collection.

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EDYTA PIASECKA soprano

Dramatic coloratura soprano, specializing in belcanto parts, performing also the song and oratorio repertoire.

She graduated from the Academy of Music in Cracow. She participated in a range of master classes, including, a. o. the Bachakademie (led by prof. Anna Reynolds) and courses led by Antonina Kawecka, Christian Elsner, Alison Pears, Ryszard Karczykowski and Izabela Kłosińska. She has received numerous awards: 1st award in the “Master class for Opera Singers”, organized in the prof. Richard Karczykowski (1997); Special prize for the best female voice and participation in the concerts of the “Promotion of Polish Talents” in Austria (concerts in Eisenstadt and Baden 1998); Nomination for the award: “Passport of magazine Polityka, in the category” Classical Music “(2004); A. Hiolski Prize for „Opera debut in Warsaw Grand Theater  (2004); Prize „Vocal Star (Gwiazda wokalistyki)” at  47. Festival of Jan Kiepura in Krynica.

She made her debut at the Kraków Opera, singing the Queen of the Night in W. A. Mozart’s The Magic Flute (while still a student). In 1997 she began the cooperation with Lower Silesian Opera (Opera Dolnośląska, Wrocław). She became a soloist with the Kraków Opera in 1999, when she sang a. o. Rosina in G. Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Nedda in R. Leoncavallo’s in Pagliacci, Hanna in S. Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor, Lucia in G. Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor,Coraline in A. Adam’s Le toréador, Violetta in G. Verdi’s La traviata, Gilda in G. Verdi’s Rigoletto, Fiordiligi in W. A. Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Rosalinda in J. Strauss’s Die Fledermaus.

In 2003 she made her debut at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw as Contessa di Folleville in the Polish premiere of The Journey to Reims (alongside Ewa Podleś amd Rockwell Blake, directerd by Tomasz Konina, under music production of Alberto Zedda), for this part she achieved the Andrzej Hiolski Prize for the best opera debut  in season.

On Warsaw stage she sang also   Sophie in S. Moniuszko’s Halka, Rosina in G. Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Violetta in G. Verdi’s La traviata, Hanna in S. Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor , title part in W. Żeleński’s Goplana. Two productions with her were broadcasted by Opera Platform: S. Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor and W. Żeleński’s Goplana (rewarded by International Opera Awards in category “Work rediscovered”).

 In 2010 she sang in concert performance the tittle part in V. Bellini’s Norma. In 2015 she created also on concert version, Mimi in G. Puccini’s a Boheme. She sang in 2011 for the first time soprano part in G. Verdi’s Messa da Requiem (with Stefania Toczyska, and conductor Kai Bumann), during the inauguration of the Gdańsk Music Festival in Oliwa Cathedral.

Two productions with her participation were broadcasted by Opera Platform: S. Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor and W. Żeleński’s Goplana (rewarded by International Opera Awards in category “Work rediscovered”).

In March 2017 she sang Fiorilla in G. Rossini’s Turco in Italia, with great applause, achieving enthusiastic reviews. In October 2017 she created Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia in Warsaw Chamber Opera during celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jitka Stokalska’s artistic work.

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AMELIA MASZOŃSKA violin

Amelia Maszonska was born in 1993 in Zielona Gora. At the age of 6 she started to play the violin. In 2008 she began learning at Henryk Wieniawski Secondary Music School in Poznan under professor Jadwiga Kaliszewska and Master of Arts Karina Gidaszewska’s. She graduated the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznan under professor Bartosz Bryla and Jaroslaw Nadrzycki. Currently she is studing at Hochschule der Kunste Bern under professor Monika Urbaniak – Lisik where she is also pursuing chamber music studies together with Affetto Piano Trio under professor Patrick Judt and professor Tomasz Herbut.

She attended many music courses under the tutelage of: Zakhar Bron, Pavel Vernikov, Bartlomiej Nizol, Oleg Kaskiv, Frantisek Novotny or Xiaoming Wang. The artist has performed in many European countries such as: Switzerland, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

She performed as a violin soloist with many orchestras in Poland throughout Europe namely: Brno Philharmony Orchester, Gyor Symphony Orchestra, Staatstheater Cottbus Philharmonisches Orchester, Silesian Philharmony, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Poznan Philharmony or Leopoldinum Orchester. As a chamber musician she collaborated with a great personalities such as Soyoung Yoon, Monika Urbaniak- Lisik, Bartek Niziol, Dorota Siuda, Vladimir Bukac or Daniel Pezzotti. In 2017, she was awarded the prestigious Medal of Young Arts by Wielkopolski Glos. She was awarded many scholarships from the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage, and Yamaha Foundation.

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BERNADETTA GRABIAS mezzosoprano

Bernadetta Grabias is a soloist with the Grand Theatre in Łódź. She graduated with distinction from the Academy of Music in Łódź, having studied singing with Professor Ziemowit Wojtczak and conducting. After graduation she joined the Łódź opera company, where she creates leading mezzo-soprano roles. From five years she collaborates on a permanent basis with the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera in Warsaw. Grabias has won a range of prizes, including third prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition (2008).

Her repertoire includes the roles of: Giovanna Seymour in Anne Boleyn, Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda, Orsini in Lucrezia Borgia, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Izabella in The Italian Girl in Algiers, Princess de Bouillon in Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, the title role in Bizet’s Carmen, George Sand in Ptaszyńska’s Kochankowie z klasztoru Valldemosa, Niclausse in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, Jadwiga and Chamberlain’s Wife in Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor.

As guest singer she takes part in concerts of symphony music, oratorios, and songs. She has sung: Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor, Requiem and Coronation Mass; Verdi’s Requiem, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. She has sung at the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, Kraków Opera, Poznań Opera House, Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz, Silesian Opera, and ensembles such as the Orchestre National de Belgique, Orchestre symphonique de la Monnaie, Orchestra of the Opera Royal de Wallonie, Symfonisch Orkest van de Vlaamse Opera, I Musici Brucellensis, Symphony Orchestra of the Hungarian Radio, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, and the orchestras of the Poznań Philharmonic, Olsztyn Philharmonic, Opole Philharmonic, Rzeszów Philharmonic, and Łódź Philharmonic.

She has performed at La Folle Jurnée in Nantes, Printemps Musical in Silly, Opernfestival Riehen Opera St. Moritz, Kolory Polski (Colours of Poland) Festival at the Łódź Philharmonic, Musica Sacra in Warsaw, Contemporary Music Laboratory in Białystok.

She has worked with such prominent conductors as: Kazushi Ono, Jesse Jones, Adrian Leaper, Łukasz Borowicz, Sierra Kingele, John Axelrode, Gunter Neuhold, Tadeusz Kozłowski, Ruben Silva, Tomasz Tokarczyk, Jan Przybylski, Marek Pijarowski, Tadeusz Wojciechowski, Eraldo Salmieri, Zofia Wisłocka, Antoni Wicherek, Andrzej Straszyński, Wojciech Michniewski, Jerzy Salwarowski, Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski, John Schultz, Paweł Przytocki and directors: Dieter Kaegi, Maciej Prus, Tomasz Konina, Michał Znaniecki, Andrzej Wolf, Joachim Rathke, Laco Adamik, Waldemar Zawodziński, Janina Niesobska, Roberto Skolmowski, Wiesław Ochman, Henryk Baranowski, and Krzysztof Kelm.

In 2004 she received a Schiller Award for the best debut from ZASP, the Society of Polish Theatre, Film, Radio and Television Artists. She has been awarded Brylant Polski (Polish Brilliant) as an outstanding emerging artist and an award from Łódź executive authorities for her exceptional artistic achievements.

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LUKAS GOGOL accordion

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ANNA GUZIK-TYLKA vocal

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KACPER KUSZEWSKI vocal

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Compere

POLISH CHAMBER PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA SOPOT

POLISH CHAMBER PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA SOPOT

In February 1982, Wojciech Rajski brought together a group of talented Polish string players to set up an orchestra which he called “Polish Chamber Philharmonic”. After meticulous rehearsals, the string orchestra made its début at the Musical Theatre Gdynia and abroad at the opening of Schliessheimer Summer in Munich and 37th Summer Music Days Hitzacker. The young ensemble has delighted the public and critics which gave rise to numerous invitations to all German festivals and to the most important concert venues like Berlin Philharmonic, Gasteig in Munich, Gewandthaus in Leipzig, Musikhalle in Hamburg, Pleyel House in Paris, Musikverein in Wien and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Since 1984 the orchestra has performed also in an extended formation as a classical full orchestra and it has carried the name of Polish Chamber Philharmonic Sopot since then.

At the end of the 80s the orchestra gave about one hundred concerts every year especially in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, the USA, China, Japan, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, Great Britain and other countries. In 1987 the orchestra gave 33 concerts in the United States playing among others in J. F. Kennedy Centre in Washington and Metropolitan Museum in New York. It visited the US for the second time in 1999. The ensemble was also in Asia. (China – 1990 and Japan – 1997). The philharmonic has cooperated with the worldwide famous soloists such as Mscislaw Roztropowicz, Borys Pergamentschikow, Natalia Gutman, Irene Grafenauer, Sabine i Wolfgang Meyer, Guy Touvron, Misha Maisky, Raphael Oleg, Gil Shaham, David Geringas, Gary Karr and Ivo Pogorelić. The best Polish soloists cooperate continually with the orchestra in Poland and abroad.

The ensemble takes part in the most prestigious European festivals including Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rheingau Festival, Prague Spring, Weilburger Schlosskonzerte, Festival van Vlaanderen, La Chaise-Dieu and many others. Over 10 times the orchestra has attended the Musical Festival in Łańcut and at National Philharmonic in Warsaw for many times. In November 2010 the PCP gave 4 concerts during Chopin Festival in Geneva.

The Polish Chamber Philharmonic has recorded more than 60 CDs since the beginning. The first analogue long plays were recorded in 1983 for Wifon and Thorofon and since 1986 Philharmonic has recorded also for EMI, Midas, Claves, Sonomaster, Opus, Mediaphon, DUX and many others.

The recording of Piano Concerto in E minor of this CD is the first one recorded in versions for piano and strings orchestra.

After 15 years of waiting thanks to Sopot’s authorities’ and Baltic Artistic Agency BART’s efforts the Polish Chamber Philharmonic has lived to see its own seat located at the area of the Forest Opera in Sopot. The Polish Chamber Philharmonic is a cultural institution of The Pomeranian Voivodeship’s Local Government.

In 2012 the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Sopot celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Playeres of Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Sopot

I violin:
Paweł Kapica – constermaster
Anna Wieczerzak – sub-leader
Bożena Budzich
Anna Biadasz-Dolińska
Mirosław Kellner
Anna Strojek

II violin:
Jacek Koprowski – leader of the group
Adriana Zgajewska
Grażyna Kasprzyk-Głaszcz
Arkadiusz Połetek
Marta Wojtan

Violas:
Karol Jurewicz – leader of the group
Aneta Szybowicz
Marta Szyryńska-Krot
Bogusław Fuks

Cellos:
Alicja Leoniuk-Kit – leader of the group
Magdalena Miotke-Bajerska
Grażyna Michalec

Doublebass:
Sebastian Wyszyński

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