The annual Fryderyk Awards—Poland’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards in the US—were given in ten classical music categories at a gala evening held at the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra [NOSPR] Hall in Katowice. With its phenomenal acoustics, this new hall was a perfect setting for the March 8 ceremony. The Berlin Piano Trio and proMODERN vocal sextet (pictured above), as well as violinist Bartłomiej Nizioł and pianist Marek Bracha, were among the performers that night.

Two statuettes will remain in the Silesian region where the gala was held. The Fryderyk Award in the ‘Solo Recital – Album of the Year’ category went to singer and composer Agata Zubel, who calls Silesia home, and her collaborative pianist Krzysztof Książek, for their recording Apparition (CD Accord ACD263). In the ‘Choral Music of the Year’ category, the prized trophy went to Camerata Silesia, a vocal ensemble based in the City of Katowice.

The proMODERN vocal sextet was awarded the Fryderyk for ‘Contemporary Music – Album of the Year’ for their recording, Comfort Zone (DUX 1634). The Polish Radio Warsaw Orchestra and National Philharmonic Choir received the Fryderyk in the ‘Choral and Oratorio Music’ category for their album Karol Szymanowski: Hagith.

Alina Ratkowska received the Fryderyk in the ‘Period Music – Album of the Year’ category for her recording of music by Johann Gottlieb Goldberg (MDG 901 2061-6). Sonatas by Zygmunt Stojowski and Ludomir Różycki performed by Tomasz Strahl and Agnieszka Przemyk-Bryła (UMFC CD 117) were recognized with the Fryderyk Award for ‘Chamber Music – Album of the Year.’

Violinist Piotr Pławner and the Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra led by Paweł Przytocki received the Fryderyk for the recording Emil Młynarski: Violin Concertos (DUX 1606). The duet of pianist Rafał Blechacz and violinist Bomsori Kim were awarded the ‘Best Polish Album Abroad’ Fryderyk for their CD of music by Fauré, Debussy, Szymanowski and Chopin (Deutsche Grammophon 0289 483 6467 1).

The Fryderyk Gala Concert featured NOSPR led by Laurence Foster with soloists Ewa Tracz (soprano) and Szymon Komasa (baritone), who were nominees for their recording Polish Love Story.

The 2020 ‘Golden Fryderyk’ Award was given to the outstanding Polish violinist Krzysztof Jakowicz, who gave world premieres of all of Lutosławski’s violin works. The gala evening also included the presentation of the ‘ZAiKS Award’ to the best composer of the young generation, Mikołaj Majkusiak.

The gala ceremonies for the Fryderyk Awards in the categories of popular music, jazz, heavy metal and music video were to be held on March 14-15 at the International Congress Center in Katowice, however these ceremonies have been postponed until further notice due to health and safety concerns.

[Sources:; Photo: by Wojtek Dobrogojski]