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Jozef Kapustka

Coming to the large public attention with his "fantastic display of a virtuoso technique that few in the world could attempt to match" (Piano World Forum),
" a magnificent interpreter" (Le Figaro) Jozef Kapustka was born in Poland in 1969 and began his musical studies at the age of 3. Meeting Sviatoslav Richter shortly thereafter has set his vocation eversince. Upon graduating from the New York Juilliard School in 1992 with a straight A record ( Olga Samaroff Prize in Piano, Barbara Piasecka Johnson Foundation Award; piano with Jerome Lowenthal, chamber music with Joseph Fuchs, music history,literature and materials with Michael White and John Mueller, keyboard studies and improvisation with Baruch Arnon) he has completed a Postgraduate Advanced Studies diploma specialising in piano performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London (piano with Martin Roscoe, musicology with Amanda Glauert), having worked subsequently with Dmitri Baskirov in Madrid and Vera Gornostaeva in Moscow . Very early Kapustka started to appear in some of the world class premises such as New York Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center, New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Recital Hall ("magical,amazing experience" as seen in "The New York Times"), Abravanel Hall in Santa Barbara, California, Salle Cortot in Paris, United Nations on invitation from the Russian Federation permanent mission and has been featured on Voice of America International and New York classical radio WQXR live radio broadcasts ( "one of the most interesting radio programmings on the air"-New York Village Voice). Furthermore he has been featured on France Musique Classique and Europe1 broadcasts. A winner of 1991 New York Artists International Competition he has performed in almost every European country including the Russian Federation ; United States,South America and the near East. Seen in the press: ("what a talent! a true juke-box! ask the piece,he plays it"- Depeche du midi, "close to delirious" - Figaro, "great pianist keen on introspection, obsessed technician" - B.Hauptmann in Nurnberger Zeitung, " a particularly beautiful concert" - Christine Berbudeau for Radio France International ), "...a high voltage stuntman,inspired and talentuous" ,"highly entertaining playing" 20 minutes Europe,"..magnificent, extraordinary talent"- Virginie Lemoine with Olivier Bellamy on France's Musique Classique radio.
A highly respected American critic and writer, David Dubal ("Remembering Horowitz") has once called Kapustka a " great pianist who loves his art", leading American authority on Liszt playing Jerome Lowenthal "an excellent and very interesting artist" , Josef Raieff ( last pupil of Alexander Siloti who on his turn was Liszt student) " a man with million dollar hands", pianists Gyorgy Sandor and Oxana Yablonskaya respectively " true musical talent of an extraordinary potential " and " a very exciting and fully committed individual" . Valentine Smith of The Stratford Herald has hailed his "masterful rendering [of the Liszt piano concerto No.2 with the Leamington Sinfonia conducted by Jenny Barrie]" and his all-Chopin recital for the 2010 Chopin Year celebrations in France was a "cultural event of the year" : " a man, his piano and the magic begins" (Ouest-France) . Nominated for the most prestigious French theater award Molière 2010 of the best musical play ("Diva of Sarcelles" written and directed by Virginie Lemoine, with Brigitte Faure, Marie Chevalot, Smail Mekki).
In 2010 Jozef Kapustka has released a critically acclaimed "P.I.Tchaikovski : Romances" with soprano Irina Tiviane for Scythe Studio;( ...exquisite piano playing , a voice of infinite refinement, timelessly beautiful... recommended by Chronique Musicale, France) and "Jozef Kapustka and the Orquestra de Cordas da Grota conducted by Ubiratan Rodrigues play Bach live in Rio de Janeiro" (Otherwise Records, London) . In 2012 in collaboration with tonbak and santur virtuosos Pedram Khavarzamini and Bashir Faramarzi he has recorded his own oriental style improvisations (... outstanding talent and excellent quality recording, William Penn , University of Arizona Recordings). A keen champion of contemporary production he has played the music of Victor Yellin ( 1990 Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York), Anton Rovner (The Juilliard School, New York) Karol Szymanowski, Morton Feldman, Galina Ustvolskaya (Sorbonne 4 Amphitheater in Paris,France) and has been a soloist with the Three Valleys Symphony Orchestra (France) conducted by Jean Michel Henry in Jean Thierry Boisseau "Concertino for Piano and Trumpet" (solo trumpet: Richard Blanchet). As a collaborative pianist he has worked with opera singers Mzia Nioradze, Irina Tchistiakova, Mikhail Petrenko, Sergei Stilmachenko, Sergei Nakariakov (trumpet), David Galoustov (violin) and others.
Passionnate traveller he has played in such far away places like Tahiti, Hawaii, Spitsbergen, ancient Roman theaters in Col. Qaddafi's Libya... Jozef Kapustka lives in Paris.

Seen in the press:

...amazing, magical experience (The New York Times)



... ( a part of) some of the most interesting radio programming on the air ( TDK Select Guide, New York Village Voice)



Jozef Kapustka, ein großer, introvertvierkender Pianist mit enger Korperhaltung und trotzdem lockerem Spiel, machte mit Juliusz Zarebskis Polonaise in Fis-dur bekannt, die in der Tradition der
polnischen Salonmusik des 19. Jahrhunderts steht. Zarebski, der zum Liszt-Kreis gehört hat und den Borodin fuer einen ebenso begabten Pianisten wie Komponisten hielt, fordert vor allem Technik. Diese zeigte Kapustka auch reichlich, bei Zarebski wie in Karol Szymanowskis C-dur-Fantasie op.14, bei der sich Frage stellte, ob es überhaupt noch schneller geht und ob da die Musik nicht in die Gefahr der Vertechnisierung gerät.

(B. Breithaupt: "Vier Krakauer Temperamente - Auftakt zur Veranstaltungsreihe " Musik im 20. Jahrhundert", Nürnberger Zeitung)



For many the highlight of the evening was Liszt's Piano Concerto No 2 in A Major. The new Holy Trinity grand piano was expertly played by guest soloist Jozef Kapustka and with the [Leamington] Sinfonia providing accurate support, this was a real treat, the resulting ovation was heartfelt and deserved.

( V. Smith: No better way to spend a Saturday night, Stratford Herald)



Jozef Kaputska (sic!),magnifique intérprète... ( Armelle Heliot, Le Figaro)



Jozef Kapustka apporte un moment de grace... Devant une salle comble, consciente de vivre un moment exceptionnel, Jozef Kapustka à rendu hommage à F.Chopin (...) dont toute la France célèbre cette année la bicentenaire de sa naissance. (...) Quel honneur que de le recevoir pour quelques heures sur la scène du Quai des Arts...Un concert inoubliable , sans doute l'évènement de l'année... Un homme, un piano et la magie opère... (Ouest France)



Un certain mystère plane sur Joseph dont on connait bien peu de choses si ce n'est qu'il a du talent. Et quel talent, vivacité et dynamisme!.. Rien que de le trouver (...) c'est une garantie de qualité...

(Joseph Kaputska (sic!), pianist de talent , Dépéche du Midi)



L'excellent Jozef Kapustka (Virginie Lemoine on Skyrock)




A música clássica está mudando o destino de milhares de jovens carentes país afora. O fenômeno chamou a atenção de Heloísa Fischer, que edita a revista “VivaMúsica!”. O anuário deste ano traz um dossiê especial do fenômeno que ela batizou de Cidadania Sinfônica, com 92 projetos de “integração social por meio da prática orquestral” no Brasil. Orquestra de Cordas da Grota O grupo de Niterói foi fundado em 1995 por Márcio Selles e Lenora Mendes. Hoje conta com uma agenda regular de apresentações, inclusive internacionais, e tem CD gravado. Neste trecho do filme "Bach in Rio" (2010), eles tocam concerto de Bach com o pianista polonês Jozef Kapustka.

( O Globo, Bresil)

Jozef Kapustka on his joint recording project with Iranian virtuosos Pedram Khavarzamini and Bashir Faramarzi:

I have tried to create a completely personal universe : my own. It is a rather strange universe for I conveyed images, faces, sounds and scents utterly unfamiliar to many, with all of their mystery. I have been carrying them with me following my many trips to the Maghreb and the Middle East and they have been living in my memory ever since. They are as fragile as desert flowers under samūm and stay alive only as long as my memory lasts. I have also created the original musical language based on altered harmonic, melodic and diatonic scales, motives being exclusively woven around half-tones, tones and augmented tones diffused in a sort of quasi-scriabinesque aura with next to none quotation from the actual sources; all the music being entirely improvised. Although I have no pretention to be accademically correct neither in my approach nor in the way I have chosen my texture to evolve, I have consulted and have been greatly inspired by the landmark " Repertoire of Iraqi maqam" by Prof. Robert Simms of Toronto's York University. I am truly grateful to Jean Francois Zygel for his thoughful insight into the art of improvisation and a constructive criticism of my work. I am proud that Bashir Faramarzi, master santur and dotar player and Persian drum virtuoso Pedrâm Khâvarzamini have joined me on this journey. Many thanks to Sanaz Khosravi (Iran) for introducing me to her people and culture and Mireille Kassar (Lebanon) for her kindness.

Prof. Robert Simms , Toronto York University, Canada

As politicians and the mass media increasingly stoke the fires of aggressive
paranoia between the Western world and Middle East, the work of activists,
artists, and others who seek to emphasize our deep historical and human
connections above our differences play an important role in rebalancing toward
a healthier, more accurate perspective. Such is the case with the present
recording. The Persian santur featured here is a contemporary representative of
the ancient family of hammered dulcimers of West Asia that later evolved into
the piano in Europe. Concert pianist Jozef Kapustka specializes in the
repertoire of East European composers whose music made a huge impact in Western music history.
As Peter Van der Merwe demonstrates in his book "Roots of the Classical Music",
these composers hailed from and represented the ‘frontier’ of Western and Eastern worlds
and their music is imbued with crosscultural elements. Kapustka’s meditative solo piano
improvisations combine impeccable technique with santuresque stylings of brooding drones and crisp,
free-flowinglines full of interesting modal twists and developments that toggle between
musical worlds. The santur and piano duets--a wonderful family reunion--bring
musical worlds together with unison themes over driving rhythms and shifting
harmonic ground. As our world is directed toward seemingly inevitable conflict
from the top down, it’s reassuring to know that there is peaceful and
attractive resistance to this brutal agenda from the bottom up with artists
like Jozef Kapustka, venturing outside his usual pianistic territory with an
important message.

Kamal Kassar of AMAR ( Arab Music Archives and Research) Foundation, Lebanon:

... the right hand executes sort of taksim improvisations over a seductive left hand.
Definitely oriental in primary aspect, although not specifically Iraqi, the uninterrupted melodic flow reminds me of Indian raga. The whole concept is not entirely new: scores of oriental pianists tried to improvise on piano from the beginning of the 20th century and the Cairo conference on musicology in 1932 has definitely institutionalized the presence of piano in Arab music, the most recent to date I have heard being Antoine Zabita playing taksim and that is not to forget Arab musicians from the Americas.
What I like in Jozef Kapustka pieces is a mantra like, repetitive side, highly addictive the way certains works of Terry Riley or raga itself are, and this sentiment is amplified by a fabulous left hand fingerwork. They make me think of Keith Jarrett Köln concert or certain works of Gustavsen Trio.
Very interesting and beautiful.

Flavia Mounaji, singer ( Morocco / Switzerland):

It is stripped of all superficiality, profound. It appears out of nowhere and takes you very far with infinite tenderness, wrapped in a totally fluid and incredibly powerful movement.
I love it !

Robert LaPorta, (MSR Classics), former Director of Classics at the Angel-EMI-Virgin Classics-Blue Note label group, Marketing and Production Manager with London-Decca Records, Deutsche Grammophon and Philips Classics of the PolyGram label group and Publicity and Contracts Associate at ICM Artists management in New York, member of Grammy's Classical Commitee (USA):

I watched and I listened, and I was fascinated ...


William Penn, University of Arizona Recordings (USA):

Outstanding talent and a recording of excellent quality