Adam Makowicz, photo by Atael Weissman
|Birth name||Adam Matyszkowicz|
|Born||August 18, 1940|
|Genres||Jazz, classical piano|
Adam Makowicz (born Adam Matyszkowicz; August 18, 1940) is a Polish pianist and composer living in Toronto. He performs jazz and classical piano pieces, as well as his own compositions. Besides playing solo, he has worked with such musicians as Michał Urbaniak, Tomasz Stanko and Leszek Możdżer, as well as with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC, at the Kennedy Centre, at the Carnegie Hall, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, and other major orchestras at concert halls in Americas and in Europe. His technical skills as jazz pianist have been compared to that of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Erroll Garner among others. His specialty in classical piano since his studies in the 1950s has been the music of Chopin.
Adam Makowicz was born into a family of ethnic Poles in Hnojník (now in the Czech Republic), in an area annexed by Nazi Germany at the beginning of World War II (see also: Polish minority in Czechoslovakia). After the war, he was raised in Poland. He studied classical music at the Chopin Conservatory of Music in Kraków. Overcoming cultural restrictions under communism, he developed a passion for modern jazz. At the time, political freedom and improvisation were disapproved of by the pro-Soviet authorities. Nonetheless, he embarked on a new professional life by switching from the career of a classical pianist to that of a touring jazz pianist. After years of hardship, Makowicz got a regular gig at a small jazz club in a cellar of a house in Kraków. By the mid-1970s, Makowicz established himself as one of the leading pianists in Europe. He was named the "Best jazz pianist" by the readers of Jazz Forum magazine, and was awarded a gold medal for his contribution to the arts.
In 1977 Makowicz made a 10-week concert tour of the United States, produced by John Hammond. At that time he recorded a solo album titled Adam on CBS. In 1978 he settled in New York. Makowicz was banned from Poland during the 1980s after the Polish regime imposed martial law to crush the Solidarity movement. At that time he took part in Ronald Reagan's initiative called "Let Poland Be Poland", joining many artists and public figures.
During the 2000s, he moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and continued his career as a concert pianist and recording artist. In the course of his career spanning 40 years, Makowicz performed with major symphony orchestras, such as the National Symphony Orchestra, at the Carnegie Hall, at the Kennedy Centre, and other major concert halls in Americas and in Europe. Eventually he recorded over 30 albums of jazz, popular, and classical music, with his own arrangements of pieces by Chopin, Gershwin, Berlin, Kern, Porter, Rogers, and other composers. Makowicz also wrote and recorded his own compositions for piano.
Makowicz has been building bridges between cultures by his numerous concerts performance and recordings of cross-cultural and cross-style compositions. He performed and recorded music by Chopin and Gershwin with the Warsaw Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony in Washington, London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and other internationally recognized companies. In 1999, in commemoration of 150th anniversary of Chopin's death, Adam Makowicz played his piano tribute to Chopin at the French embassy in Washington. His interpretations of classical pieces by Chopin and Gershwin are marked by finesse, inventiveness, and extraordinary technical virtuosity.
- Bösendorfer pianos - some live performances in the 1990s and 2000s, some recordings
- Steinway & Sons pianos - most stage performances with symphony orchestras, and solo from 1950s through the 2000s, some recordings
- Baldwin pianos - some performances in the USA
- C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik pianos - live performances and some recordings in Europe
- Bluthner pianos - some performances in Europe
- Fazioli pianos - some performances
- Rhodes electric piano - live recording in Europe
- Yamaha pianos - some performances and studio recordings
- 1972 Newborn Light (Cameo) with Urszula Dudziak
- 1973 Unit (Muza)
- 1975 Live Embers (Muza)
- 1977 Piano Vista Unlimited (Helicon)
- 1978 Adam (Columbia)
- 1978 Winter Flowers (Supraphon)
- 1981 From My Window (Choice Records)
- 1982 Classic Jazz Duets (Stash Records) with George Mraz
- 1983 The Name Is Makowicz Live (Sheffield Lab)
- 1986 Moonray (RCA)
- 1987 Naughty Baby (RCA)
- 1987 Interface (Sonet)
- 1989 Swiss Encounter (East-West) with James Morrison
- 1992 Plays Irving Berlin (VWC Records)
- 1993 The Music Of Jerome Kern (Concord)
- 1993 Adam Makowicz at Maybeck (Concord)
- 1994 Concord Duo Series Vol. 5 (Concord)
- 1994 My Favorite Things: The Music of Richard Rodgers (Concord)
- 1997 A Tribute To Art Tatum (VWC Records)
- 1998 Gershwin (Agencja)
- 2000 Reflections On Chopin (AM Records)
- 2000 Plays Duke Ellington (Showcase Records)
- 2003 Songs For Manhattan (AM Records)
- 2004 At The Carnegie Hall (Pomaton EMI) with Leszek Mozdzer
- 2005 From My Field (AM Records)
- 2007 Indigo Bliss (Universal Music)
- Info: the 2007 Jazz Lives Concert held in Toronto, May 3, 2007. Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Richard Cook, Jazz Encyclopedia. London 2007 ISBN 978-0-14-102646-6
- Hnojník (Gnojnik) village lies in Zaolzie. This territory, which belonged from 1920 to Czechoslovakia, was annexed in 1938 by Poland, and after the 1939 German Invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. After World War II it became again a part of Czechoslovakia.
- Piano Art Management Inc Archived June 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Adam Makowicz biography Archived February 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.