Irena Santor

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Irena Santor
Order of Polonia Restituta
Gold Gloria Artis Medal
Irena Santor 2016.jpg
Irena Santor, 2016
Born Irena Wiśniewska
(1934-12-09) 9 December 1934 (age 83)
Papowo Biskupie, Poland
Occupation Singer, actress
Years active 1949–present
Parent(s) Bernard Wiśniewski (father)

Irena Wiśniewska-Santor (Polish pronunciation: [iˈrɛna sanˈtɔr]; born 9 December 1934), known profesionally as Irena Santor, is a Polish singer, musical performer and actress.

Her career started in 1950 and continues to this day. For her clear mezzo-soprano, she enjoys an iconic status in Poland and she is called as influence for younger generations singers. From 1951 to 1959 Irena Santor (then as Irena Wiśniewska) was a member and main soloist famous Polish folk group Mazowsze, whith whom she toured on all continents. After leaving group she decided to start solo performance. Repeatedly, she was rewarded many prizes in her country and abroad.

Irena Santor made her acting debut in Stanisław Bareja's film Przygoda z piosenką (1968). She appeared in many tv and radio shows, was part of jury some talent shows and diffrent song competitions. Legendar singer also recorded soundtracks to polish and soviet films.

In 2017, as first singer in Poland, she was awarded an honorary doctorate for her activities.

Early life and education[edit]

Irena Wiśniewska was born on 9 December 1934 in Papowo Biskupie in North Poland. Childhood she spent in Solec Kujawski, where her family moved in the mid-thirties of the twentieth century. She was daughter of Bernard Wiśniewski, who was murdered in the autumn of 1939 - a few weeks after beginning of the Second World War. Her mother was seamstress.

After war Irena's mother was failing in health. In 1948, Irena and her mother lived in Polanica-Zdrój, which is health resort town. Meanwhile, Irena attended to Gymnasium of Glass Decorating, and later to Vocational School of Glass Industry in Szczytna. Teachers discovered her vocal talent and at the end of the forties sent her to song competitions.


In 1950 she met Zdzisław Górzyński, prominent director of the Grand Theatre, Poznań, who visited Polanica-Zdrój. Górzyński was impressed her vocal and protected her to Tadeusz Sygietyński, who was creator and manager folk group Mazowsze. He organised casting and accepted Irena's candidacy but stipulated that she will take singing lessons under the direction opera singer Wanda Wermińska. She agreed. In this year died her mother, so Irena moved to the Karolin, where she graduated music school and she passed matura exam. Her classmate in this term was actress Lidia Korsakówna.

She was main soloist in folk group Mazowsze. With group she appeared in first color polish movie Przygoda na Mariensztacie (1953) and they recorded soundtrack to movie. In fifties band travelled around the world. After years Irena said that she concerts for Mao Zedong, which she regrets. At the same time she met her future husband, Stanisław Santor, who was violinist in Mazowsze. Her the most popular song from this period was Ej, przeleciał ptaszek - original folk song.

Irena Santor, after marriage with Stanisław Santor, left group and started solo career. She retired in late 90s, but she current appearience.

Private life[edit]

In 1958 she married with Stanisław Santor. The couple divorced after 19 years, but they've been in good contact to his death (1999).

Her current partner is Zbigniew Korpolewski, whom she met in the nineties of the twentieth century.



Title Year Role Notes
Przygoda na Mariensztacie 1953 member of Mazowsze she also dubbed main character played by Lidia Korsakówna and with group recorded soundtrack; movie directed by Leonard Buczkowski
Klub kawalerów 1962 - she dubbed character played by Lidia Korsakówna
Gangsterzy i filantropi - main music theme
Przygoda z piosenką 1968 Susanne Blanche Main cast, movie directed by Stanisław Bareja
M jak miłość 2007 Herself Polish soap opera, special guest in the 526 episode
Tylko nas dwoje 2010 Herself; Judge Polish version of Just the Two of Us

Awards and honors[edit]

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref
1962 Dookoła świata Best Singer Nominated [1]
1962 Express Wieczoru Best Singer Won [2]
1963 Express Wieczoru Best Singer Won [3]
1966 Polish Diaspora Award Singer of the Year Won [4]
1966 National Festival of Polish Song in Opole for the song Powrócisz tu Won [5]
1966 Sopot International Song Festival for the song Powrócisz tu Third [6]
1969 Złota Płyta for the album Piosenki stare jak świat Won [7]
1970 Złota Płyta for the album Zapamiętaj, że to ja Won [8]
1971 Złota Płyta for the album Wśród nocnej ciszy Won [9]
1973 Złota Płyta for the album Z tobą na zawsze Won [10]
1974 Silver Cross of Merit (Krzyż Zasługi) Won [11]
1976 Gold Cross of Merit (Krzyż Zasługi) Won [12]
1998 Krzyż Komandorski Orderu Odrodzenia Polski for outstanding services for Polish culture, for achievements in artistic work Won [13]
2007 Gold Fryderyk for achievements Won [14]
2008 Order of the Smile [15]
2013 Honorary citizen of Warsaw [16]


  1. ^ Second album titled singer's name.


  1. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  2. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  3. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  4. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  5. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  6. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  7. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  8. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  9. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  10. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  11. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  12. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  13. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  14. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  15. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 
  16. ^ "Irena Santor nagrody". Retrieved 2018-05-26. 

External links[edit]