Jacek Urbaniak was born in Warsaw in 1949. He attended his first oboe and recorders classes in Warsaw, under Józef Tadeusz Klukowski and later on he continued his musical studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, under prof. Alf Nilson (1974). Jacek Urbaniak worked as an oboist in The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo (1973–1974), The Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra (1975–1985) and the Warsaw Chamber Opera (1986). In 1981 he became the director of Ars Nova ensemble, for which he has been preparing the whole of the repertoire, concert tours, recordings and he has also led the concerts. Under his guidance Ars Nova has played in all of the philharmonic halls in Poland, in the Royal Castle in Warsaw and Cracow and on many important festivals: Wratislavia Cantans, Warszawska Jesień (Warsaw Autumn), Europalia 2001, Holland Festival in Utrecht, Musikfestspiele in Dresden, Musicora in Paris. The ensemble was also invited to Berlin, Budapest, Moscow, Glasgow and the other places around the world (Holland, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, Korea).
Jacek Urbaniak is engaged in many different activities, namely he: prepares compositions from the Middle Ages and Renaissance for performers (especially early Polish music), recomposes Polish folk music from Kurpie and Mazovia regions, composes, performs on early instruments (recorders, bombards, cornamuses, oboe, pipes), conducts rehearsals and concerts, records CDs, teaches early music ensembles, writes radio programmes and articles about music, publishes notes, organizes recording sessions, concerts, festivals, competitions (many a time he was a member of jury).
Among the most significant awards that Jacek Urbaniak was given, there is an award of the Polish Radio for his ‘reaching to the very sources of the polish culture and breaking the boundaries between tradition and contemporary times’. He was also nominated to, so called, Passport of the ‘Polityka’ magazine for his achievements in the years 1995 and 1996. One of the recordings of Ars Nova received a prestigious polish prize FRYDERYK’96. In June 2010 Jacek Urbaniak was nominated to the Cyprian Kamil Norwid prize in Art of the Mazovian Voivodeship for the first recording of the works with the texts by Sebastian Klonowic. For preparing and recording the complete works of Cyprian Bazylik he received the prize of the Łódź Voivodeship.
Jacek Urbaniak cooperated as a composer with stage and film directors (Mariusz Grzegorzek — ‘Ars Nova’; Marcin Jarnuszkiewicz — ‘Niebieski Ptak’, ‘Infantka’; Piotr Tomaszuk — ‘O medyku Feliksie’; Filip Zylber — ‘Nocą siedzę przed sobą’; Aleksandra Domańska — ‘Karnawał dziadowski’; Barbara Borys—Damięcka — ‘To i owo o zwierzętach’; Bolesław Pawica — ‘Dotyk’; Adam Sikora — ‘Hildegarda z Bingen’; Marek Sikora — ‘Czerwone pantofelki’; Hanna Chojnacka — ‘Ludus Danielis’; Roman Woźniak — ‘Kalwaria’; Jan Skotnicki — ‘Historya o chwalebnym zmartwychwstaniu Pańskim’; Kazimierz Dejmek — ‘Dialogus de Passione’). He composed or arranged music for theatre, Television Theatre and film. Moreover, Jacek Urbaniak prepared the programs for and gave concerts with famous, polish actors and singers: Zofia Rysiówna (Varsaviana), Andrzej Hiolski (Songs by Fryderyk Chopin and Stanisław Moniuszko), Zofia Kucówna (music with poems by Jan Kochanowski), Wojciech Siemion (Old Polish passion songs), Gustaw Holoubek (‘O żywocie ludzkim’ [‘About the human life’] — Jan Kochanowski), Krzysztof Wakuliński (‘Bajki’ [‘Fables’] by Ignacy Krasicki), Jerzy Zelnik (Renaissance Songs and Poetry), Teresa Budzisz-Krzyżanowska (‘Jezusa Judasz przedał’ [‘Judas betrayd Jesus’], ‘Rzecz o Hildegardzie’ [‘About Hildegard’]), Łucja Prus (Old Polish Carols, Songs with texts by Wisława Szymborska), Jerzy Artysz (Minnesang songs), Jadwiga Rappe (songs by Fryderyk Chopin and Tadeusz Baird), Dariusz Paradowski (songs by Krzysztof Klabon), Jacek Kaczmarski (‘Między nami’ – ‘Among us’ CD).
From 1993 to 1996 he led about 100 radio programs in the cycle ‘The Meetings with Early Music’ (‘Spotkania z muzyką dawną’) on the Polish Radio Channel 2. He received the scholarship of the Ministry of Culture twice, in 1999 and 2002. He directed also the first performances of contemporary composition written for early instruments. Among the composers, who had written these works were: Edward Sielicki, Krzysztof Knittel, Piotr Moss, Jan Fotek, Zbigniew Wiszniewski, Rafał Augustyn, Rafał Stradomski, Bernardetta Matuszczak, Krzysztof Baculewski, Krzysztof Owczynik, Paweł Mykietyn, Paweł Szymański. Jacek Urbaniak has published 25 CDs and numerous note editions.
Since 1992 Jacek Urbaniak has been cooperating with an outstanding folk singer – Apolonia Nowak, who knows immediately from the sources the orally transmitted tradition of songs from Kurpie region (wedding and, so called, forest songs). This music inspired Jacek Urbaniak to recompose the songs and arrange them for a chamber ensemble. The recordings of these songs were awarded on the phonographic festival in Beijing in 1995 and inaugurated the opening ceremony of the Radio Centre for Folklore (Radiowe Centrum Kultury Ludowej) in 1994.
As a solist Jacek Urbaniak played with the Zespół Polski ensemble directed by Maria Pomianowska, with whom he had concert tour to Algeria and Japan. He also recorded recorder solo parts to the numerous film sound tracks by: Krzesimir Dębski (‘Ogniem i mieczem’), Sebastian Krajewski (‘M jak miłość’), Bartłomiej Gliniak (‘Enduro Bojz’), Antoni Łazarkiewicz (‘Na koniec świata’), Jan P. Kaczmarek (‘Quo Vadis’, ‘Kto nigdy nie żył…’), Stanisław Syrewicz (‘The Choir’, ‘Un Trop Broniente Solitude’, ‘True Blue’, ‘In the Company of Whales’), Wojciech Kilar (‘Pan Tadeusz’).
Jacek Urbaniak is one of the founders of the Polish Society of Early Music in Cracow, he is the head of the Early Music Festival, which takes place on the Royal Castle in Warsaw. He was awarded with: Gloria Artis, Krzyż Zasługi (Cross of Merit), Zasłużony dla Kultury Polskiej (Merited for Polish Culture), Medal Kurpiowski (The Kurpie Medal), Zasłużony dla Warszawy (Merited for Warsaw).
Guitar, lute, viola da gamba
He studied classical guitar at the Academy of Music in Łódź, under prof. Aleksander Kowalczyk (graduated with honors in 1976) and viola da gamba at the Dresdner Akademie für Alte Musik under Jaap ter Linden. Marcin Zalewski is the director of the Canor Anticus ensemble and a member of the two other ensembles: Ars Nova and Il Tempo. He published the first polish CD with lute music, for which he was awarded the prize FRYDERYK 2003. Furthermore, he participated in recording 4 LPs and 44 CDs, 13 of them were nominated and 4 of them received the phonographic prize FRYDERYK..
Marcin Zalewski is a professor at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, he has been leading the class of classical guitar there since 1976. In 2002 he grounded the viola da gamba class at the Academy of Music in Cracow. His students received many prizes and commendations in the most significant guitar competitions in Poland and abroad.
Marcin Zalewski has given numerous lectures, master classes, he has taken part in conferences, festivals, he has been a member or chairman of jury in over 60 local and international guitar competitions.
As he was seven Krzysztof Owczynik was singing in the boys choir ‘Lutnia’ in Warsaw which was his first music experience. He graduated from the the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw (presently The Fryderyk Chopin University of Music) at the Faculty of Music Education, where he possessed a broad range of skills, such as conducting, composing, playing recorder, clarinet, piano, teaching music and obtained a deep knowledge in theory of music. Since 1988 he has been playing recorder, singing and composing for Ars Nova. With this ensemble he has given concerts in the whole of Europe and he recorded CDs and for the Radio. He performed solo parts in the Warsaw Chamber Opera and the National Opera in Warsaw, for instance in the opera ‘The Black Masque’ by Krzysztof Penderecki. Krzysztof Owczynik plays also contemporary works for a recorder.
In 1999 he founded a publishing house and music company ‘Travers’ that publishes works by modern composers. He also composes himself, writing mainly for piano, choir and chamber ensembles. For his composition ‘Cradle Song’ he received the ‘Kamerton’ prize in the Spazi Sonori competition that took place in Italy. On request of the famous polish singer – Andrzej Hiolski – he arranged polish carols, songs by Fryderyk Chopin and Stanisław Moniuszko for a voice and an instrumental ensemble. Furthermore, he composed music basing on the melodies collected by Oskar Kolberg.
violin, vielle, conductor
In 1979 Joanna Nogal graduated from the State High School of Music in Warsaw (presently The Fryderyk Chopin University of Music), at the Faculty of Music Education. After her studies she taught violin in the State Music School in Namysłowska Street in Warsaw. At first she was mainly interested in popular repertoire. She worked in the Middle East, France, Finland, USA, playing popular standards on violin. Joanna Nogal worked, among others, with Juliusz Skowroński (clarinet, saxophone) and Janusz Popławski (guitar). Since the 1st October 1991 she has been a member of Ars Nova and has played a vielle. With this ensemble she has given many concerts at home and abroad, she has taken part in recording CDs and music for TV and the radio.
She cooperates with Zespół Polski ensemble directed by Maria Pomianowska and the Orchestra of the Golden Age (Orkiestra Złotego Wieku). Joanna Nogal teaches on music and music therapy classes in the Combatant House in Warsaw. Since 2000 she has been a member of the Polish Early Music Society – Warsaw department, being a treasurer. Besides Joanna Nogal coorganized the Early Music Festival at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Paweł Zalewski plays viola da gamba. He studied under Marcin Zalewski, Peter Wagner and Kazimierz Pyzik and continued his education on master classes and individual lessons with: M. Caudle, B. Hoffman, J. ter Linden, J. Manson, J. Meder, P. Pandolfo. He works with many ensembles of early music (among the others: Canor Anticus, Ars Cantus, Capella Cracoviensis, Concerto Pollacco, Narol Baroque, The Orchestra of the Golden Age [Orkiestra Złotego Wieku], Sabionetta), with which he has given numerous concerts and taken part in festivals both at home and abroad (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany). He participated in recording four CDs with early music. Apart from playing viola da gamba, Paweł Zalewski is interested in the other musical activities. For instance, he has recently recorded two CDs with popular music (playing guitar, viola da gamba, singing and composing) and wrote music for a documentary film and advert.