Interview with the cellist Alicja Kozak, winner of the First Prize at the 10th Michał Spisak International Music Competition, by Regina Gowarzewska
The results of the Spisak competition were announced and …
Shock and disbelief! In the final I did not feel like a strong competitor. I did not think I would go that far, so I was concentrating on the programme of the first two stages. In the third stage I chose Haydn Cello Concerto, an extremely demanding piece. It is such a technically and interpretative difficult position that it is never fully perfect, no matter how long it has been practiced.
So why did you chose Haydn, since there were still Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme?
I have played Haydn before, hence I decided not to start something new. I did not play it with the orchestra, but with a string quintet. Before entering the competition stage, I thought that it would be better to choose Tchaikovsky, as all the other finalists.
Was this your first working experience with the orchestra?
Yes! This is a wonderful feeling! The fulfillment of dreams of a young musician to stand before the orchestra as a soloist. To prove own abilities in such a performance, not just with the piano, as practiced throughout the learning years.
What was the most difficult in the Spisak competition?
Theoretically, it seems that the programme of this competition is standard, especially the first stage. But really, the songs are very demanding. It is most difficult to maintain equal form through all stages.
Do you already know what you are going to do with the competition financial prize?
Of course I know. I am going to buy a good bow!
Student of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. She participated in many music competitions, both solo and in chamber ensembles, awarded, among others, in the 14th Festival of Young Instrumentalists – 3rd place (Kraków, 2007), International Competition “Talents for Europe” – 2nd place in the chamber ensemble category (Dolny Kubin, Slovakia 2009) and 3rd place (2010), International Contemporary Music of Children and Youth “Srebrna Szybka” (Krakow, 2011) – 1st place, Zdzisława Wojciechowska Polish Cello Confrontations (Bydgoszcz, 2012) – 2nd place, Juliusz Zarębski International Contest (Łomianki / Izabelin, 2012) – 1st place in the chamber ensemble category, 3rd Polish Cello and Double Bass Competition – 2nd place (Warsaw, 2014), 1st Concurso Internacional De Musica Agustin Aponte – 2nd place (Spain, 2016). She has improved her skills on many international music courses. In the years 2014-2015 as a member of the international orchestra Baltic Youth Philharmonic she has had the opportunity to perform at festivals in the largest halls of Europe. In 2016, she participated in the project Santander Orchestra, an orchestra composed of the most talented students of Polish music academies.