The Grand Final of the II International Mieczyslaw Karlowicz Composers’ Competition

Grand Final
Grand Final

The compositions chosen for the final concert had been performed by the orchestra of the Philharmonic conducted by Szymon Bywalec. After careful consideration, the jury consisting of Tomàs Peire-Serrate (chairman), Dorota Serwa, Szymon Bywalec, David Robert Coleman, Dariusz Przybylski (jurors), and Anna Maria Huszcza (secretary without voting right) decided to award its First Prize (worth 15 000 euro) to Michał Ziółkowski for his work Akhlys. Second Prize (11 000 euro) went to Piotr Tabakiernik for bright… holy… mad…, while Third Prize (7 000 euro) received Krystian Neścior for Tissage de l'infini. Two Honourable Mentions (3 500 euro each) were presented to Aleksandra Chmielewska for Visions Oniriques and to Mateusz Ryczek for From the Slavic Legends

Additionally, the Orchestra Award and the Audience Award were also granted. The first one went to Mateusz Ryczek, the second to Michał Ziółkowski for his work Akhlys.


“After listening to the live performance of the final five compositions under consideration, the jury would like to express our sincere appreciation of the quality of the works presented."


The jury had to consider 106 works submitted by composers coming from nations as varied as America, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czechia, France, Georgia, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and the UK.

“After listening to the live performance of the final five compositions under consideration, the jury would like to express our sincere appreciation of the quality of the works presented. These were five exciting and innovative compositions, rich in detail and demonstrative of the advanced level of orchestral writing and artistic sensitivity of their composers. The fantastic performance given by the Szczecin Philharmonic led by maestro Szymon Bywalec made the jury’s task even more difficult. It is quite clear that the future of orchestral repertoire surely is and will be enriched by the talent of such an outstanding generation of young composers. The initiative taken by the Mieczyslaw Karlowicz International Composers’ Competition, with its mission to encourage creativity, has proven to be successful. We hope the competition will thrive in the coming years, contributing to the discovery of new music and helping to establish the careers of emerging composers” – said chairman of the jury Tomàs Peire Serrate. 


Participants of the competition’s final:

Aleksandra Chmielewska, born in Warsaw (1993), is a Polish composer of the young generation. She graduated in composition at the Fryderyk Chopin Music University in Warsaw. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. She was a chairwoman of the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers Union.

She creates orchestral, chamber and choral music that has been performed in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, Slovenia, the USA, Hungary, Austria, India by such musicians as the Lviv Symphony Orchestra, the Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra, the Leopoldinum Orchestra, the National Forum of Music Choir, the Vogler Quartet, the E-MEX Ensemble, the Polish Chamber Choir and many others.

Since she also studied art history, she is particularly interested in the connections between music and visual arts. This is why her compositions are often program music. Currently, she is working on her Ph.D. dissertation – an opera about the life of Frida Kahlo.

Aleksandra Chmielewska is also a writer. In 2014, her debut novel Uczeń Czarnoksiężnika was released. She also created a radio play for children Tam gdzie mieszka cisza, which received numerous awards in Poland.

Her music was released by such labels as NFM Recordings, Dux, or the Chopin University Press.


Krystian Neścior is a composer born in Olsztyn (1992). In 2021, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree with distinction from the composition class of professor Anna Zawadzka-Gołosz and the opera singing class of professor Zdzisław Madej at the Krzysztof Penderecki Academy of Music in Cracow. Currently, he is continuing his Master’s studies at his alma mater.

He discovered his passion for composing music in the classical guitar class at the Frederic Chopin State Primary and Secondary Music School in Olsztyn. In 2018, he graduated with honours from the classical singing class at the Władysław Żeleński State Secondary Music School in Cracow.

He has won numerous awards at national and international composition competitions. In 2019, he was awarded 2nd prize at the Krzysztof Penderecki 5th National Composition Competition for his composition Nello sfondo della vita for marimba and string orchestra. In 2020, he won 2nd prize for Resonance Weather for chamber ensemble at the Young Musicians for the Young City 2.0 Composition Competition in Stalowa Wola. Furthermore, in 2021 he received the 3rd prize for Pezzetti di nebbia for symphony orchestra at the 27th International Composing Competition “2 Agosto” and the 1st award at the Krzysztof Penderecki 6th Composers’ Competition for his composition L'entourage de silence for string orchestra. In 2022, he was awarded the Main Prize at the 5th Krzysztof Penderecki International Competition for Young Composers for his composition Palimpsest for string orchestra. Last year, he was also awarded a scholarship under the COMPOSER.PL program for young Polish composers, funded by Agata Zubel and Michał Moc.


Mateusz Ryczek is a composer born in 1986. In 2011, he graduated with distinction from master’s studies at the Academy of Music in Wrocław under Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil (composition), Cezary Duchnowski (computer composition) and Zbigniew Karnecki (theatre and film music). In 2019, he obtained the doctor of musical arts degree (doctoral dissertation entitled “Emergency of Frequential Algorithms Based on the Cello Concerto PHANTOMS”).

He has won many composers’ competitions (including Crescendo in Tarnow – 1st prize, 2004; double bass’ composers’ competition at the world Word Bass Festival – 1st prize, 2008; Fides et Ratio – 3rd prize, 2009; Composer's Concert of the Year 2011, 2nd prize; XVI MERIDIAN International Festival Competition in 2020). He was a holder of the scholarship of the Minister of Culture and the scholarship of the Marshal of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. In 2018, he received a prize from the President of Wrocław for his activity as a composer, which combines artistic work with the promotion of contemporary music.

The works of Mateusz Ryczek have frequently been performed in Poland and abroad (Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Belarus, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Cuba, the USA), also at festivals such as Warsaw Autumn (concerts of the PCU Youth Circle), Musica Polonica Nova, Musica Electronica Nova, Poznan Musical Spring, Dialogues Festival (Mińsk), World Music Days 2014. Kyiv Contemporary Music Days.

He participated in projects such as: Missa Solemnis, Factory of sound, Hallo Wrocław 2016! (Polish-German cooperation), Flexible Orchestra (as the only non-US person), or Music Masters on Air, during which his grand piano composition “Subgłębia nocy” was performed at festivals in 6 European countries.

As a composer, he took part in many educational projects for children and youths, including “Góra-dół – być jak Karłowicz” (commissioned by the Szczecin Philharmonic), “Tutting” (initiator and artistic director, Musica Electronica Nova 2017), “Step by step” (artistic installation, sound design for the tower of St. Mary Magdalene’s Church in Wrocław and the Witches’ Bridge), or “U prząśniczki siedzą, i...” (for the Year of Stanisław Moniuszko).

He also participated in composition courses such as Ostrava Days and Composer Collider with Ensemble MusikFabrik. 2006-2011. Mateusz Ryczek created music for many theatre plays and the film “Lag Island” directed by Tomek Tryzna. In the years 2006-2011, he was an active member of the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers’ Union, and presently he is member of Polish Composers’ Union, holding the position of the Chairman of the Wrocław branch.

In 2013, his monographic LP “PLANETONY” was published by For Tune Publishing House. December 2021 marked the premiere of his second monographic LP “Cello works” published by DUX.

Piotr Tabakiernik, born in 1986, graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. As an artist, he consistently strives to reconcile two tendencies that incessantly come to the fore in his music: a constant search for new means of expression, the exploration of sound, microtonal harmonies, the performative character and crossing the boundaries of different genres, and simultaneously an attachment to tradition, looking back to music history, old performance techniques, the rhetoric and musical languages of past eras. With equal earnestness (and joy), he builds combinatorial labyrinths of postspectral harmonies and constructs Gombert-style motets. The type of music—and spirituality—that attracts him most is the ocean of Gregorian chant concealed under the guise of inconspicuous monophonic song. He plunges into this ocean, taking care to follow the gentle precepts of the classical method of Solesmes.

Michał Ziółkowski is a composer, pianist and arranger born in Zakopane (1991) and currently based in Wrocław. He has been passionate about music since the age of 15 when he discovered the magic of piano music. His first compositions were written during high school where his talent was first noticed. Michał graduated from the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław where he studied composition under professor Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil. For the last 4 years, he has been working with choral master Małgorzata Podzielny, the Rondo Vocal Ensemble and the Con Brio Children’s Choir writing choral and orchestral music. Many of his works have been performed at the National Forum of Music in Wrocław. In his music he mainly focuses on subtle harmonies, the clarity of form and vivid instrumentation. Michał’s biggest musical influences include Claude Debussy, Philip Glass, Jóhann Jóhannson, John Williams, Danny Elfman, Björk Guðmundsdóttir, Gustav Holst, minimal music, ambient and sonorism. He has been engaged in scientific and educational work as a lecturer at the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław. He is also the winner of many composers’ competitions, including the 4th International Composers’ Competition “Arboretum” (1st prize), 3rd Krzysztof Penderecki’s Composers’ Competition in Sopot (2nd prize ex-aequo), the 10th and 11th International Composers’ Competition “Musica Sacra”. (1st and 3rd prize respectively), the 15th Tadeusz Ochlewski Composers’ Competition (2nd prize ex-aequo) and 1st prize at the Busan Choral Festival and Competition in South Korea (1st prize). His Agnus Dei for a capella choir was published by Schott Music and performed in Cambridge by the Choir of Trinity College and Stephen Layton. He has also written theatrical music (Journey into the Room directed by Agnieszka Nasierowska, Tchórzofretka directed by Marta Streker; Wyniosła directed by Bożena Klimczak) and film music (Fala ‘97 directed by Tomasz Musiał). His music has been widely performed in Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Sweden, England, South Korea, Turkey and the USA.

#Results and Grand Final
#II International Mieczyslaw Karlowicz Composers’ Competition