TOMASZ JAKUB OPAŁKA, composer
„All the signs point to the emergence of one of new music’s most creative and distinctive voices in a long while” - The Gramophone, about Tomasz Jakub Opałka’s music.
Tomasz Jakub Opałka (born 1983, Poland) is considered as one of the most original composers of his generation, and yet one of the few young artists with such extensive experience in writing orchestral music. After completing studies at The Chopin University of Music in Warsaw/Poland, he went to Los Angeles, where he gained experience in film music, cooperating with some of the top LA composers. He quickly established his name in the world of concert music working with the most important orchestras and soloists in Poland and abroad, such as: Arditti Quartet, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, The New Music Orchestra, Deutsche Oper Berlin, etc. His music was performed in The USA, Mexico, Argentina, South Korea, Germany, Slovakia, China, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and others. Opałka is also an experienced music producer, working with diverse electronic tools and virtual instruments. He teaches film music composition and orchestration at The Chopin University of Music in Warsaw.
Vibrant narration, extraordinary sense of musical color, sophisticated orchestration ideas, and explorations in harmony (DNA – scales inspired by the genetic code; Event Horizon – quartertone harmony, etc.) create unique sound, atmosphere and structure of Opałka’s music. The composer combines diverse influences and inspirations, yet he very strongly cut himself from both, conceptualism or postmodernism. He is declared opponent of pre-compositional concepts, if created just for themselves, deprived of the real basis in essence and substance of the piece. His daring explorations are going far beyond theoretical trends. The main foundation is the creative intuition, combined with confident composing technique, care for structure, form, and narration of the composition. In 2017 Warner Classics released album EMERGE containing Opalka’s four orchestral works.
Scholarships and awards
Opałka won several times prestigious scholarship of The Minister of Culture and National Heritage as well as few other scholarships. He is also a laureate of multiple competitions for composers. Between 2006-11 he studied composition under prof. Krzysztof Baculewski at The Frideric Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. In 2013 he got his DMA in Composition. After graduation from the University he was developing his skills in composition and orchestration in Los Angeles, working with the leading film music composers, such as Christopher Young and Marco Beltrami. Since 2012 he is dividing his activity on the field of both, concert and film music between Warsaw and Los Angeles. In 2019 he gained his post-doctoral degree.
He won multiple prizes. In 2010 the jury of Wawel: Musica Festiva chaired by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki awarded Opałka 1st Prize for his Spaces for large symphonic orchestra. Furthermore, young artist is a laureate of International Alexander Moyzes Competition in Bratilsava (2006, Visions of Perfect Shapes), Karol Szymanowski Competition in Warsaw (2007, Quadra), Grzegorz Fitelberg Competition in Katowice (2007, Epiderma). In 2008 he won 1st Prize at Polish National Television’s competition for young artists Creative Valley, and in 2009 his Event Horizon Symphony was awarded at the International Grażyna Bacewicz Competition. The same year he got to the finals of Tadeusz Baird Competition (Trans-Ist-One), and in 2012 to the finals of Transatlantyk Film Music Competition. In 2014 he received Best Music for Film Award on Be There! festival in Greece.
The composer participated in several composition courses and master classes, learning from, and consulting his works with such artists, like: John Corigliano, Michael Nyman, Adriana Holszky, Christopher Young, Peter Golub, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Richard Bellis, Robert Elhai, Daniel Carlin and Dennis Sands.
His compositions were performed during various festivals and concerts worldwide. He cooperated with such orchestras, as: The Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra under Krzysztof Słowiński, The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice under Michał Klauza, The Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra under Łukasz Borowicz, Wojciech Michniewski, Szymon Bywalec, The New Music Orchestra under Szymon Bywalec, Gorzow Philharmonic under Monika Wolińska, Waldemar Groń, Zygmunt Rychert, Oskar Kolberg Philharmonic in Kielce under Jacek Rogala, Mieczysław Gawroński, Lviv Virtuoso Orchestra under Roman Rewakowicz, The National Orchestra of Ukraine under Roman Rewakowicz, Sinfonietta Cracovia under Jurek Dybal, Slovak Radio Orchestra under Daniel Gazon, Chain Chamber Orchestra (Warsaw Philharmonic Artists) under Wojciech Michniewski, ensembles: Deutsche Oper Berlin chamber group, Scontri Ensemble, Cracow Duo, ProModern, and soloists: Janusz Wawrowski, Maciej Frąckiewicz, Bartłomiej Duś, Jadwiga Czarkowska, Leszek Lorent and others.
His works were commissioned by such institutions, as: Deutsche Oper Berlin, Polish Royal Opera, Calgary Philharmonic/Morningside Music Bridge, The Witold Lutosławski Society, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Polish Composers’ Union, The Royal Castle in Warsaw, The New Music Orchestra, etc. In 2013/14 Opałka was a composer-in-residence at The Gorzów Philharmonic.
TOMASZ JAKUB OPAŁKA, composer