Professor Ryszard Zimak, DMus Hab.

In 1971 he grad­u­at­ed with hon­ours from the State High­er School of Music, Depart­ment of Music Edu­ca­tion. He stud­ied Choir Con­duct­ing under Pro­fes­sor Józef Bok, at the same time he devel­oped his vio­lin play­ing skills under Pro­fes­sor Zenon Brzews­ki.

After grad­u­a­tion he was con­nect­ed with his par­ent uni­ver­si­ty as an aca­d­e­m­ic teacher. First he worked free­lance hours, after a year he start­ed work­ing full time. He went through all stages of aca­d­e­m­ic pro­mo­tions. In 1997 he obtained the post of Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor, and in 1983 he became a full-time Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor. In 1992, as a result of a pro­ce­dure car­ried out at the I.J. Paderews­ki Acad­e­my of Music in Poz­nań, the title of Pro­fes­sor in Music was con­ferred on him by Pres­i­dent of Poland Lech Wałęsa. Cur­rent­ly, as Full Pro­fes­sor in Music, he has run the class of choir con­duct­ing, vocal ensem­bles, and he has giv­en lec­tures in method­ics of con­duct­ing vocal ensem­bles.

His alum­ni are suc­cess­ful choir con­duc­tors who win numer­ous prizes at com­pe­ti­tions in Poland and abroad. They are also aca­d­e­m­ic teach­ers, hold­ing respon­si­ble uni­ver­si­ty func­tions.

In the peri­od of 1989–1993 he was Vice-Dean and Dean of the Depart­ment of Music Edu­ca­tion, then, between 1993 and 1999 he was Vice-Rec­tor for Research and Teach­ing Affairs. In the peri­od of 1999–2005 he held the func­tion of Rec­tor of the Fry­deryk Chopin Acad­e­my of Music in War­saw for two terms of office. In that time, as Pres­i­dent of the Con­fer­ence of Rec­tors of Artis­tic Uni­ver­si­ties he par­tic­i­pat­ed in the work of the Pre­sid­i­um of the Con­fer­ence of Rec­tors of Artis­tic Uni­ver­si­ties. He twice head­ed the Chair of Choir Con­duct­ing. In the peri­od of 2008–2012 he was Dean of the Depart­ment of Choir Con­duct­ing, Music Edu­ca­tion, Church Music, Rhyth­mics and Dance. In 2011 the Depart­ment obtained an excep­tion­al grade from the Pol­ish Accred­i­ta­tion Com­mit­tee. Dur­ing the 2012 elec­tions he was elect­ed Rec­tor of the Fry­deryk Chopin Uni­ver­si­ty of Music for the term of office of 2012–2016.

Between 1973 and 1974 he was Assis­tant Con­duc­tor, and then (1977–1983) Con­duc­tor of the Nation­al Phil­har­mon­ic Choir. Since 1983 he has con­stant­ly coop­er­at­ed with the War­saw Cham­ber Opera as a con­duc­tor and choir man­ag­er. For over two decades he was Artis­tic Man­ag­er of the Fry­deryk Chopin Acad­e­my of Music Mixed Choir. He found­ed the FCAM Cham­ber Choir – which won the pres­ti­gious 1st Prize at the BBC and Deutsch­land­funk broad­cast­ing sta­tions called Let the peo­ple sing (1987). The ensem­ble resumed its activ­i­ty under the name Chopin Vocal Con­sort, hav­ing many valu­able con­cert achieve­ments in Poland and abroad on its score card.

As a con­duc­tor he spe­cial­izes in per­form­ing great ora­to­rio works by J.S. Bach, G.F. Hän­del, W.A. Mozart, L. van Beethoven, as well as G. Ver­di, I. Stravin­sky, K. Szy­manows­ki, C. Orff, and oth­ers.

As part of his activ­i­ty as a con­duc­tor he prefers per­form­ing for­got­ten Pol­ish a capel­la com­po­si­tions and vocal and instru­men­tal pieces. With soloists and orches­tras, and with the War­saw Cham­ber Opera Choir he found­ed in 1983, he pre­pared and con­duct­ed many unknown works by J. Elsner, W. Dankows­ki, S.F. Lech­leit­ner, D. Sta­chow­icz, J. Staromiejs­ki, J. Kozłows­ki and oth­ers. He was also the first per­former of works by the 20th cen­tu­ry com­posers such as T. Paciorkiewicz, W. Rudz­ińs­ki, A. Sza­l­ińs­ki and S. Mory­to.

As a choir­mas­ter he coop­er­at­ed with many con­duc­tors, prepar­ing the ensem­bles he con­duct­ed for per­for­mances and record­ings under the baton of out­stand­ing fig­ures of the world of music, such as: Leonard Bern­stein, Ric­car­do Chai­ly, Hen­ryk Czyż, Jacek Kasp­szyk, Kaz­imierz Kord, Bogusław Madey, Stanisław Wisłoc­ki, Marc Minkows­ki, Ennio Mor­ri­cone, and oth­ers.

He has giv­en con­certs in many Euro­pean coun­tries (Aus­tria, Czech Repub­lic, France, Ger­many, Italy), as well as South Korea, Tai­wan and USA. Many times he per­formed sym­pho­ny and ora­to­rio pro­grammes on stages of almost all phil­har­mon­ics in Poland. He is invit­ed to be a jury mem­ber or chair­man at con­duct­ing com­pe­ti­tions and choir fes­ti­vals. On his score card he has CD, radio and tele­vi­sion record­ings.

From July 2005 to Jan­u­ary 2007 he held the func­tion of Direc­tor of the Nation­al Fry­deryk Chopin Insti­tute. He was elect­ed for a sec­ond term of office at the Cen­tral Com­mit­tee for Degrees and Titles, rep­re­sent­ing Music Arts in the artis­tic dis­ci­pline of con­duct­ing.

In 2002 he was dec­o­rat­ed with the Commander’s Cross of the Rebirth of Poland for his artis­tic activ­i­ty at the War­saw Cham­ber Opera. In 2005 he was hon­oured with the Order of Mer­it for Pol­ish Cul­ture and the indi­vid­ual award of the Min­is­ter of Cul­ture and Arts. He was also dec­o­rat­ed with the Sil­ver Medal for Mer­it to Cul­ture – Glo­ria Artis. On the occa­sion of the 25th anniver­sary of the War­saw Cham­ber Opera Choir the Min­is­ter of Cul­ture and Nation­al Her­itage Bog­dan Zdro­jew­s­ki, at the motion of Direc­tor Ste­fan Sutkows­ki, doc­tor hon­oris causa, hon­oured Pro­fes­sor Ryszard Zimak with the Spe­cial Award.

In 2008 he was giv­en the Medal of Mer­it – for his ser­vices to Keimyung Uni­ver­si­ty (South Korea), and in the Jubilee Year of the 200th anniver­sary of the Fry­deryk Chopin Uni­ver­si­ty of Music His Mag­nif­i­cence Rec­tor, Pro­fes­sor Stanisław Mory­to, hon­oured him with the Medal for Mer­it to the Fry­deryk Chopin Uni­ver­si­ty of Music.

He is a lau­re­ate of the Medal for Mer­it to the War­saw Arch­dio­cese and the 64th Włodz­imierz Pietrzak Artis­tic Award for many years of teach­ing work, pro­mo­tion of sacred music and first per­for­mances of ora­to­rio pieces by Pol­ish com­posers.

Dur­ing the Uni­ver­si­ty Day on 22nd Feb­ru­ary 2012 he was dec­o­rat­ed with the Nation­al Edu­ca­tion Medal.

last modified: 01/09/2016