“What is the composer’s secret message here?”
When I face a musical score, all considerations of sound, expression, interpretation, and technique start with this fascinating question. Though research plays an integral part in answering it, the ultimate beauty lies in its subjectivity. As I observed from my time of studying with musical minds such as Leon Fleisher and Alfred Brendel, it’s the singularity of the individual conveying it and their phenomenal ability to convey it that gives us goosebumps as listeners. The individualized curriculum I create for each student is based on their already existing strengths, passions, and interests. From that place of self-empowerment, both teacher and student can face the infinite conundrums of the above question with joy, inspiration, and mutual respect.
Polish-American pianist Adam Golka‘s discography includes works of Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms for First Hand Records (UK), which have been regularly included in Apple’s “Piano Essentials” and Spotify’s “Beethoven Piano” playlists. He first performed all of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas when he was 18 years old, and he returned to the complete cycle in 2020–2021 for performances in NYC, Orlando, and Houston. He also presented all-Beethoven live streams for presenters in Ventura (CA), El Paso (TX), Sitka (AL), Spokane (WA), and the Library of Congress during the Covid shutdowns. Adam’s performances and presentations were complemented by 32 short films he created, known as “32@32” (available on YouTube), featuring not only conversations with musical legends such as Alfred Brendel and Leon Fleisher, but also extra-musical discussions such as those with an astrophysicist, philosopher, magician, painter, and a child.
As a concerto soloist, Adam has appeared as soloist with dozens of orchestras, including the BBC Scottish Symphony, NACO (Ottawa), Warsaw Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, Shanghai Philharmonic, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia, as well as the San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, New Jersey, San Diego, Phoenix, and Jacksonville symphonies in the US. In 2014-2015, Adam performed recitals as part of the “Sir Andras Schiff Selects” project at Klavier-Festival Ruhr (Essen), Tonhalle Zürich, Maison de France (Berlin), and 92Y Subculture (NYC). Adam has also performed solo recitals at Alice Tully Hall (NYC), Concertgebouw Kleine Zall (Amsterdam), Musashino Hall (Tokyo), Nakanoshima Hall (Osaka), Ravinia Festival, Philip Lorenz International Keyboard Concerts, and The Cliburn. Chamber music is also an integral part of Adam Golka’s musical life. He has participated in festivals such as Marlboro and Krzyżowa-Music, and he is a member of the Manhattan Chamber Players.