Marek Jablonski

Marek Jablonski. Pianist, teacher, b Krakow, Poland, 5 Nov 1939, d Edmonton 8 May 1999. He studied at the Krakow Conservatory when he was six. His family settled in Edmonton in 1949, but it was in Calgary and Banff during the summers that he continued his piano studies with Gladys Egbert.

Jablonski, Marek

Marek Jablonski. Pianist, teacher, b Krakow, Poland, 5 Nov 1939, d Edmonton 8 May 1999. He studied at the Krakow Conservatory when he was six. His family settled in Edmonton in 1949, but it was in Calgary and Banff during the summers that he continued his piano studies with Gladys Egbert. After winning the Dimitri Mitropoulos scholarship in 1957, he worked at the Aspen School in Denver, Colorado, and then with Rosina Lhévinne at the Juilliard School. In 1961 he won the grand prize in the JMC National Competition, and that November he played Chopin's Concerto No. 1 with the MSO conducted by Zubin Mehta. He performed this work with several groups including the TSO in 1962 and the American Symphony Orchestra during his Carnegie Hall debut 15 Feb 1963. He also appeared on CBC TV's 1962 Recital series.

Jablonski toured during the 1961-2, 1962-3, 1964-5, 1969-70, and 1971-2 seasons for the JMC and in 1963 in the USA under the auspices of the Carnegie Hall Corporation. He studied in London with Ilona Kabos on a Canada Council grant and made his Paris debut at the Salle Gaveau. The pianist established a reputation as a Chopin specialist. The critic Clarendon called his interpretation of Chopin's Sonata No. 3 'masterful' (Le Figaro, 6 Mar 1963). In 1965 he toured in France, Italy, Austria, Yugoslavia, and Poland. He made his London debut 2 Feb 1969 at Wigmore Hall in a recital devoted to Chopin and returned there in November 1969 and February 1971. After a recital given in the Salle Claude-Champagne in Montreal, Gilles Potvin described his interpretation of Brahms' Sonata No. 3: 'Jablonski's performance was distinguished by the clear picture he drew of its structure, controlling the entry of each episode and giving each of the five movements a distinct character ... Jablonski also revealed remarkable technique and great power. With this performance, Jablonski again asserts himself as one of Canada's most talented pianists. Here is an artist of breadth, worthy of the world's great concert halls' (La Presse, 31 Mar 1969).

Jablonski performed in the USSR four times between 1969 and 1975. A major 1971 tour of Europe took him to Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, London, Madrid, Stockholm, and Zurich; he later became well known in South America. In 1971 the NFB presented the full-length film Jablonski. He returned to Spain in 1973 and in 1974 in Brussels gave three recitals and appeared in concert with the Belgian National Orchestra. He was soloist with the NACO and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 1973, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra in 1974, the Calgary Philharmonic in 1975, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra in 1978. In 1975, 1977, and 1979, he gave recitals at the PDA. The 1980s saw Jablonski turn to short recital series of Chopin's works, which he presented in Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, and Montreal. He also presented recitals in Italy.

After teaching 1975-81 at the University of Manitoba, Jablonski joined the RCMT in 1985. He moved to the University of Alberta in 1993, where he remained on the music faculty and gave recitals until his death from cancer. He was the recipient of the Winspear-Archer Fellowship for 1993-4. He also gave master classes in Venezuela, Belgium, Holland, Italy, and the USA, and at the Banff SFA (Banff CA) every summer 1974-1998. Several of Jablonski's students have successful careers as pianists, among them Jon Kimura Parker and Francine Kay. The Marek Jablonski Prize for Chopin was set up in 1999.


Further Reading

  • McLean, Eric. 'The loneliness of the long-distance piano player,' Montreal Star, 13 Dec 1969

    Pekacz, Jolanta. 'Marek Jablonski: Chopin Player of Distinction,' in Polonia in Alberta 1895-1995, Andrzej M. Kobos and Jolanta T. Pekacz eds. Edmonton, 1995

    Neufeld, J. and Reimer, G. 'Profile: Marek Jablonski,' In Tune, winter 1998