The 2012 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards recipients will be celebrated at a gala event on Saturday, May 5 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Pianist Janina Fialkowska will be recognized with a lifetime achievement award. And speaking of achievements, her latest album, Chopin Recital 2, was launched last week on the ATMA label.

In his review of Fialkowska’s new recording, blogger John Terauds wrote, “Here, she sets another example for the world how the music of Frédéric Chopin can be played with virtuosic fire as well as elegant grace.”

For anyone unfamiliar with Fialkowska’s artistry, this album would serve as an excellent introduction.

CBC Music published a blog about Fialkowska the day the recipients of the 2012 Governor General Awards were announced, and we reproduce some of it here:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to receive this award,” said Fialkowska in an interview with film producer Carrie Haber. “We concert pianists live a very solitary life; we’re alone with our instrument. Of course we receive recognition at the time of the concert in the form of applause and people coming backstage and it’s very nice, but you know, we’re talking seconds there, and the rest of the time we’re on our own and we work terribly hard to be true to the composer and true to our audiences. So it’s very nice to get recognition of this magnitude. It’s huge for me, and I’m thrilled.”

Montreal-born Fialkowska is recognized the world over as one of the great interpreters of the music of Frédéric Chopin, whom she names as her favourite composer.

Listen to Fialkowska describe her connection with Chopin.

[Fialkowska talks about Chopin]



Fialkowska has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Philharmonic and the French and Belgian National Radio orchestras. She was also the founding director of Piano Six (later Piano Plus), whose mission was to take classical piano music to remote or disadvantaged regions of Canada. Fialkowska is also an officer of the Order of Canada.

“I’m rather proud that my country gives this kind of award; recognizes the arts in such a way, [and] realizes the importance of the arts in our society,” said Fialkowska, reflecting on her lifetime achievement award. “It’s a vocation, to be a musician. It’s not a job. And we’ve devoted our entire lives because we start at age three or four and it goes until we drop at the age of, you know, 100 or whatever. I’m very proud of Canada; not many countries celebrate their artists in this way. And it’s lovely.”

Related links:

Governor General's Performing Arts Awards

Alice Sara Ott: the young pianist doing things differently

Artist of the month: Music speaks to Jan Lisiecki’s soul


posted by Robert Rowat on May 01, 2012