International competition to honour Jarek Śmietana

Once again international music stars and young guitar players from all over the world will meet during the competition dedicated to one of Poland’s most distinguished jazz guitar players. 28 June marks the start of the 2nd Jarek Śmietana International Jazz Guitar Competition in Kraków.

- Jarek Śmietana Competition was brought to life to commemorate the great guitarist and jazzman. But that's not the only reason! 54 guitarists from 21 countries entered the first edition of the event. Those who passed to the semifinals had to search the musical archives and present original interpretations of Śmietana's compositions. We believe that most of these young musicians will make these pieces a part of their repertoire and thus Jarek's music will be promoted in the world, Witold Wnuk, founder of the competition and chairman of My Polish Heart Foundation stresses.

Devoted to the memory of Jarek Śmietana, the competition is organised for the second time already by the My Polish Heart foundation in cooperation with the Zbigniew Seifert Foundation and the Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami (Vaults under the Rams). This international contest was held for the first time in 2015, when the main prize was claimed by Szymon Mika from Poland, an artist who is increasingly successful in Polish and international stages.

Submissions to this year's second edition of the Jarek Śmietana International Jazz Guitar Competition arrived from young musicians living in Poland, the US, the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine, and Armenia.

The qualification jury composed of Professor Karol Ferfecki, Witold Wnuk, Antoni Dębski, and Rafał Sarnecki selected 12 artists – 7 from Poland and 5 from abroad – to competition qualifier:

Andrzej Gondek (Poland)

Łukasz Kokoszko (Poland)

Dawid Kostka (Poland)

Jakub Mizeracki (Poland)

Gabriel Niedziela (Poland)

Jonasz Stępień (Poland)

Mateusz Szczypka (Poland)

Giovanni Di Carlo (Italy)

Sean Clapis (US)

Yuto Kanazawa (US)

Robert Luft (UK)

Igor Osypov (Germany)

Competition recitals will be open to the public and held at the Concert Hall of the W. Żeleński School of Music in Kraków (ul. Basztowa 9) from 28 to 30 June.

The performance of the young artists contending for competition trophies will be evaluated by an international jury including two American giants of the jazz guitar: Mike Stern, a multiple Grammy nominee known from Blood, Sweat & Tears and his cooperation with Miles Davis, and New Yorker Peter Bernstein, who not only enjoys a spectacular solo career, but has performed side-by-side with such stars as Diana Krall, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Joshua Redman, and Jimmy Cobb. Like two years ago, the contestants will be assessed by Polish guitar virtuoso Marek Napiórkowski and a distinguished member of the faculty of the Academy of Music in Katowice, Professor Karol Ferfecki. The jury will be presided over by Witold Wnuk, founder and director of the competition.

The organisers have earmarked PLN 35,000 to Regular Awards.

The Special Award will be funded by the family of the patron of the competition – Anna and Alicja Śmietana.

Competition winners will be announced at the Final Gala held in the Kraków Philharmonic Hall on 1 July. They will perform at the Gala hand-in-hand with the artists participating in the work of the Competition Jury: Mike Stern, Peter Bernstein, and Marek Napiórkowski.

The organisers also invite you to jam sessions with participation of competition participants and invited stars, held every evening at Piwnica pod Baranami.

The Jarek Śmietana International Jazz Guitar Competition is held every two years.


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