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.

- 3rd International Jarek Śmietana Jazz Guitar Competition

The organiser is announcing opening of registration period for the 3rd International Jarek Śmietana Jazz Guitar Competition in Cracow.

-Jarek Śmietana Competition was brought to life to commemorate the great guitarist and jazzman. But that’s not the only reason! Over 100 guitarists from 28 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 stresses.

The third edition of the competition dedicated to the art of Jarek Śmietana is organised by My Polish Heart Foundation in cooperation with Summer Jazz Festival Kraków. The first edition took place in 2015. The participants came from countries as diverse as the US, China, Japan, Israel, Russia, France, Hungary, Germany and Dominica. The jury comprised jazz and guitar stars such as John Abercrombie, Mike Stern, Peter Bernstein, Ed Cherry, Wojciech Karolak, Marek Napiórkowski and Karol Ferfecki. The first prizes were awarded to young Polish guitar players Szymon Mika (2015) and Gabriel Niedziela (2017), musicians presently gaining recognition both in Poland and overseas.

Jarek Śmietana International Jazz Guitar Competition takes place every two years - it is organised alternately with Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition. The third edition of the Śmietana Competition is going to take place in Cracow from June 26th to June 29th, 2019. The jury will comprise American jazz stars Mike Stern - a multiple Grammy nominee associated with Blood, Sweat & Tears band and collaboration with Miles Davis, Peter Bernstein - a highly acclaimed guitarist who played, among others, with Diana Krall and Sonny Rollins and Polish virtuosi Marek Napiórkowski and Karol Ferfecki, joined by the competition’s founder Witold Wnuk.

The jury will award prizes amounting to 35.000 PLN (~ 10.000 USD).

An application form ( the contestants and competition rules.

( are available at Competition’s web site.

The closing date for applications is April 30th, 2019.

All applicants will be notified via email regarding their results by May 15th, 2019.

*Jarek Śmietana was one of the most famous Polish jazz guitarist. He made his debut with some of the brightest stars of the Polish musical scene and soon became one of them.

A charismatic bandleader (Extra Ball, Sounds), an excellent composer and arranger. He collaborated and recorded with the masters of world jazz, among them Art Farmer, John Abercrombie, Gary Bartz, Hamiet Bluiett, Eddie Henderson, Zbigniew Seifert and Zbigniew Namysłowski. His music was permeated with jazz, had a rock-like expression and a flow of a bebop phrase. The guitar held no secrets from him, becoming in his hands an instrument through which he conveyed his soul. In the Polish music milieu he had no equals - as mirrored in the annual survey of Jazz Forum monthly where for over three decades Śmietana was hailed as Poland’s top guitar player. He was admired both by Polish and foreign audiences alike performing performing at innumerable Polish and foreign jazz music festivals and events (North See, Jazz Yatra, Jazz Umbria, Reno Jazz Festival). His popularity grew even more following his collaboration with the crossover guitar star Nigel Kennnedy with whom he performed all over the world. He released several dozen albums, over thirty of them containing the artist’s original compositions. He died on September 2nd, 2013 after a battle with terminal illness. 


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