Freszel, Joanna

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A graduate of the vocal class of Jadwiga Rappé at the Department of Vocal and Acting Studies at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. She has held the Polish Ministry of Education scholarship on two occasions, as well as bursaries from the Pro Polonia and ISA2012 programmes. She was also awarded the Young Poland scholarship and the Magna cum Laude medal for the best graduate of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music (2013), where she obtained her PhD in Music in 2019. She is also a graduate of environmental studies at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences. 

In 2017, she was nominated for the Polish Music Coryphaeus Award and won Polityka’s Passport award. In 2020, she won the Polish Music Coryphaeus Award in the event of the year category for her participation in Aleksander Nowak’s dramma per musica, Drach. Her other prizes and distinctions include the 2nd Prize at the Halina Halska Competition in Wrocław, 3rd Prize and special award at the Karol Szymanowski Competition in Łódź, 1st Prize and three special awards at the Reszke Competition in Częstochowa, special award in the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna, 1st Prize and special award at the ISA J:opera Voice Competition in Frankfurt (2012). She was also a nalist of the Viotti Competition in Vercelli. She has appeared notably at the Warsaw Autumn Festival (2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Contrechamps Festival in Geneva, Saaremaa Opera Days in Estonia, Melos–Étos in Bratislava, and Festival of 7 Currents and Concert of 7 Premieres, organised on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Polish Composers’ Union. 

She has sung Marguerite in Gounod’s Faustat the Estonian National Opera, The Machine in Krzysztof Wołek’s reads at the NFM in Wrocław, Susanna in Elena Langer and David Pountney’s Figaro Gets a Divorce at the Stanisław Moniuszko Grand Theatre in Poznań, Ludomir Różycki’s Psyche in Eros and Psyche at Warsaw’s Grand Theatre – National Opera, Inanna in ahat-ilī – Sister of God by Aleksander Nowak, Ellenai in Dariusz Przybylski’s Anhelli, and Rosina in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. She specialises in contemporary music, having premiered dozens of works, including Arvo Pärt’s Stabat Mater, Marko Nikodijevic’c Sadness Untitled, Oscar Bianchi’s Primordia Rerum, Uri Caine’s In Memoriam, Eugeniusz Knapik’s Canticum Puerorum. Andrzej Krzanowski’s Audycja V, Cezary Duchnowski’s Rage

She has appeared on stage with many orchestras both in Poland and internationally, including the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Iuventus, Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Białystok Opera and Philharmonic, Cracow Symphony, Silesian Philharmonic, Kielce Philharmonic, Szczecin Philharmonic, Bydgoszcz Orchestra – Capella Bydgostiensis, New Music Orchestra, AUKSO, de ereprijs, Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik, Camerata Viva, under the baton of conductors such as Jerzy Maksymiuk, Gabriel Chmura, Jacek Kaspszyk, Krzesimir Dębski, Jerzy Salwarowski, Marek Moś, Paul Esswood, Wim Boerman, Alexander Liebreich, Szymon Bywalec, Tadeusz Strugała, Jacek Rogala, Adam Klocek, Arturo Tamayo, Piotr Sułkowski, and Michał Dworzyński. 

In 2015 her debut album real life song was released on DUX Records, featuring works composed especially for her by young Polish composers: Miłosz Bembinow, Aleksander Kościów, Rafał Janiak, Agata Zubel, Sławomir Zamuszko, Andrzej Borzym Jr, Joanna Szmytka, and Katarzyna Szwed. The album was nominated for the 2016 Fryderyk Award in two categories and Orphée d’Or by L’Académie du Disque Lyrique for the best interpretation of contemporary music. In 2019, Orphée Classics released her new CD, Polish Songbook, recorded with pianist Łukasz Chrzęszczyk.