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Agata Zubel,

composer and singer; b. 25th January 1978 in Wrocław. She studied composition under Jan Wichrowski and singing with Danuta Paziuk-Zipser at the Academy of Music in Wrocław, graduating with the Primus Inter Pares medal. She then went on to study at the Conservatoruim Hogeschool Enschede, the Netherlads and numerous courses. She has received scholarships from the Minister of Culture of Poland, Rockefeller Foundation, Wrocław City Hall, Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, the Young Poland programme of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, and the International Educational Foundation.

Her works have been performed at many festivals in Poland, such as Warsaw Autumn, Musica Polonica Nova, Audio-Art, Festival of Andrzej Panufnik's Music in Krakow, Poznań Music Spring, Adam Didur Festival, Kraków 2000, Chanterelle Festival, Festival of Polish Music in Kraków, Festival of World Premieres – "New Polish Music" in Katowice, as well as in other countries: at Alternativa in Moskow, Corso Polonia in Rome, Velvet Curtain in Lviv, Musikhøst Odense in Denmark. In 2005 her Symfony no. 2 for 77 performers (2005), commissioned by Deutsche Welle, had its world premiere during the Beethoven Festival in Bonn. Her next commissions were: String Quartet No. 1 (Ultraschall Festival, Berlin, 2007), Of Songs (Wratislavia Cantans Festival, 2007), Cascando (Central Europe Music Festival in Seattle, 2007), Symphony No. 3 (as part of the Rockefeller Foundation scholarship, 2008), Aphorisms on Miłosz (Sacrum Profanum Festival, Kraków, 2011), Shades of Ice (London Sinfonietta 2011), The Streets of a Human City (Deutschlandfunk, for Warsaw Autumn, 2011), Labyrinth (Polish Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv, 2012), What is the Word (Klangforum Wien, 2012), Percussion Store (Kraków Philharmonic, 2012), IN (Hannoversche Gesellschaft für Neue Musik for Staatsoper Hannover, 2013), Where to (TenFourteen LLC, an arm of the Jebediah Foundation for San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, 2014), Madrigals (Westdeutschen Rundfunks for Neue Vocalsolisten, 2015), Chapter 13 (Los Angeles Philharmonic, 2016), Double Battery (Ensemble InterContemporain, 2016), In the Shade of an Unshed Tear (Seattle Symphony, 2016),  Bildbeschreibung (an opera, Klangforum Wien, 2016) and sound installation in Silesian Museum during the Kultura-Natura (Culture Nature) Festival in 2017. In 2010 her opera-ballet Between was staged at the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, and in 2011 the composer was commissioned by the opera house to write a dramopera Oresteia (staged in 2012).

In 2011 Agata Zubel was a composer-in-residence of the festival Other Minds in San Francisco. For two seasons (2010/2012) she was a composer-in-residence of the Karol Szymanowski Philharminic in Krakow. In 2012 Klangforum Wien played a concert at the Sacrum Profanum Festival featuring exclusively her compositions.

She sings mostly present-day music. She is a member of the duo ElettroVoce with Cezary Duchnowski. In the summer of 2004 she took part in an experimental improvisation project during a concert commissioned by the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music. Apart from performing world premieres and recording currently composed music, she has lately also sung Chantefleurs et Chantefables by Witold Lutosłwski (Musica Polonica Nova, 2006), DW9 by Bernhard Lang (Warsaw Autumn, 2004), The Star by Zygmunt Krauze (electroacoustic adaptation by Cezary Duchnowski at Polski Theatre in Wrocław, 2005), the title role in Dobromiła Jaskot's opera Phaedra (Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, 2006), La Malaspina in Luci mie traditrici by Salvatore Sciarrino (Nostalgia Festival Poznań, 2009), and Madeline in The Fall of the House of Usher by Philip Glass (Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, 2009). The title role in Cezary Duchnowski's opera Marta’s Garden has brought her the Orfeusz Award ("Warsaw Autumn" Festival, 2009). She has toured around the world, in Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Korea, Canada, and the USA. She has collaborated with such enesebles as Klangforum Wien, musikFabrik, London Sinfonietta, Eighth Blackbird Ensemble, Seattle Chamber Players, or San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.

Agata Zubel is an award-winning composer and singer. In 1999 she received the 1st prize and the PWM Edition Award at the Polish National Andrzej Panufnik Composing Competetion for Lumière for percussion solo (1997); while in 2000 she won the 3rd prize of the Polish National Guitar Competition for Ludia i Fu for guitar solo (1999) and the 1st prize and Polish Radio's special award at the Polish National Adam Didur Composing Competition for A Song about the End of the World for voice, reciter and instrumental ensemble to text by Czesław Miłosz (1998). In 2002 she won the special prize of the Concours Moderne in Chain and the 1st prize of the Krzysztof Penderecki International Competition of Contemporary Chamber Music, in 2003 – the main prize of the Leopold Kronenberg Bank Foundation at the 20th and 21st Century Music Competition for Young Performers organized by the Polish Society for Contemporary Music, 3rd prize of the International Competition of Contemporary Music Interpretation for Professional Soloists – Nicati 2003 in Switzerland, the 2nd prize of the Peter Ivanovich Jurgenson International Composing Competition in Moscow for Re-Cycle for five percussionists (2001), and in 2005 – together with Cezary Duchnowski (as ElettroVoce) the special award of the International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in Amsterdam, Polityka's "Passport", and the Wrocław Music Award. Her Not I received the top score during the 2013 International Rostrum of Composers in Prague and was distinguished with the prestigious Polonica Nova Wrocław Music Award in 2014.

Agata Zubel's works and performances have been released on a number of albums, including: Cascando (CD Accord), winner of the Fryderyk Award; Not I (KAIROS), a monograph album of her pieces; Poems featuring interpretations of songs by Copland, Berg and Szymański (CD Accord); El-Derwid. Plamy na słońcu [El-Derwid. Sunspots] (CD Accord), which was nominated for the Fryderyk Award, and Dream Lake (CD Accord), together with pianist Joonas Ahonen.

Agata Zubel is a lecturer of the Academy of Music in Wrocław. In 2004 she obtained a PhD, and in 2014 – the degree of habilitated doctor in music.

She is a member of the Polish Composers' Union since 2003.

In 2014 she received Medal for Merit to Polish Culture from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and Polish Composers’ Union Annual Award, in 2016 – Coryphaeus of Polish Music award in the category Personality of the Year, in 2017 – medal of Witold Lutosławski Society and "Gloria Artis" medal, from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Polish Republic.

updated: November 2017 (wa), May 2018 (iz)

Artist's website: www.zubel.pl


Lumière pour percussion solo * (1997)
Nocturne for violin solo * (1997)
Birthday for mixed choir a cappella to text by Wisława Szymborska * (1998)
Three Miniatures for piano * (1998)
A Song about the End of the World  for voice, reciter and instrumental ensemble to text by Czesław Miłosz * (1998)
Meditations for mixed choir a cappella to text by Jan Twardowski * (1999)
Ragnatela for bassoon and string orchestra (1999)
Ballade for voice, percussion, and tape (1999)
Ludia i Fu for guitar solo * (1999)
Photos from an Album for marimba and string quartet * (2000)
Parlando for voice and computer (2000)
Trivellazione a percussione for percussion * (2000)
Lentille for string orchestra, voice, and accordion * (2001)
Re-Cycle for five percussionists (2001)
Symphony No. 1 for orchestra * (2002)
Nelumbo for four marimbas (2003)
Unisono I for voice, percussion and computer (2003)
Unisono II for voice, accordion, and computer (2003)
Stories for voice and prepared piano to text by Natasza Goerke * (2004)
Concerto grosso for recorders, baroque violin, harpsichord, and 2 choirs * (2004)
Symphony No. 2 for 77 performers (2005)
String Quartet No. 1 for four cellos and computer (2006)
Maximum Load  for percussion and computer (2006)
Cascando for voice, flute, clarinet, violin and cello to text by Samuel Beckett (2007)
of Songs for soprano (mezzosoprano), cello, choir, and orchestra * (2007)
Between, opera-ballet for voice, electronics and dancers (2008)
Symphony No. 3 for double bell trumpet and symphony orchestra * (2009)
Wounded Angel for double bell trumpet (2009/2012)
Not I for voice, chamber ensemble and electronics to text by Samuel Beckett (2010)
Oresteia, dramopera for soloists, actors, choir, percussion and electronics (2011)
Labyrinth for voice and chamber ensemble to text by Wisława Szymborska (2011)
Shades of Ice for clarinet, cello and electronics (2011)
The Streets of a Human City for instrumental ensemble (2011)
Aphorisms on Miłosz for soprano and chamber ensemble to text by Czesław Miłosz (2011)
Suite for percussion trio (2011)
Percussion Store for percussion ensemble and orchestra (2012)
What is the word for voice and chamber ensemble to text by Samuel Beckett (2012)
Cadenza for violin solo (2013) (2013)
IN for large symphony orchestra (2013)
In Between the Ebb of Thoughts and the Flow of Sleep for voice, piano and string orchestra to poetry by Tadeusz Dąbrowski (2013)
Lullaby for a mixed choir to text by William Shakespeare (2013)
Where to for instrumental ensemble (2014)
Violin Concerto for violin and chamber orchestra (2014)
Madrigals for five voices (2015)
Chapter 13 for soprano and ensemble, text by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (2015)
In the Shade of an Unshed Tear for orchestra (2016)
Double Battery for instrumental ensemble, ossia: with augmented sound space (2016)
The Alphabet of the Ars Brevis for two male voices (2016)
Bildbeschreibung, opera for two voices, instrumental ensemble and electronics, text by Heiner Müller (2016)
Mother Lode I - III for chamber ensemble (2017)
Cleopatra’s Songs for voice and instrumental ensemble, text by William Shakespeare (2017)
Fireworks for large symphony orchestra (2018)
Chamber Piano Concerto for piano(s) and instrumental ensemble  (2018)
3x3 for instrumental ensemble (2019)
Piano piano but not pianissimo for piano(s) (2019)
Friction for trumpet, trombone and tuba  (2020)
Triptyque for instrumental ensemble  (2020)


Agata Zubel, Lentille, in: Warsaw Autumn 2001: 44th International Festival of Contemporary Music. No. 6 (POLMIC) (2001)
Agata Zubel, Piosenka o końcu świata [Song about the End of the World], in: Bacewicz, Pstrokońska-Nawratil, Zubel, Ptaszyńska, Sikora (Polskie Radio) (2004)
Agata Zubel, Parlando for voice and computer, in: 9 lat Studia Kompozycji Komputerowej Akademii Muzycznej we Wrocławiu [9 Years of the Computer Music Studio of the Academy of Music in Wrocław] (Akademia Muzyczna we Wrocławiu, SKK) (2005)
Agata Zubel, Symphony No. 2, in: Warsaw Autumn 2006: 49th International Festival of Contemporary Music. No. 4 (POLMIC) (2006)
Agata Zubel, Cezary Duchnowski, ElettroVoce (Polskie Radio) (2007)
Agata Zubel, Cascando, in: Warsaw Autumn 2008: 51st International Festival of Contemporary Music. No. 2 (POLMIC) (2008)
Agata Zubel, Symphony No. 3, in: Warsaw Autumn 2010: 53rd International Festival of Contemporary Music. No. 3 (POLMIC) (2010)
Agata Zubel - Cascando (CD ACCORD) (2010)
Agata Zubel, Ulicami ludzkiego miasta (The streets of a human city), in: Warsaw Autumn 2011: 54th International Festival of Contemporary Music. No. 4 (POLMIC) (2011)
Agata Zubel, Cascando, in: Made in Poland, DVD (Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny) (2011)
Agata Zubel, Wounded Angel, in: Angels (Wergo) (2013)
Agata Zubel, Cezary Duchnowski [Elettrovoce], Znikąd historie (Stories nowhere from) (CD ACCORD) (2015)

literatura wybrana

Przynajmniej dla odbiorcy Z Agatą Zubel, kompozytorką, śpiewaczką, pedagogiem, laureatką paszportu "Polityki" za rok 2004, rozmawia Janusz Mencel, „Twoja Muza” 2005 nr 3, s. 28-29
Lewandowska-Kąkol Agnieszka, Dźwięki, szepty, zgrzyty: 16 wywiadów z największymi polskimi kompozytorami, Fronda, Warszawa 2012
Nowe obszary głosu. Z Agatą Zubel rozmawia Daniel Cichy, „Tygodnik Powszechny” 2007 nr 36
Cichy Daniel Können wir heute noch Mozart verstehen?, „General Anzeiger” 2005 9 September, s. 16
Dębowska Anna Agata Zubel i jej II Symfonia, „Gazeta wyborcza, dodatek” 2006 21 września, s. 3
Fidecka-Wojciechowska Anna Czas dla artysty – Agata Zubel, „Sukces” 2006 nr 12, s. 72
Gardzina Katarzyna Kompozycje na głos, fortepian i komputer, „Życie Warszawy” 27 grudnia 2006, s. 15
Kosińska Julita Co słychać – mówi Agata Zubel, „Ruch Muzyczny” 2005 nr 5, s. 5
Nyffeler Max Im Bewusstsein der Freiheit. Die nächste Generation von Komponisten aus Polen, “Neue Zeitschrift für Musik” 2009 nr 6 (November – Dezember), s. 22-32
Szczecińska Ewa, Topolski Jan Agata Zubel, „Glissando” 2005 nr 3, s. 104-107
Szwarcman Dorota Lubię śpiewać z komputerem, „Polityka” 2005 nr 6, s. 66-67