Tomasz Jakub Opałka,
composer. born on 6 June 1983 in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. In 2006-11 he studied composition with Professor Krzysztof Baculewski at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, graduating with top marks. In 2013 he received a PhD in composition.
Tomasz Opałka took part in various courses and masterclasses led by renowned artists such as: Michael Nyman, John Corigliano, Adriana Holszky, Christopher Young, Peter Golub, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Richard Bellis, Robert Elhai, Daniel Carlin, or Dennis Sands.
Since 2012 he has been concerting and writing film music in Warsaw and Los Angeles.
He has received numerous prizes in competitions for composers. While still a student he was a finalist of the CRESCENDO composition competition for students of schools of music in Tarnów (2001) for Trio; prize winner of the Polish National Composition Commission of the Student Music Forum: in 2002 (for Wspomnienie) and 2004 (for INTERACTION I – first prize and Performers' Award). In 2006 her received the third prize (first was not awarded) at the Alexandr Moyzes International Composition Competition in Bratislava for Visions of Perfect Shapes for orchestra and in 2007 – second prize (first not awarded) of the Karol Szymanowski Polish National Composition Competition for QUADRA for orchestra, second prize of the Grzegorz Fitelberg Polish National Composition Competition in Katowice for EPIDERMA (Epidermis) for large symphony orchestra, and third prize of the 1st John Paul II Composition Competition for Liść (Leaf) for choir and orchestra. In 2008 he won the first prize of the Polish Television's Dolina Kreatywna (Creative Valley) competition, and in 2009 his symphony Horyzont Zdarzeń (Event Horizon) won the third prize of Grażyna Bacewicz International Composition Competition. Also in 2009 he was a finalist of the Tadeusz Baird Competition for Young Composers with Trans-Ist-One. In 2010 the jury of the Wawel: Musica Festiva composition competition chaired by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Eugeniusz Knapik awarded the grand prix to Opałka's Przestrzenie (Spaces) for large symphony orchestra. The piece was performed to mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald at the courtyard of the Wawel Royal Castle. The concert was released on DVD. In 2012 Opałka was a finalist of the Transatlantyk Film Music Competition and prize winner of the Polish National Composition Competiton of the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers' Union for RIOT for chamber orchestra. In 2013 he was once more a finalist of the Transatlantyk competition and received a honourable mention of the International FMF Young Talent Composition Contest.
His music was performed on many renowned festivals in Poland and abroad, including: Chain Festival (2013, 2014), Wojciech Kilar Contemporary Music Festival (2014), Festival of World Premiers (2013), Warsaw Music Encounters (2012, 2013, 2014), Warsaw Autumn – fringe event: concerts of the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers' Union (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), Świętokrzyskie Days of Music (2005, 2014), Brucken Festival fur Neue Musik (2009), COM'IN (2008, 2009), The Four Season Festival in Warsaw (2009), Generations (2007,2012), Festival of Young Composers ‘Chopin. Transgressions’ (2010), All the World's Mazurkas (2010), Beijing Modern (2011), Musica Moderna (2012), Summer Concerts in Grochowska held by Sinfonia Varsovia, Druskmanija (2013), Provinzlarm (2013).
Tomasz J. Opałka's works have been released on six albums (Castello GT, POLMIC, Music Centre Slovakia). He is one of the 16 Polish composers featured in Agnieszka Lewandowska-Kąkol’s book Dźwięki, Szepty, Zgrzyty [Sounds, Whispers, Noises”].
He has collaborated with: Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra (led by Krzysztof Słowiński), Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (led by Michał Klauza), Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (led by Wojciech Michniewski, Łukasz Borowicz, Szymon Bywalec), New Music Orchestra (led by Szymon Bywalec), Orchestra of the Gorzów Philharmonic (led by Monika Wolińska, Maciej Tworek, Zygmunt Rychert), Orchestra of the Świętokrzyska Philharmonic (led by Jacek Rogala, Mieczysław Gawroński), Musica Festiva Orchestra (led by Stanisław Krawczyński), Orchestra of the Łódź Philharmonic (led by Michał Klauza), Orchestra of the Kalisz Philharmonic (led by Adam Klocek), Scontri Ensemble, Choir of the Centre for Thought of John Paul II, as well as such soloists as: Leszek Lorent, Janusz Wawrowski, Tadeusz Domanowski, Jadwiga Czarkowska, Wojciech Herzyk, Maciej Frąckiewicz.
He was commissioned to write music for: the Witold Lutosławski Society, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, Świętokrzyska Philharmonic, Gorzów Philharmonic, The Royal Castle in Warsaw, Kalisz Philharmonic, and the Centre for Thought of John Paul II.
In the 2013/2014 season Opałka was a composer-in-residence at the Gorzów Philharmonic.
Opałka has been successfully composing film music along with classical pieces. He has written 20 film scores. Many of the productions have won awards at prestigious film festivals and competitions across the world. They are also often aired on TVP Kultura. The most successful films with Opałka's music are: Drwal (Lumberjack) (Poland, produced by Fumi Studio, directed by Paweł Dębski), Skeleton Girl 3D (Canada, produced by Bleeding Art Industries, Grand Prix, BeFilm – The Underground Film Festival in New York, 2012), Na dobry początek by Wojciech Klimala (Young Cinema competition as part of the 36th Gdynia Film Festival), ExAnimo (directed by Wojciech Wojtkowski, Best Animated Film, Rhode Island, 2013).
In 2010 Opałka started to teach at his alma mater as trainee assistant. Having graduated, he runs courses in instrumentation and a seminar on contemporary music. He also works as guest lecturer at the Warsaw Film School and at the Royal Łazienki Park as part of the Łazienki ForMusic programme.
In 2008-12 he was a member of the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers' Union (acting as its deputy chairman in 2010-12). Since 2012 he has been member of the Polish Composers' Union, acting as a member of the board in 2013-15. In 2007 he joined the ZAiKS Authors’ Assiociation.
He was twice awarded a scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, on top of scholarships from the Pro Polonia Foundation, DongSan Research Foundation, Witold Lutosławski Society, and ZAiKS Authors' Association (twice).
In 2013 Opałka became one the main characters of a documentary titled Kilka pytań o słyszenie świata – Portrety Kompozytorów (A few questions about hearing the world - Portraits of Composers) directed by Maja Baczyńska.
Updated: May 2014 (ai)
The composer's website: www.tomasz-opalka.com
Trio for flute, vibraphone and cello (2001)
Remembrance... [version I] for chamber orchestra (2001)
INTERACTION I for chamber orchestra (2003)
Sleeping Mind for tape (2005)
Visions of Perfect Shapes for symphony orchestra (2006)
Epidermis for orchestra (2006)
Music for the film Człowiek bez twarzy directed by Janusz Dybowski (2006)
Reaching to the Beginning for mixed choir, symphony orchestra and soloists (2007)
Autumn 8 for clarinet, French horn, percussion, piano, violin, viola and cello (2007)
Music for the film Gra directed by Janusz Dybowski (2007)
Leaf for choir and symphony orchestra to text by Maja Baczyńska (2007)
QUADRA for symphony orchestra *
DreamScapes for organ and French horn (2008)
Autumn8 v.2 for chamber orchestra (2008)
Music for the film ZOOL Kontrolle directed by Mario Suze (2008)
Myotis for clarinet, percussion, piano, violin and cello *
Im-Pulse for piano and violin (2008)
Saya for strings, cornet, saxophone, piano, percussion, voice and tape (2008)
Songs for the stage show BAAL (2009)
Five CloudScapes [version I] for accordion solo (2009)
Cirro-Stratus for tape (2009)
per-Version for clarinet, piano and electric guitar (2009)
Music for the film Flash directed by Mikołaj Syguła (2009)
Music for the film Rezonans directed by Mikołaj Syguła (2009)
Music for the film Legenda directed by Janusz Dybowski (2009)
Music for the film Ofiara directed by Janusz Dybowski (2009)
In-Tension for flute, oboe and violin (2009)
per-Version v.2.5 for 2 trumpets, piano, electric guitar and clarinet (2009)
Event Horizon Symphony for large symphony orchestra (2009)
Blue, Black, White for solo flute, 2 female voices, percussion and electronics (2009)
Tran-Ist-One for two percussion sets & two pianos (2009)
Advection for 18 players (2010)
Chop-in Matrix for nonet (2010)
Spaces for large symphony orchestra *
x-Pose for clarinet/bass clarinet, accordion, electronic guitar and cello (2010)
Calisa Concerto for 10 pianos & orchestra (2010)
Music for the film Lumberjack directed by Paweł Dębski (2010)
VITALITY – Concerto for multi-percussion & symphony orchestra *
4 Phases for 2 for bass clarinet and marimba (2011)
Organ Odyssey - Epilogue for organ (2011)
Flutters for 2 flutes (2012)
Music for the film Bracia directed by Wojciech Klimala (2012)
Music for the film Żaklina directed by Marcin Szuwarowski (2012)
Music for the film Skeleton Girl directed by Leo Wieser (2012)
Music for the film ExAnimo directed by Wojciech Wojtkowski (2012)
Fil d'araignée for violin solo (2012)
Crossroads for two accordions (2012)
RIOT for chamber orchestra (2012)
Loca Deserta for guitar & string quartet (2012)
Collisions of the Matter for symphony orchestra (2012)
D.N.A. Concerto for bass clarinet & chamber orchestra (2012)
L.A. Concerto for violin & symphony orchestra (2013)
Two ballet pieces: Garden at Night and Ghosts for the show Mr Lutosławski (2013)
HemiSphere for string orchestra (2013)
Entrada Concertante for orchestra (2013)
Music for the film Łakomstwa Endemita directed by Natalia Dziedzic (2014)
Piano Concerto for piano and symphony orchestra (2014)
II Symphony – EMERGE for symphony orchestra (2014)
Music for the film Entropia directed by Wojciech Klimala (2014)