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Tomasz Jakub Opałka,

composer;b. 6th 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 and in 2019 he received his habilitation degree. Currently, he works at his alma mater, where he conducts his own research and education project in the field of film music composition and the use of virtual tools. In addition, he tecahes classes in instrumentation, arrangement and analysis of film music.

After graduation, he was developing his skills in composition and orchestration in Los Angeles, working with the leading film music composers, such as Christopher Young and Marco Beltrami. Since 2012 he has divided his time between Warsaw and Los Angeles, writing both concert and film music. He is the author of over 20 film scores for films awarded at prestigious film competitions and festivals around the world.

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.

He was several times 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, The Witold Lutosławski Society, ZAiKS Authors' Association (twice), and Societe Generale Bank.

He has received numerous prizes in competitions for composers, including the third prize (first was not awarded) at the Alexandr Moyzes International Composition Competition in Bratislava (2006, Visions of Perfect Shapes), the second prize (first was not awarded) at the Karol Szymanowski Polish National Composition Competition (2007, QUADRA), the second prize at the Grzegorz Fitelberg Polish National Composition Competition in Katowice (2007, Epidermis), and the third prize at the 1st John Paul II Composition Competition (2007, Leaf). In 2008 he won the first prize of the Polish Television's Dolina Kreatywna (Creative Valley) competition, and in 2009 his Event Horizon Symphony won the third prize at the 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 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 an honourable mention at the International FMF Young Talent Composition Contest. In 2011 Opałka was chosen from 3000 candidates for Berlinale Talent Campus, and in 2014 he received the 'Best Music for Film' award at Be There! festival in Greece.

Opałka's music was performed at many renowned festivals and concerts in Poland and abroad (the USA, Mexico, South Korea, Germany, Slovakia, China, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and others), including such events as: Świętokrzyskie Days of Music (2005, 2014), Generations (2007, 2012), "Warsaw Autumn" – Concerts of the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers' Union (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), COM'IN (2008, 2009), Brucken Festival fur Neue Musik (Germany, 2009), "Four Seasons – Autumn" (2009), Festival of Young Composers "Chopin. Transgressions" (2010), "All Mazurkas of the World" (2010), Beijing Modern (China, 2011), "Musica Moderna" (2012), Warsaw Music Encounters (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018), Druskmanija (Lithuania, 2013), Provinzlarm (Germany, 2013), "Chain" (2013, 2014), NOSPR Festival of Premieres (2013, 2019), Wojciech Kilar Contemporary Music Festival (2014, 2016), World International Days of Music (2014), Contrasts (Ukraine, 2015) and others. At the commission of the Sacrum Profanum festival, he adapted Julius Eastman's work Evil Nigger for tripled string quartet. The piece was performed by the Arditti Quartet, among others, at the Sacrum Profanum festival in Kraków, then in Darmstadt and in Haddersfield (by the Arditti Quartet, Bozzini Quartet, Ligeti Quartet).

His works were commissioned by such institutions, as: Deutsche Oper Berlin, Polish Royal Opera, Calgary Philharmonic/Morningside Music Bridge, The Witold Lutosławski Society, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Polish Composers’ Union, The Royal Castle in Warsaw, New Music Orchestra, Sinfonietta Cracovia, The Centre for the Thought of John Paul II, Świętokrzyska Philharmonic, Gorzów PhilharmonicKalisz Philharmonic, Academy of Music in Kraków and Elbląg Chamber Orchestra. In 2013/14 Opałka was a composer in residence at the Gorzów Philharmonic.

He has collaborated with such orchestras as: Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (led by Michał Klauza), Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra (led by Krzysztof Słowiński), Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (led by Wojciech Michniewski, Łukasz Borowicz, Szymon Bywalec), New Music Orchestra (led by Szymon Bywalec), Baltic Neopolis Orchestra, Gorzów Philharmonic Orchestra (led by Monika Wolińska, Maciej Tworek, Zygmunt Rychert), Świętokrzyska Philharmonic Orchestra (led by Jacek Rogala, Mieczysław Gawroński), Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra (led by Michał Klauza), Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra (led by Adam Klocek), Lviv Virtuoso Orchestra (led by Roman Rewakowicz), the National Orchestra of Ukraine (led by Roman Rewakowicz), Sinfonietta Cracovia (led by Jurek Dybał), Slovak Radio Orchestra (led by Daniel Gazon), Musica Festiva Orchestra (led by Stanisław Krawczyński), Scontri Ensemble, Cracow Duo, ProModern, as well as such soloists as: Leszek Lorent, Janusz Wawrowski, Tadeusz Domanowski, Bartłomiej Duś, Katarzyna Duda, Jadwiga Czarkowska, Wojciech Herzyk, Maciej Frąckiewicz.

Opałka's works have been released on sixteen albums (Castello GT, POLMIC, Hudobny Centrum, Opus Series, Chopin University Press, Warner Classic). In 2016, the renowned record label Warner Classics released Opałka's monographic album EMERGE. The album contains four symphonic pieces, including Bass Clarinet Concerto and Symphony No. 2. The album received a number of enthusiastic reviews in the Polish and foreign press and a nomination for the International Classic Music Awards in the category "Best Contemporary Music Album".

In her book Sounds, Whispers, and Clashes (2013) Agnieszka Lewandowska-Kąkol described Opałka as one of the 16 most outstanding living Polish composers (and the only such young one) in between legendary artists, such as: Krzysztof Penderecki, Wojciech Kilar or Jerzy Maksymiuk, to mention just a few. Opałka is also one of the main characters of a documentary A few questions about hearing of the world Portraits of Composers (2013) directed by Maja Baczyńska.

In 2008-12 Opałka 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 a member of the Polish Composers' Union (acting as a member of the board in 2013-15). In 2007 he joined the ZAiKS Authors’ Assiociation.

updated: 2014 (ai), 2020 (ac)

Composer's website: www.opalkamusic.com


Tomasz Jakub Opałka is considered one of the most original composers of his generation, and yet one of the few young artists with such extensive experience in writing orchestral music. Vibrant narration, extraordinary sense of musical color, sophisticated orchestration ideas, and innovative explorations in harmonics (DNA – scales inspired by genetic code; Event Horizon – quartertone harmonics etc.) create unique sound, atmosphere and structure of Opałka’s music. The composer combines diverse influences and inspirations, yet he very strongly cut himself from both conceptualism and postmodernism. He is declared opponent of pre-compositional concepts, if created just for themselves, deprived of the real basis in essence and substance of the piece. His daring explorations are going far beyond theoretical trends. The main foundation is the creative intuition, combined with confident composing technique, care for structure, form, and narration of the composition.


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 * (2007)
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 * (2008)
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 * (2010)
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 * (2011)
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)
Crossroads for two accordions (2012/2019)
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)
HemiSphere for string orchestra (2013/2018)
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)
...lips to kiss... for vocal sextet (2015)
Music for the film Schronisko – Pies directed by Jarosław Szyszko (2015)
Music to radio play Inna Dusza produced by Barbara Marcinik (2015)
Music for the film In The Fog directed by Marcin Gajewski (2016)
Music for the film Bridging Urban America directed by Basia and Leonard Myszyński (2016)
Music for the film O, matko! directed by Paulina Ziółkowska (2016)
Music for the film Papa Bear directed by Michał Ostatkiewicz (2016)
Song of The Lute for soprano, bass, lute and string quartet (2016)
Black on White – musical for children directed by Paweł Paszta (2016)
Black Rainbows – concerto for saxophones and orchestra (2016/2019)
Black Streams – Concerto for accordion and string orchestra (2017)
Bridging Urban America Suite for cello, piano and orchestra (2017)
Dedication for soprano, flute, harpsichord and string quartet (2017)
Nivasi for bass clarinet, tuba, percussion, violin and cello (2017)
Music for the stage show Pustostan directed by Paweł Paszta (2017)
Music for the stage show Sign directed by Paweł Paszta (2017)
Music for the film Signs directed by Wojciech Klimala (2017)
Music for the film Silent Night directed by Paweł Paszta (2017)
Music for the film Elizabeth directed by Wojciech Klimala (2018)
Music for the film Footsteps Through The Past directed by Ignacy Szczepański (2018)
Music for the film Leaning Out directed by Basia and Leonard Myszyński (2018)
Afterglow – II Violin Concerto for violin and chamber orchestra (2018)
Hamlet – music for the stage show for 7 pianos, violin and electronics directed by Paweł Paszta (2018)
Lunula for string orchestra (2018)
Ars Moriendi – Requiem Giocoso – opera for soloists, choir and orchestra (2019)
Music for the stage show Alice in Wonderland directed by Paweł Paszta (2020)
Pakt 1920 for two brass orchestras (2020)
Hype for cello, piano and percussion (2020)