Adam Makowicz: The Man and His Music

Now living in Toronto, Canada, Adam Makowicz was one of the leading pianists in Europe by the 1970’s. Eschewing the classical music that his communist government prefered, Makowicz stayed true to his passion of jazz music.

 

Beginnings

Mackowicz, born Adam Matyszkowicz in Hnojnik during World War II.  At the beginning of WWII, Nazi Germany annexed Hnojnik (Gnojnik), which is now part of the Czech Republic. After the war ended, Mackowicz was raised in Poland.  After studying classical music at the Chopin Conservation of Music in Krakow, Mackowicz choose to create a unique path.

 

Jazz

After the war, he studied classical music before, at 15, he realized his passion for modern jazz. Because he lived in a communist society, the freedom and improvisation of jazz was not an approved entertainment. Despite these trials, Mackowicz switched from classical music (which was his parents’ dream for him) to become a touring jazz pianist and eventually made a home for himself at the Helicon in Krakow.  In the 70’s, Mackowicz became one of the leading players in Europe, voted “Best Jazz Pianist” by Jazz Forum magazine readers for six years in a row, and received the Officer’s Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland.

 

Makowicz and Tomasz Stanko formed “Jazz Darings,” which was the first European jazz combo. His first trip to the U.S. came in 1977 in the form of a 10-week tour. The following year, he made Manhattan his home. New England’s best – including the Newport Jazz Festival, Greenwich Village Cookery Club and the Carnegie Hall – played host to the jazz virtuoso.

 

Ex-Pat

Mackowicz was born in 1940 in Hnojnik, Czechoslovakia to Polish parents.

After World War II, he returned to Poland with his parents.

In 1978, Mackowicz relocated to New York.

December 13, 1981 saw Martial Law declared in Poland in order to crush the Solidarity Movement. The Solidarity Movement was a Polish trade union federation and a great threat to the communist leaders of the time. In order to show his support for the people of his country, Mackowicz and other important Polish artists on the film “Let Poland Be Poland.” The United States Information Agency backed the film, at the urging of President Ronald Reagan. In addition to Mackowicz, union leaders, other exiled artists and officials, and a number of celebrities contributed to the film, which was seen – parts of or in whole – by an estimated 185 million viewers worldwide.  

During the beginning of the second millenium, he relocated to Toronto, Canada and has lived there since.

 

Influences

Mackowicz has recorded dozens of songs in styles ranging from classical to bop to jazz. He has worked with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., at Carnegie Hall, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, at the Kennedy Centre and at the French Embassy. He has recorded more than 30 albums of jazz and classical music, along with his original compositions. His major influence is Chopin.

 

Sources: Wikipedia, All About Jazz

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