top of page
Henryk Sztompka.jpg

Henryk Sztompka

audio/video link

April 1,1901 Bogusławka koło Łucka, Wołyń - June 21,1964 Kraków

Polish pianist and pedagogue. He studied the piano with Antoni Sygietyński in the Warsaw Music Institute and then in the Warsaw Conservatory with Józef Turczyński where he graduated with honours in 1926. Between 1921-22 he studied also at the Institute of Philosophy at the Warsaw University.

On the 24th of October 1926 he made his debut in the Warsaw Philharmonic where he performed the Piano Concerto No. 2 in c minor by S. Rachmaninoff. A year after he took part in the first International Chopin Piano Competition and received the prize from the Polish Radio for the best interpretation of Chopin's mazurkas. In 1928 he went to Paris and became the student of Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

On the 24th of January 1932 Sztompka made his debut in Paris performing the Polish Fantasie by Paderewski with the accompaniment of the Orchestra Cologne conducted by Gabriel Pierné.

On the 8th of December 1932 he performed a very successful recital with the works by Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin.

Between 1933-39 he gave concerts in Poland invited by Karol Szymanowski, Grzegorz Fitelberg and the Polish Radio. He performed also abroad in London where he made his debut with the Chopin recital in Grotrian Hall on 9th of March 1934, Paris, Moscow, Brussels, Liverpool, Hague, Rotterdam, Bucarest and Sofia.

He cooperated with such artists as Ewa Bandrowska-Turska (soprano), Stanisława Korwin-Szymanowska (soprano), Jan Kiepura (tenor), Eugenia Umińska (violin).

Between 1936 and 1939 he was the headmaster of the piano class in the Conservatory of the Pomerania Music Society in Toruń, and during the occupation he was teaching in secret.

After the World War 2 he returned on the stages in Poland and took also few concert tours abroad,

performing in England, Austria, Belgum, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Island, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, Hungary, Holland and Russia. All his performances earned the esteem of the public and the critics.

The basis of Sztompka's repertoire was the music of Chopin, for the interpretation of which he was very highly valued. He performed also the works of Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Szymanowski and Paderewski.

In 1957 he recorded, for the company Polskie Nagrania, complete collection of the Mazurkas and Nocturnes by Chopin. Very valuable are also his recordings of the Polonaise in e flat minor, Op. 26 (1932, 1949) and Preludes by Chopin, Polish Fantasy by Paderewski and the Piano Concerto in c minor by Rachmaninoff. At the same time he was also very active as a pedagogue.


On October 17, 1945, he was part of the official commemoration of the return of Chopin's heart to the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw. On the journey to Warsaw, the entourage stopped at Chopin's birthplace, Zelazowa Wola, and Stompka played a short concert as part of the ceremony. Between 1945 and 1964 he was teaching the piano at the Music High School in Kraków, in 1957 he became the headmaster of the department of the Piano, and from 1957 to 1963 vice-chancellor of the Kraków School. Among his students were Regina Smendzianka, Joachim Gudel, Andrzej Kurylewicz, Karol Tarnowski, Maria Korecka and Tania Achot-Haroutounian - later 3rd prize winner in the 6th International Chopin Piano Competition in 1960.

He was a member of the jury of international piano competitions: Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1949, 1955, 1960; Marguerite Long and Jacques Thibaud in Paris in 1953, 1955, 1959, 1963, in Rio de Janeiro in 1957, José Vianna da Motta in Lisbon in 1957, in Monaco in 1959 and 1960, Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958 and 1962, in Vercella in 1960 and in Geneva in 1962.

bottom of page