While all these statements describe Aleksandra Mikulska’s playing, her art is perhaps best encapsulated by the phrase: sincerity and intimacy. In her concerts, the charismatic pianist lifts the curtain on new and unfamiliar worlds and aims to move her listeners – whether with the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt or her compatriot Frédéric Chopin, with whom she feels a particularly strong connection – through her utter absorption in the music.
Growing up in Warsaw, Chopin’s home city, Aleksandra Mikulska developed an intense love of the composer’s piano music while still a child. Having, in her early years, followed the International Chopin Piano Competition on television, with scarcely room for a piano in the family’s tenth-floor apartment in a prefabricated block, she went on to win the special award for the best Polish female pianist in the 2005 contest.
Seeking freedom and new interpretative stimuli, Aleksandra Mikulska was drawn for her musical training initially to Mannheim and from there to Karlsruhe (where she studied for her degree under Peter Eicher), Imola in Italy (Lazar Berman, Michel Dalberto) and back to Hanover in Germany (Arie Vardi). She also drew significant inspiration from masterclasses with Diane Andersen, Kevin Kenner, Andrzej Jasinski and Lev Natochenny. Aleksandra Mikulska describes giving concerts as her passion. She has appeared with renowned orchestras under the batons of Michael Sanderling, Pawel Przytocki, Kaspar Zehnder, Johannes Schlaefli, Stefan Fraas, Philippe Bach and other well-known conductors – notably at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Brucknerhaus in Linz and the Tonhalle in Zurich. She is also a regular guest at international festivals such as the MDR Musiksommer, the Liszt Festival Raiding, the Bodenseefestival, the Usedom Music Festival and the Styriarte.
An issue particularly close to Aleksandra Mikulska’s heart is German-Polish cooperation. As President of the Chopin Society in Darmstadt, she is committed to fostering the up-and-coming generation of musicians and to promoting the rediscovery of less-well-known composers from her home country. She also brings her polish roots to bear by performing the music of composers such as Julian Fontana, Miłosz Magin, Artur Malawski and Karol Szymanowski, which is rarely played in Germany.
In addition to the solo repertoire to which she is first and foremost devoted, Aleksandra Mikulska also, at a young age, discovered an interest in chamber music – including Johannes Brahms’s violin and cellos sonatas and the piano concertos of Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, which she enjoys approaching in experimental arrangements for smaller ensembles. She also has a strong interest in Polish and German Romantic lieder.
On her latest album, Reflections, released by GENUIN classics, Aleksandra Mikulska brings together two key works of the Romantic repertoire for piano: the B minor sonatas of Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt.
Aleksandra Mikulska is Professor of Piano at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden.