The following interview by Jonathan Everitt appeared on his blog “Originals” featurings profiles of creative professionals from Upstate New York.
It was serendipity, he says, that brought him to Rochester.
“Or, if you wish, a chain of lucky events,” adds the pianist from Poland.
Eight years ago, at his high school in Tarnow, Igor heard that a theatrical director from the University at Buffalo was at a theatre across the street, looking for a pianist to play a role of a young musician in his upcoming play, Paderewski’s Children. The play was about a Polish composer.
Igor introduced himself to the director, played the piano for him, and was cast in the role. He arrived in Buffalo in February 2004 to prepare for the play.
“A day before the dress rehearsal, a friend of mine took me to Rochester to visit Eastman School of Music,” Igor says.
While visiting Eastman, he met the chair of the school’s piano department, who encouraged him to join the school’s summer piano festival.
So, Igor came back to the U.S. for the entire summer. The following year, he auditioned and was accepted at Eastman as a piano performance major.
“The rest is the history,” Igor says. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in 2009 and finished his Master’s Degree this year.
His studies have helped him fine-tune another passion, too: Igor is an accomplished magician who’s been entertaining audiences since his teen years.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I was fascinated by magic,” Igor says.
“I actually learned English in order to read books about magic since there wasn’t enough literature written in Polish.”
For his Senior Project at Eastman, Igor even combined music and magic. And after a successful premiere in 2009, he took his one-man show on the road. During each performance, he invites audience members to the stage when he performs, incorporating sleight-of-hand card tricks into his concert.
“You may hear tango music or Liszt or Chopin mingled with illusions, everything to provide not only auditory, but also visually memorable experience for my audience,” Igor says.
He recently premiered the show in his native Poland, his first performance there in five years. He hopes to go back for more this fall.
As if he didn’t have enough to write home about in his time living in the U.S., Igor has also recorded an album of original work, titled Letters. Each is sweet, often sad, and all are filled with ineffable stories.
“(The album) literally features letters I have never sent,” Igor says.
“I wrote my first ‘musical letter’ when I was still in high school. The music is usually a reaction to a special event or an important person I have met in my life.”
Letters with a signature you can hear. Now that’s magic.