• Polish pianist becomes first Baylor student to win prestigious piano competition

    Cezary Karwowski at the piano

    In 2019, Dr. Bradley Bolen traveled from Waco to Austria to teach a masterclass and judge a piano competition. There, he met Cezary Karwowski, a talented and aspiring concert pianist. Before Bolen left, Karwowski asked if he could study under him — and of course the answer was an emphatic “yes!”

    Three years later, Karwowski is now finishing up his master’s in piano performance at Baylor, and he’s just become the first Baylor student to win the Music Teachers National Young Artist Award in Piano — the most rigorous piano competition in the country.

    “This award means a lot to me, especially because of the national recognition I have received and the amount of preparation and work I put in it,” says Karwowski. “I’m very proud that I could represent Baylor, and grateful that I could become a small part of Baylor history.”

    Karwowski was raised in Poland and first touched a piano at the age of seven. He grew up refining his craft at various music schools, and he says he never wished he’d chosen another career path. “My life has been extremely privileged. The support of my parents, teachers and friends has truly helped me become a better artist,” he says. “I can’t believe how many wonderful people I have met and the many unique experiences this journey has given me.” [See Karwowski play below:]

    Since coming to Baylor, Karwowski has entered a few competitions, earning honorable mention in the prestigious Los Angeles International Liszt Competition and placing first in Baylor’s Concerto Competition just last month.

    “Cezary is not only an extremely talented pianist, but perhaps more importantly, a first-class human being,” says Bolen. “He is a joy to teach. I’m so glad I met him on that trip to Austria.”

    Moving forward, Karwowski plans to complete a second degree at Baylor, an artist diploma in piano performance, and apply for a DMA program in the United States. He hopes to have a long career as a concert pianist, traveling, performing and teaching around the world.

    “The most rewarding part of playing piano is performing on stage and sharing my gift with other people,” says Karwowski. “After countless hours spent in the practice room, seeing people genuinely moved or inspired brings me a lot of joy.”

    Sic ’em, Cezary Karwowski!