“A pianist to watch.”
New York Classical Review
“A dashing pianist.”
The Sunday Times
Polish-Canadian pianist Daniel Vnukowski (pronounced Vnoo-koff’-skee) has toured throughout Europe, North America, South America and Asia. He has performed with many orchestras, including the Polish Radio Orchestra, Orchestra Now (TON), Sinfonia Varsovia, Windsor Symphony, Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana, Sinfonia Iuventus, Poznan Philharmonic, Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic with conductors such as Leon Botstein, Ariel Zuckermann, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Alain Trudel, Jacek Kasprzyk and David Amos.
He has also taken part in numerous International Festivals such as Chopin and His Europe in Warsaw, Poland; Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy and Chopiniana in Buenos Aires, Argentina and lectures at universities and institutes around the world, including University of California San Diego, Georgian Triangle Lifelong Learning Institute, Queens College CUNY, University of Toronto, University of Windsor and Tsinghua University in Beijing. In 2020, Mr. Vnukowski continues his cross-continental lecture recital series on Holocaust music at universities throughout the world.
With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vnukowski’s virtual live streaming project from home has made waves internationally, and reached over half a million viewers. The livestreams have been endorsed by Fazioli Pianoforte and featured on NPR Radio, Classical FM, Ludwig Van Toronto and BBC Music Magazine playlists.
Since 2019, Mr. Vnukowski has frequently performed the music of Karol Rathaus, a Weimar-era composer whose music came to his attention in 2016 through his work with Exil.Arte, a Vienna-based organization whose mission is to restore ‘degenerate” music. In February 2019, Mr. Vnukowski performed the composer’s Piano Concerto with The Orchestra Now conducted by Leon Botstein, as part of a Rathaus Festival presented by the Copland School of Music at Queens College, where Rathaus was on faculty and made his sold-out Weill Hall recital at Carnegie Hall debut in a program that included the composer’s Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 20.
For these performances, Mr. Vnukowski was called “a formidable pianist” (ConcertoNet) and “a pianist to watch” (New York Classical Review). His latest recording of the solo piano music of Karol Rathaus presented world-premiere recordings and garnered many positive reviews: “Vnukowski plays with sympathetic understanding” – Limelight Magazine (July 2019); “Vnukowski communicates the emotions within the music.” – Fanfare Magazine (Issue 43:1 – Sept/Oct 2019); “played to the hilt” – American Record Guide (July/August). This album was also featured in many interviews during a cross-country radio tour on various U.S. radio stations such as NPR, TPR, WBAA, and WOSU. Mr. Vnukowski will also be featured in a documentary on Karol Rathaus produced by Lev Deych & Michael Haas.
Since 2019, Mr. Vnukowski has performed a cross-country, community outreach tour throughout Canada from Fort Nelson, B.C. to Corner Brook, NL. The tour began in early 2019, with a visit to Canada’s Western provinces, organized by Piano Six Artists and ended later that year with a tour of Canada’s Atlantic provinces – Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, organized by Debut Atlantic. In November 2019, Mr. Vnukowski also performed in the first-ever fundraiser for the Africville Museum in Halifax, NS., featuring the music of Black composers such as Florence B. Price, Zenobia P. Perry, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington.
Past Touring Experiences
Daniel Vnukowski inaugurated the 2017 year in Warsaw, Poland as a special guest at the National Philharmonic Hall, performing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” under the direction of Jerzy Maksymiuk. The concert was broadcast live on television and a commercial DVD recording was made available. On May 5 of that year, he performed at the Austrian Parliament in remembrance of Holocaust victims targeted by Nazi Germany. This deeply, meaningful event was broadcast live on Austrian television for ORF-2.
During the 2015-2016 season, Daniel Vnukowski performed a solo piano recital tour in China. He also performed a recently discovered piano concerto written by a Polish-Jewish composer, Jozef Koffler, who had died during the Holocaust. This performance was recorded live in Warsaw, Poland, with Sinfonia Iuventus under the direction of Krzysztof Slowinski and released on commercial CD by the EDA record label in February 2018.
During the years 2013-2014, Mr. Vnukowski recorded and edited the complete piano works of Walter Arlen, an Austrian composer who had escaped the Holocaust, for the Austrian record label Gramola and publisher Doblinger. He is the recipient of numerous scholarships and grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and private foundations for promoting the works of exiled Jewish composers of the early 20th century including Szymon Laks, Karol Rathaus, Józef Koffler, Władysław Szpilman and Viktor Ullmann.
In May 2011, his all-Liszt recital was recorded and broadcasted over European and U.S. radio stations. In the beginning of 2010, he inaugurated the Chopin year in Poznań, Poland, together with Metropolitan Opera Soprano Aleksandra Kurzak and was chosen as a Samling Scholar. In May of that same year, he performed a special recital in Tokyo, Japan, to commemorate the unveiling of a new Chopin monument in that city. This also led to a debut in Singapore, in the hall of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. His outdoor concert at the Singapore Botanic Gardens received rousing ovations by a crowd of close to 10,000 people.
Outreach Activities & Education
Dedicated to giving back to the country that nurtured him as an artist, Mr. Vnukowski was awarded a grant from the Canadian & Ontario Arts Councils to perform outreach concerts for remote, rural communities in Canada together with five other pianists in a project entitled “Piano Six – New Generation”. In October 2019, Mr. Vnukowski hosted a highly-acclaimed gala concert in collaboration with Music Toronto at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts to celebrate the program’s first year of touring. This event included a specially-commissioned work by Kevin Lau written for six pianists. Since November 1, 2021, Mr. Vnukowski has been radio announcer of the Classical Jukebox on the New Classical FM, the only full-time classical radio station in English-speaking Canada. Visit ClassicalFM.ca for more information.
In 2019, Mr. Vnukowski also founded the Collingwood Summer Music Festival to bring over 100 high-calibre, performers to the charming Southern Georgian Bay area in Ontario each summer. The festival will celebrate its second season in 2021. Visit CollingwoodFestival.com for more information.
Mr. Vnukowski was trained at the Lake Como International Piano Academy in Italy, where he worked with distinguished artists such as Dmitri Bashkirov, Menahem Pressler, Claude Frank, Fou Ts’ong, John Perry and William Grant Naboré; at the Peabody Institute of Baltimore under the guidance of Leon Fleisher; and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with Graham Johnson and Ronan O’Hora.
Note: Vnukowski is an anglicized version of the original Polish name Wnukowski