Welcome to the website of Kaja Nowak, Polish violinist based in Brussels.

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21 September 2021 This week, on September 24th in Brussels, the Karski Quartet will perform alongside Philippe Graffin in a concert-lecture in which an exciting new musical discovery will be presented: the Poème concertant by Eugène Ysaÿe. The Karskis will join Philippe Graffin and Çağıl Cansu Şanlıdağ for a performance of the Poème by Ernest Chausson, in an unusual chamber arrangement for violin solo, piano and string quartet. Xavier Falques and Marie Cornaz will join the musicians to give short introductory talks about the pieces. This concert will also be the launch of the Traces Festival 2021/22 artistic season!

21 June 2021 This week Diede Verpoest, the violist of the Karski Quartet, is featured in Klara Radio's De Twintigers, a series of broadcasts presenting twenty Belgian musicians in their twenties to celebrate Klara's 20 years of existence. One of the broadcasts is a live concert recorded by the Karskis at VRT, with Debussy, Mendelssohn, Webern and a beautifully arranged folk tune on the menu. To watch the concert, click here and to listen to Diede's interviews, click here.

17 June 2021 Kaja Nowak has been awarded the Prix Georges Octors! Created to promote artistic talent and engagement in social issues, the award commemorates Georges Octors, an exceptional Belgian violinist and conductor, born to a Congolese mother and a Belgian father in 1923 in Belgian Congo and deceased in June 2020 in Brussels. Read more about Georges Octors and the prize here (French).

b i o g r a p h y

Polish violinist Kaja Nowak performs across Europe as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Highlights of the 2021/22 season include performances at Flagey in Brussels and the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ during the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam with the Karski Quartet, and the premiere of a new CD album with music by Enescu, Ravel and Debussy, recorded with Philippe Graffin and Traces Festival Ensemble.

Having made her concerto debut with the Rzeszów Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland at the age of thirteen, Kaja has since appeared with orchestras in Poland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, performing under the baton of renowned conductors such as Wojciech Rajski or Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk. As a chamber musician, she has collaborated with artists such as Ivry Gitlis, Philippe Graffin, Jean-Marc Philips Varjabedian, Gary Hoffman, Nobuko Imai or Christian Ivaldi among others, as well as with many exciting musicians of her generation. She is regularly invited to perform at chamber music festivals including Schiermonnikoog, Consonances, Musique de Chambre a Giverny, Resonances, Midis-Minimes, Rome Chamber Music Festival, Musiq3 Festival, Ysaÿe's Knokke; she has also participated in the Open Chamber Music sessions at IMS Prussia Cove in the UK. Kaja has performed chamber music in venues such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Anton Philipszaal in The Hague, or Flagey in Brussels, and has toured in Brazil, appearing in a series of concerts in and around Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte together with the Brazilian pianist Gian Ponte.

Kaja is a laureate of several Polish competitions in solo as well as ensemble categories; the recipient of the Stage Personality prize, awarded upon her graduation from the Master programme in the Royal Conservatory in The Hague for her original and expressive music-making; and the Prix Georges Octors, awarded to outstanding young musicians who at the same time show community engagement and commitment to protect public values. She is also a member of award winning ensembles, the Karski Quartet (Grand Prix at the 4th International Music Competition „Triomphe de l’Art” in Brussels), and the St. George Quintet, laureate of Supernova 2016 (competition co-organised by the Belgian classical music radio station Klara), praised by The Strad magazine for their „expressive fluency and phrasing”. With these two groups she has performed in festivals such as Midis-Minimes, Iedereen Klassiek, Klarafestival, Lake District Summer Music, Grachtenfestival, Ysaÿe's Knokke and Schiermonnikoog, as well as in various concert venues in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK.

Kaja's discography includes two CD albums recorded with the St. George Quintet, both critically acclaimed by the international music press, and a world premiere recording of Frederick Septimus Kelly's String Trio, released digitally in January 2020. The recordings of Karski Quartet and St. George Quintet, as well as its offshoot, the Septimus Trio, have been broadcast by classical music radio stations such as the British BBC3, Dutch Radio4, and Belgian Musiq3 and Klara. A new release is planned for december 2021: À la Valse, with Enescu's Octet for strings and a new transcription of Ravel's La Valse for string nonet, recorded with a small string ensemble led by the renowned French violinist Philippe Graffin.

Kaja studied with Konstanty Andrzej Kulka in Warsaw and with Philippe Graffin in The Hague and Brussels. Her first teachers in her hometown of Łańcut, Poland, were Valentina Gorodiskaya and Robert Naściszewski. Kaja also owes a lot to Helen Brunner, whose masterclass at the yearly Zenon Brzewski International Music Courses in Łańcut she attended many times, first as student and later as interpreter and assistant. She now lives in Brussels and plays on a violin made by Andrew Fairfax in 2012.

  © 2021 by Kaja Nowak. Photos used on website: © Pierre Eyben. Motto: "You are the music while the music lasts." ~ T.S. Eliot