Igor Iwanek is a composer and explorer of music at the crossroads between genres and cultures; Western Classical, New Art Music, Indian Classical, Afro-Cuban
Acclaimed at international competitions, rooted in the Western tradition of Bach and Scriabin, Igor Iwanek's eclectic works of acoustic and electronic nature stand at the crossroads between genres and cultures. Iwanek draws inspiration from high energy of Afro-Cuban dance music tradition as well as seductively moody world of Hindustani Ragas.
His piano work Black is the Colour of My Soul recently won the Third Prize at the International Senzoku Contemporary Composition Competition in Japan. Iwanek's music was featured in the closing concert event of Artweek Boston 2014. Currently Igor is working on a number of chamber music commissions as well as a work for harmonium and electronics. A set of piano pieces, Three Mazurki won a special prize at the International Paderewski Composition Competition in Poland.
The composer is also a versatile and seasoned educator whose teaching career took him to such renowned places as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University School of Music. Currently he teaches undergraduate and graduate harmony courses at Jackson State University
Igor has been extremely fortunate to share his music with and have it enriched by a wide array of magnificent musicians . His sincere thanks go to such artists and groups as the Arditti String Quartet, Amber Flute Quartet, Ellipsis Trio (as a part of artist residency program at Avaloch Farm Music Institute) , Jack Quartet, Alea III, Boston University Symphony Orchestra, Maxwell-Belsky Piano Duo, Xanthos Ensemble, saxophonist Ken Radnofsky, cellists David Cruz, Ming-Hui Lin and Masanori Taniguchi, violinist Klaudia Szlachta, Aija Reke and Tudor Dornescu, violist Chen Lin and Lilit Muradyan, flutist Elzbieta Brandys , harpist Tomina Parvanova and pianists Maja Tremiszewska and Jennifer Maxwell among others. He is a composer in residence with the Boston Chamber Orchestra.
As a performer and left handed pianist, Igor has been arranging standard piano literature, adapting it for the five fingers of the left hand alone. The inspiration for this sort of undertaking came from the romantic virtuoso-composer, Franz Liszt who said: 'demand the impossible to find out all that is possible'. Among Igor's arrangements one can find selections from Bach's 'Art of Fugue', Scriabin and Chopin etc. Currently Igor is in the process of preparing his arrangements for publication.
His non-western musical influences include a fascination for Indian Classical music. Igor enjoys devoting his time to the study of traditional Indian musical compositions – ragas, using the portable reed organ known as the harmonium. His community enrichment class at Millsaps College initiated an ongoing bi-weekly project called 'Music and Mysticism' in which Iwanek introduces the audience to Indian classical music as well as the rich philosophy behind it in a series of lecture-recitals. Donations from Music and Mysticism are given in full to the earthquake ridden orphanage in Nepal – Bal Sarathi where street urchins find shelter, education and hope for the future.
Good music has always had something of an erotic experience for me. For example, whenever I hear the opening of Scriabin’s “Prometheus,” I melt. The feeling of all the particles in my body starting to live their own separate existence is quite overwhelming. So, yes, I’m addicted to certain sonorities.
People often ask me why I chose to become a composer. First of all, I never became one; I’m constantly in the process of becoming one (this idea was very prominent in the writings of Kierkegaard, who claimed that one is not a Buddhist or a Christian, but that one becomes that every day, by implementing the respective values in daily life). In the case of music composition, with each piece I try write to the best of my ability, which sometimes is good, at other times not good enough. However, by earnestly trying, I overcome some of the obstacles and with each such experience become a better human being, or so I hope.
There are few rewards along the thorny path of self discovery through music composition. The ones that exist, however, are quite incredible. To be able to sit down repeatedly and for long hours with the score of Bach’s Kunst der Fuge, a poem of late Scriabin, Tristan Murial’s Territoires de l’oubli, or any other piece of music that left an indelible impression on me and to try to find out what the composer did in order to make that happen is a privilege and a treat in itself. The beauty lies in the fact that these people communicate their deepest thoughts and emotions through the pages of their music and it is there for all of us to learn from and discover. In the end, what can be better than taking a composition “lesson” from Bach… At its best, such experiences have some mystical, transcendental quality of a communion, in which all the pieces of the musical microcosm fall into place and, for a moment, you have the feeling that you understand the mysteries and secrets of life.
Describe your music
piano, left hand alone originals and arrangements
solo works with electronics
Left hand piano music - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crIxkA9RZ14
Solo cello selections - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2yFEpwMkug