Joanna Kurkowicz

Joanna Kurkowicz

Lyell B. Clay Artist in Residence, Violin and Concertmaster, Berkshire Symphony

Bernhard Music Center
At Williams since 2002


M.M. J. Paderewski Conservatory of Music, Poland, Violin Performance (1992)
M.M. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Violin Performance (1994)
A.D. New England Conservatory, Boston, Violin Performance (1998)


Praised in Gramophone magazine for “disciplined virtuosity,” violinist Joanna Kurkowicz enjoys an active and versatile career as an award-winning soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and concertmistress. She has performed on many of the great concert stages of the world, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall, Boston and the Grosse Saal, Salzburg, and has appeared as a soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic,  Brussels Philharmonic, Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, the Jefferson Symphony, the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the New England String Ensemble, the Berkshire Symphony, the Poznan Philharmonic, the Polish National Radio Orchestra in Katowice and Warsaw, and others. She has received awards from the Samuel Chester, Presser, Saint Botolph, Kosciuszko, and Olevsky Foundations, the Harvard Musical Association, the Irving McKlein International Competition, the Carmel and Coleman Chamber Music Competitions, and in Poland, the Henryk Wieniawski and Tadeusz Wronski International Competitions. She was a recipient of the New England Conservatory Outstanding Alumni Award in 2008.

Ms. Kurkowicz currently serves as concertmistress of the Boston Philharmonic and the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, and previously held the same post for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Vermont Symphony. She was a member of the acclaimed Metamorphosen and Orpheus Chamber Orchestras. Since the fall of 2002 she has been Artist in Residence at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, recently joined the faculty at Tufts University, she served on faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music. An avid and sought-after chamber musician, she has collaborated with such eminent artists as Jaime Laredo, Charles Treger,  Masuko Ushioda and Laurence Lesser . She was a founding member and Artistic Advisor of the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston and the Plymouth Chamber Music Festival. As a guest artist, she has participated in the Mozarteum Festival in Salzburg, the Ravinia Festival, Barge Concert Series (NY), the Asia Pacific Festival in Wellington, New Zealand, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival,  the Orford Music Festival, the EuroSilesia International Music Festival, International Music Academy Orpheus in Vienna, the Warsaw Music Gardens Festival and the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society. Respected pedagogue, Joanna Kurkowicz held masterclasses both in Europe and the US.

Ms. Kurkowicz is a strong advocate of contemporary music; she has premiered works by Gunther Schuller, Ralph Shapey, Poul Ruders, Robert Groslot, John McDonald, David Kechley, Grazyna Bacewicz and others.Her premiere recording of Robert Groslot Violin Concerto with the Brussels Philharmonic was released in August 2018.  In November 2014 she premiered Ileana Perez Velazquez’s Violin Concerto with the Berkshire Symphony in Williamstown, MA. Her World premiere of Shirish Korde’s Violin Concerto with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra met with enthusiastic response. Subsequent performances in Europe and New Zealand were equally well received, and the United States premiere with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra was a highlight of the 2007-2008 concert season.

In August 2009 Joanna Kurkowicz released a recording of the Violin Concertos No. 1, 3 and 7 of Grazyna Bacewicz, with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra under conductor Lukasz Borowicz on the Chandos label. It was #6 on the 25 Best Classical Albums of 2009 and has received worldwide acclaim, including the prestigious Diapason d’Or Award (March 2010). The recording was  nominated for the “Preis der Deutchen Schallplatten Kritik 2009” (the German Record Critics Award), as well as Poland’s most important music recording award “Fryderyk 2010.” Volume 2 of the Bacewicz Violin Concertos was released in July 2011. Her previous CD of Bacewicz’ music for violin and piano, also released on Chandos Records, was praised in Fanfare magazine as a “spectacular release” and in International Record Review for “passion, authority and sheer élan,” and received equally enthusiastic reviews in the Strad magazine, American Record Guide, and Muzyka21. Her Bridge Records release featuring music of Alfred Schnittke was noted in the Strad for “strong impact… her playing holds one enthralled, demonstrating strong personality and assured technique,” and was chosen by the Boston Herald as “Best of Year 2001.” Ms. Kurkowicz can also be heard on the  Naxos, Centaur, CRI, Capstone, Albany, New World Records, Neuma and Archetype labels. Her Boston premiere of sonatas by Rebecca Clarke was listed in the Boston Globe “Best Concerts of 2000.”

A native of Lublin, Poland, Joanna Kurkowicz earned a Master of Music Degree with distinction from the Paderewski Conservatory of Music in Poznan, Poland, in the studio of Jadwiga Kaliszewska. She came to the United States in 1992 to complete a second Master of Music degree as a student and teaching assistant of Charles Treger at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Ms. Kurkowicz completed the prestigious Artist Diploma Program at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Masuko Ushioda. Joanna Kurkowicz plays on a Petrus Guarnerius violin dated from 1699.

Faculty Recital Sep 25, 2020, Joanna Kurkowicz, violin; Doris Stevenson, piano
Bach and Beyond, lecture
Bach and Beyond, recital
Paganini Marathon Project, 2020
Joanna Kurkowicz and Friends, 2021 


D. Kechley “At The Dragon’s Gate”, Innova, 2021
R. Groslot “Violin Concerto” Brussels Philharmonic, Naxos, 2018
S. Andrews ”And thet moment when the bird sings.” Navona, 2018
D. Kechley “Darkening Images” (music by D. Kechley to be released in 2015)
J. McDonald “Airy.” Bridge Records, 2013
G. Bacewicz “Violin Concertos No.2, 4 and 5.” Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Chandos 2011)
G. Bacewicz “Violin Concertos No.1, 3 and 7.” Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Chandos 2009)
L. McLoskey “Sixth Species.” (Albany 2008)
S. Korde “Svara–Yantra.” National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Chandos Online 2006)
G. Bacewicz “Polish Capriccio.” Works for Violin and Piano (Chandos 2004)
A. Schnittke “Quasi una Sonata.” Works for Violin and Piano (Bridge 2000)
A. Berger Serenade Concertante. Boston Modern Orchestra Project (New World Record 2003)
B. White “Apocryphal Stories.” (Albany Records 2004)
Ralf Yusuf Gawlick “Sonic images.” (Capstone Records 2003)
M. Peyton Songs from Walt Whitman. (Centaur 1997)
F. Mendelssohn “Early Symphonies. “Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra (Archetype Records 1999)

world premiere recordings

D. Kechley “ At the Drago’s Gate”, Innova 2021
R. Groslot “Violin Concerto.” Naxos, 2018
S. Andrews ”And thet moment when the bird sings.” Navona, 2018
J. McDonald “Airy.” Bridge Records, 2013
G. Bacewicz “Violin Concerto No.3.” Chandos 2009
L. McLoskey “Sixth Species.” Albany 2008
S. Korde “Svara–Yantra.” Violin Concerto. Chandos 2006
S. Korde “Cranes Dancing.” Chandos 2006
G. Bacewicz “Capriccio.” Chandos 2004

reviews and featured articles

Gramophone, Strad, International Record Review, Fanfare, Guardian, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Boston Phoenix, Independent, La Scena Musicale, Suddeutche Zeitung, Muzyka 21, Ruch Muzyczny, Dziennik Polski (NY), American Record Guide, Gazeta Wyborcza, Stylus, Berkshire Eagle, Harmonie, Polityka, Rzeczpospolita, White Eagle, Newsweek Poland, Fono Forum, Records International, Tempo, Przeglad.