Joanna Freszel graduated from the Vocal Studies and Song Department, Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, Warsaw, under Professor J. Rappé. She is a recipient of two Polish Ministry of Education scholarships, a beneficiary of the Pro Polonia programme and the ISA2012 programme. She was awarded a Młoda Polska scholarship and a Magna Cum Laude medal for the best graduate of her alma mater (2013). She currently studies for her PhD. In 2017 she was nominated for the Korfeusz Award and won a Paszport Polityki.
The artist won a range of prizes and distinctions in singing competitions at home and abroad, including: second prize in the Halina Halska-Fijałkowska competition in Wrocław, third prize and a special award in the Karol Szymanowski competition in Łódź, first prize and three special awards in the J. J. and E. Reszke competition in Częstochowa, special award in the Belvedere Competition in Vienna, and first prize together with a special award in the J:opera Voice Competition ISA’12 in Frankfurt. She was also a finalist of the Viotti competition in Vercella.
She appeared at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music (2010, 2015, 2016, 2017), Contrechamps Festival in Geneva, Saaremaa Opera Days in Estonia, Melos-Étos in Bratislava, and 7 Trends and 7 Premieres Festival marking 70 years of the Polish Composers’ Union. In 2011 she performed a recital in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and made her debut as Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème (Poland), Vénus and Phrygienne in Rameau’s Dardanus (Ireland, UK), and Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte (Poland, Italy).
She sang Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust with the Estonian National Opera, Machine in Wołek’s Threads at the National Forum of Music in Wrocław, Susanna in Langer’s Figaro Gets a Divorce at the Poznań Opera House, and Psyche in Różycki Eros and Psyche with the Polish National Opera.
Freszel successfully performs music from all epochs, yet specialises in contemporary pieces, in particular Haubenstock-Ramati Credentials or Think, Think Lucky, Mykietyn’s Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and Stravinsky’s Les Noces. She has performed more than a dozen of world premieres, including Pärt’s Stabat Mater, Nikodijević’s Sadness Untitled, Bianchi’s Primordia Rerum, Caine’s In Memoriam, and Knapik’s Canticum Puerorum.
She has performed with orchestras such as NOSPR, Sinfonia Iuventus, the Beethoven Academy Orchestra (Poland), Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra, Kraków Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Silesian Philharmonic, Świętokrzyska Philharmonic Orchestra, Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra, Capella Bydgostiensis, New Music Orchestra, AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy, Orkestr de Ereprijs, Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik, Symphonic Orchestra Camerata Viva, singing under conductors such as Jerzy Maksymiuk, Gabriel Chmura, Jacek Kaspszyk, Krzesimir Dębski, Jerzy Salwarowski, Marek Moś, Paul Esswood, Wim Boerman, Szymon Bywalec, Tadeusz Strugała, Jacek Rogala, Adam Klocek, Arturo Tamayo, and Michał Dworzyński.
She toured Ukraine performing Lutosławski’s Chantefleurs et chantefables together with the philharmonic orchestras of Lviv, Odessa, Chernihiv, Donetsk, and Dnipropetrovsk.
In 2015 she released her debut album real life song (DUX) featuring original pieces written for her by young Polish composers: M. Bebinow, A. Kościow, R. Janiak, A. Zubel, S. Zamuszka, A. Borzym Jr, J. Szmytka, and K. Szwed. In 2016 the album was nominated for two Fryderyk Awards and an Orphée d’Or.
(photo: Anna Konieczna-Purchała)