Iwona Boesche

Iwona Boesche was born in Kluczbork, Poland on 23rd February 1971. Her parents were keen music lovers and had always encouraged their two daughters, Dorota and Iwona, to learn an instrument; so – at the age of seven – Iwona – having to restrict her choice to a violin, woodwind instrument, trumpet, piano, accordion or percussion – began to learn the violin. She soon proved to be quite prodigious and liked the intimacy of the instrument. Besides, it meant that she would not have to lug a piano around! She liked being able to play wherever and whenever she wanted. At first she did not like practising but for the initial three years her mother sat with her every day while she did so, helping her to play in tune by singing the correct notes. Her father also was always very supportive of whatever his family wanted to do. By the age of ten Iwona felt ready to work by herself and within two years she was playing the first Caprice from Paganini’s set of 24 Caprices, Opus 1! She also played Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto in D minor. Concerts became part of her life from the age of twelve and she won her first state competition prize at the age of fourteen. From this point on there was no holding her back.

When Iwona was eighteen she went to the Krakow Academy of Music where she was taught by Kaja Danczowska, a former pupil of David Oistrakh. The first year of study at the Academy entailed for the most part practising the violin for six hours each day followed by six hours of playing Bridge – a very popular game in intellectual circles. She also enjoyed reading a great deal and has a great love of cinema. By the time she was thirteen Iwona had read all the plays of Shakespeare in Polish translations. More concerts took place throughout her student years in both Poland and Germany. With the German orchestras she travelled through many countries in Europe, eventually coming to England for the first time in 1995. She was now a soloist with orchestras and in Cambridge Iwona performed Vivaldi’s The Seasons, being interviewed by the BBC for Radio Cambridge. She performed these concertos also in many other places including Norwich, Lincoln and Oxford.

In 1994 Iwona took her Master of Arts degree and passed with distinction. Her thesis was about interpretation, values and ways of performing the Opus 1 Caprices of Paganini. Her first real professional engagement came when she joined the teaching staff of the Royal Academy of Music in the prestigious post of Violin Teacher, assisting her former Professor. From 1995 until coming to England in September 1997 Iwona held the post of Leader in the Krakow Radio Symphony Orchestra. There is a recording made by this orchestra which includes Iwona as Leader playing most sensitively in the solo passages of Richard Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs). The singer on the recording is Joanna Borowska and the CD also contains Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben (with its original ending) played by the Tokyo Philharmonic and is on the Swiss record label: Nightingale Classics AG (NC1161864-2).

In 1995 Iwona won a prize in the International competition held in Warsaw for unaccompanied violin solo in which she performed works by Telemann, Bach, Paganini, Ysaye and Bartok. In the same year she was also soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 with her orchestra in Krakow. But by now Iwona felt she had probably gone as far as she could in Poland and, wishing to widen her education, applied for an audition for a post-graduate course at The Royal College of Music in London. Having travelled from Krakow to London on a bus she successfully passed her audition and was given a scholarship to study at the College. Her initial studies were with Grigori Zhislin and she completed her time there under Professor Dona Lee Croft.

In 1997, now resident in London, Iwona travelled to Mexico City to take part in the Henryk Szering Violin Competition where she gained second prize. Graduating with distinction from the Royal College of Music in 1998 where she had won virtually every prize open to her Iwona began to establish a career as a soloist and is now working to this end from her tiny London flat.

Iwona is no stranger to Hitchin, nor to the Hitchin Symphony Orchestra.

She has given several recitals at Little Benslow Hills and, most recently, a recital promoted by “Hitchin Music Matters” on 17 September 2003 at Holy Saviour Church in Radcliffe Road. She made her début with the orchestra on 20 May 2000, when her performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto was given a – thoroughly merited – standing ovation.

Future performances are scheduled to include recitals in Russia at St Petersburg and Moscow. Later she will be travelling to New Zealand for an engagement as soloist with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.

November 2003