Jerzy Maksymiuk

Jerzy Maksymiuk

Conductor • Piano

• Born 1936


While Jerzy Maksymiuk has conducted numerous orchestras across the globe, he has been active largely in Poland and the U.K. He is the founder and frequent conductor of the Polish Chamber Orchestra, and has served as principal conductor of both the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice and the Crakow Philharmonic Orchestra. In the U.K. he served as chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and has led most of the major orchestras of London, as well as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Though Maksymiuk has exhibited a fondness for Polish music, particularly works by Paderewski, Moszkowski, Szymanowski, Adam Jarzebski, and Grazyna Bacewicz, he is fairly eclectic in his choice of repertory, delving into works by a range of composers, from J.S. Bach and Mozart to Rachmaninov and Shostakovich. Successful as he has been as a conductor, Maksymiuk might have led an equally successful career as a pianist, had he chosen not to veer away from the piano a few years after winning first prize at the 1961 Paderewski Piano Competition. Maksymiuk has made countless recordings over the years spread over a variety of labels, including EMI, Naxos, and Hyperion.

Jerzy Maksymiuk was born in Grodno, Poland, on April 9, 1936. While a student, he won the aforementioned Paderewski Piano Competition. He earned several music degrees over the ensuing years from the Warsaw-based State Higher School of Music: composition (1962), piano (1962), and conducting (1969).

In 1972 he founded the Polish Chamber Orchestra, using it the first year as an opera chamber ensemble. From 1975-1977 Maksymiuk served as principal conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice.

In 1979 he conducted the Polish Chamber Orchestra on tour in the U.S., which included an appearance at Carnegie Hall, and in 1981 he led them on successful tours of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the U.S. From 1983-1993 Maksymiuk served as chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, thereafter becoming conductor laureate. From 1984 Maksymiuk has often led the Sinfonia Varsovia, an expanded ensemble drawn from the Polish Chamber Orchestra.

In 1993 Maksymiuk assumed the post of principal conductor of the Crakow Philharmonic Orchestra. In the new century Maksymiuk has remained active conducting the various Polish orchestras and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Among his more acclaimed recordings is the Paderewski Symphony in B minor (Polonia), originally from 1998 but reissued in 2010 on Helios.