The conductor and teacher Anna Szostak, one of the leading Polish choirmasters, is also known for her outstanding creations of vocal-instrumental works. A graduate of vocal studies with Irena Lewińska and Henryka Januszewska at the University of Silesia, she has also completed a post-graduate course in choral conducting and voice emission.
From 1978 to 1990, she created and led several vocal ensembles, with which she gave concerts at home and abroad. In 1990, she established the Camerata Silesia vocal ensemble of Katowice, of which she is director and conductor. Under her direction, the ensemble, which boasts a wide-ranging repertoire, has performed in all the major music festivals and concert halls in Poland (including ‘Wratislavia Cantans’ in Wrocław, ‘Gaude Mater’ in Częstochowa and the ‘Warsaw Autumn’) and also abroad (including at the Parco della Musica in Rome, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Espace des Blancs Manteaux in Paris and Amsterdam Concertgebouw).
She has recorded for Polish Radio and taken part in television programmes and concerts broadcast by the EBU. She also has numerous recordings for disc to her name, many of which have received nominations or awards. Her disc featuring a selection of Mikołaj Zieleński’s Offertoria and Communiones (Musicon label) was nominated for the Polish phonographic academy’s ‘Fryderyk 1996’ award and Studio magazine’s Disc of the Year 1996, her Paweł Szymański disc (CD Accord), including Lux aeterna for voices and instruments (1984), won Studio’s Disc of the Year 1997 and the ‘Fryderyk 1997’ in the contemporary music category, a disc of Karol Szymanowski’s Kurpian Songs (Musicon) won a ‘Fryderyk 1997’ in the solo music category, and a disc featuring works by Henry Purcell, Johann Sebastian Bach and Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (Musicon) was nominated for a ‘Fryderyk 2001’ in the early music category. Many composers have written and dedicated their works to Szostak, Camerata Silesia and its soloists.
Anna Szostak has received numerous prizes and distinctions for her conducting, including in the International Festival of Choral Song in Międzyzdroje (1982), the ‘Legnica Cantat’ All-Poland Choirs Tournament (1983 and 1986) and a special prize in the ‘Holsatia Cantat’ International Choirs Competition in Neumünster (1990). In 1993, she was honoured with the Prize of the Minister of Culture and the Arts for special achievements in the field of music, and in 2004 the Jerzy Kurczewski Prize for outstanding achievements in choral music.
She promotes the idea of performing early music on period instruments and has initiated and organised many concerts of Renaissance and Baroque vocal-instrumental music. For the purposes of her concert and recording work, she has created several early music ensembles featuring leading musicians from Poland and abroad. She has conducted such ensembles as Il Tempo and Concerto Polacco, and appeared in concert with Emma Kirkby and Barbara Schlick. She has co-conducted Witold Lutosławski’s Trois Poèmes d’Henri Michaux with Antoni Wit at the Warsaw Autumn, with Roland Hayrabédian at the Cathedral of Saint Louis des Invalides in Paris, and with Peter Hirsch at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels.
Szostak lectures on the Institute of Music’s Department of Conducting and Music Didactics at the Cieszyn branch of the University of Silesia. In 2004, she gained her doctorate in choral conducting.
In 2011, she appeared in Warsaw during the ‘Chopin and his Europe’ festival.