Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny is one of the most recognized choral conductors in Poland.
She is a Titular Professor of Musical Arts, PhD and an active teacher. She studied voice and conducting at the Academies of Music in Wrocław and Bydgoszcz. She is also a biologist, a graduate of the University of Wrocław and a culture manager with a diploma from the University of Economics in Kraków, as well as MBA studies at the Collegium Humanum at the Central School of Management. She has recorded 22 albums and won over 70 individual and ensemble awards, some of which she received during her studies: 1st prize and two special prizes in the National Competition for Choir Conducting (2004), 1st place in the Lower Silesian Competition Primus Inter Pares (2004). For her artistic and academic activities, she received the Honorary Badge of Merit for Polish Culture (2008), the Wrocław Music Prize (2010), Internauts’ Award in the competition Person of the Year 2011, Award of the Polish Academy of Sciences Iuvenes Wratislaviae (2012), the Bronze Medal for Merit to Polish Culture – Gloria Artis (2014), as well as Fryderyk 2017 and 2019. In 2018, the project Choral Academy, which she programmed, was nominated for the Corypheus of Polish Music Award. In 2018, the project Choral Academy, which she programmed, was nominated for the Corypheus of Polish Music Award.
From 2000–2014, she led the Medici Cantantes the Choir of the Medical University in Wrocław, which she founded. Winning with it the highest prizes in choir competitions in Poland and internationally; she elevated the ensemble to the league of the best university choirs in Poland. From 2006–2021 she was Artistic Director of the National Forum of Music Choir, building it from the very beginning according to her own vision of a “choir of soloists”. She is the originator and Artistic Director of a nationwide educational project established in 2013 under the name of the Polish National Youth Choir.
In January 2015 she was appointed Programme Director of the Choral Academy – a project financed by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport. Its main objective is to support the development of nearly 300 Polish children’s and youth choirs financially and substantively, organising workshops, concerts, competitions conferences and publishing numerous methodological and repertoire materials. From 2013–2016 she was Curator of Music for the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016, co-implementing an artistic programme consisting of several hundred musical events.
I have been working alongside Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny for over ten years. She is a really an excellent musician, a very fine trainer of choirs and a wonderful and supportive colleague. We began working together in the early days of the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir, which has now become the acclaimed NFM choir.
It is always a privilege to work with Agnieszka. Over the past few years we have collaborated on several choral projects and I admire the high level she is able to achieve with her singers. She is very demanding and a consummate professional and I know that she inspires everyone that is fortunate to work with her.
Agnieszka is an outstanding, versatile person, active in many fields. She is an excellent conductor, pedagogue and organiser. Together with the NFM Choir she has achieved a beautiful sound. Her interpretations always match my intentions.
Agnieszka has a unique gift – she can reach to the core of the composer’s intentions. That’s what I felt after hearing the great interpretation of my Pater noster, which was performed today for the first time in our country.
The performance benefitted from the superlative singing of the massed choruses. The opening, emerging from nothingness, was perfectly tuned and led to a glorious burst of sound. The firmness of the tone, not to mention its beauty, was absolutely remarkable, a universe away from the interminable wobble so many opera choruses subject us to. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine the work better sung. They had been exceptionally prepared by Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny.
The highlight of the oratorio – considering both the composition and the performance – was the chorus part performed by the NFM Choir and the PNYCh which sounded truly splendid. The singers demonstrated good vocal technique. They performed the motet and the imitation parts equally well...
With her choirs, she has performed over 1,200 choral pieces and nearly 300 vocal-instrumental works, made 20 CD recordings and delivered numerous world première performances of Polish music. Her interpretations have been heard at the Royal Albert Hall, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Philharmonie de Paris, Salle Pleyel, London Barbican Centre, Moscow International House of Music, Brussels Bozar and other important musical venues in Europe. She has prepared choirs for such conductors as: Zubin Mehta, Paul McCreesh, Krzysztof Penderecki, Iván Fischer, Pascal Rophé, Lawrence Foster, Jacek Kaspszyk, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Andrzej Boreyko, Stephen Layton, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Robert Reimer, Konrad Junghänel, Andres Mustonen, Tõnu Kaljuste, Giovanni Antonini, Adreas Spering, Carlo Rizzi, Dennis Russell Davies, and Charles Dutoit.
She has performed at festivals in in Turkey, the United States, Russia, Israel, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, the Czech Republic, Croatia, France, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Brazil.
She has worked as a conductor with ensembles such as: the NFM Choir Choir, Gabrieli Consort, Schleswig-Holstein Festival Choir, Chor der Bamberger Symphoniker, NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Sudeten Philharmonic, Symphony Orchestra of the Opole Philharmonic, Cisella Gedanens, Wrocław Ricordanza Soloists Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Wrocław, Festival Choir of the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans, Choir of the Silesian Philharmonic, Choir of the Grand Theatre in Poznań.
Agnieszka is passionate about teaching and research. She educates choir conductors and ensemble singers at the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław, the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and during numerous master classes and workshops in academic and arts centres throughout Europe. She is an author of publications as well as originator and Director of the National Conference Choir Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
She is invited as a vocal consultant and often joins jury panels of choir, vocal and composition competitions. She is a happy wife and mother of three children.