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Duo Veloce

Maria Misiarz, Violoncello | Joanna Owczarek-Ciszewska, Fortepiano

Joanna Owczarek-Ciszewska and Maria Misiarz have cooperated regularly since 2013 playing on historical instruments. As a Duo Veloce they concentrate on performing Classical and Romantic repertoire for piano and cello. They gave concerts in some museums in Poland (Katowice, Krosno, Cracow) and collaborated with the Fortepianarium in Zabrze – Music Club on historical keyboard instruments. Together with flutist Przemysław Wiśniewski they founded Trio “Ohne Wrote” which performed among others in Geelvick Museum in Amsterdam (2015), Fringe Concert during Oude Muziek Festival in Utrecht (2016), during the symposium “Mozart’s Piano” organized by Academy of Music in Cracow (2017) or concert from the Fortepian(o!) series at the Academy of Music in Katowice (2019). Their repertoire is comparable to that of the Duo concentrates on music of the second half of 18th and the first half of 19th century including, next to Haydn, Beethoven or Mendelssohn, as well as lesser known works by Kozeluh, Pleyel, Jadin or Nicholson.

Joanna Owczarek-Ciszewska studied among others fortepiano at Mozarteum in Salzburg with Wolfgang Brunner, in Katowice with Katarzyna Drogosz and in München with Christine Schornsheim, Clavichord in Krakau with Marie Erdman. Furthermore, she studied harpsichord in Katowice with Marek Toporowski and Marcin Świątkiewicz. Maria Misiarz studied among others baroque cello in Katowice with Mark Caudle and in Wrocław bei Jarosław Thiel.


How did you find out about the competition “Beethoven in his time”? What did convince you to take part?
Joanna found by chance the information about the competition in the Internet. There are not so many chamber music competitions, especially on historical instruments, so it was very interesting for our ensemble. Moreover the program seemed to be ideal for us – works of Beethoven accompany us since the beginning of our cooperation, that is already almost 8 years long. On the other hand it was a great occasion to broaden our repertoire with less known works of other composers. Last but not least we probably would not decide to take part if the pandemic didn’t break out. Although it was a huge distraction for our life, thanks to the lack of concert projects we had more time to prepare so wide chamber music program.

What was the trigger that brought you to playing with historical instruments?
For Maria the adventure with historical instruments started with baroque ensemble that she had a chance to play with during her modern cello studies. She got involved so much, that she decided to deepen her interest in this style of music and started to study parallel baroque cello.
Joanna had some crisis after her first year of modern piano studies and was considering a complete change of specialization, when she accidentally visited a recital on historical piano played by Andreas Staier. She totally fell in love with the sound possibilities of historical instruments and directed her career path in order to achieve a goal of playing fortepiano herself.

Was there something surprising while working on your competition repertoire?
The biggest surprise and challenge for us was a piece we had chosen from works of Ferdinad Ries - Sonata c minor. It has never been published and remains in a form of manuscript. We found the work interesting after listening to the recording – the only one ever registered. While working on the piece it came out, that performers in the recording strongly edited musical material of the Sonata. They made huge cuts inside the parts, so in fact the piece is much longer that we thought at the beginning. Moreover there were many places in the manuscript hard to read or with evident harmonic mistakes, where we had to find our solution how to play it.

How did your preparation as ensemble work out in the Covid year?
Working as an ensemble on so big repertoire at once was a challenge for us, not only because of covid year. Both of us are occupied full time in music schools and Joanna has already a family, so she had to reconcile duties not only as a teacher but also a mom. We live also over 100 km away. We could practice together only during weekends, from which many meetings fell off from safety reasons when somebody got ill. Fortunately we could practice at home, using Joannas square piano from 1820s. Another difficulty was a lack of possibilities to test the repertoire in concert situation because of pandemic, what we found extremely hard while recording a program.

Do you have got a favourite piece in your repertoire? And if so, which one and why?
The competition program is very diverse and each one from the pieces has something special for us, as well as sets specific requirements for performers. Our likes changed during the process of preparation, but for sure Beethoven’s pieces remained on exceptional position in our hearts.