Mateusz Kolakowski, age 28, is a graduate of Music Academy of Katowice, Poland, where he studied classical piano.
At a very young age, he was awarded the 3rd prize at the International Chopin Competition in Antonin, Poland (1996), and at the Paderewski Competition in Kartuzy (1997). In 1997, he was a laureate of "Virtuosi per musica di pianoforte" in the Czech Republic (Usti). His early classical credentials also include Beethoven and Mendelssohn concertos with the Polish Youth Symphony Orchestra in Erkelenz, Germany.
The turning point in his career was in 1997 at a jazz workshop in Chorzow (Poland), where Brad Terry was convinced of Mateusz‘s talent. That musical friendship blossomed and opened the gates to the USA for Kolakowski at a very young age. Since, he has toured in the states every year from 1998 to 2005, playing in places such as "The Knitting Factory" in New York City, "The Jazz Bakery" in Los Angeles, "Sandy's" in Chicago, and the 7th Vail Jazz Festival in Vail, Colorado. In 2002, he received a scholarship at Berklee College of Music and he has recorded two US albums.
Mateusz Kolakowski won the "Jazz Fryderyk" in 2002, a prize awarded by the Polish Ministry of Culture, followed by the prize for "The most promising pianist" at the Martial Solal Competition in Paris, France.
He has participated in the "Montreux Jazz Festival" in Switzerland twice, receiving an honorable mention in the Jazz Piano Competition in 2002 and playing with the “Oles Brothers” as the house pianist. During his run as house pianist, Mateusz performed in fourteen trio concerts in the "Montreux Jazz Club," playing with Stanley Jordan among others.
His 2003 solo recital in Prague was recorded by Czech Radio during the "8th International Festival of Jazz Piano." A CD of the performance "14th Spring" was released in Poland by Jazz Forum. In late 2006, his new CD "ad LiBiTum - 1st Warsaw Jazz Concert" was released, recorded live at W. Lutoslawski's Concert Studio for Polish Radio with a guest player Peter van Bergen (saxophone). In his solo piano improvisations, Kolakowski creates a unique combination of jazz and classical music elements.
Continuing his classical education He has performed O.Messiaen’s - "Quartet for the End of Time" and S.Prokofiev’s - Piano Concerto No.2.
After many solo concerts (USA, Europe, Cuba, India, Kenya) on the 9th September 2008 a concert with Dave Liebman took place. Both musicians performed together in the "Jazz Standard Club" in New York. The audience was enthusiastic about the performance, and it got very enthusiastic reviews in "Jazz Forum". The album received Polish Public TV prize “Gwarancja Kultury 2009” awarded by TVP Kultura.