Halina Czerny-Stefańska (December 31, 1922 – July 1, 2001) was a Polish pianist. She studied piano under her father, Stanislaw Szwarcenberg-Czerny, as well as with Alfred Cortot at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, and later with Józef Turczyński and Zbigniew Drzewiecki in Warsaw. She was a joint First Prize winner at the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1949, sharing this prize with Bella Davidovich. Her repertoire was restricted to few composers other than Frédéric Chopin and even her Chopin repertoire was not large. For example, she did not play the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor live until 1951, and she never played the F minor concerto at all, as she did not like it. She was proven to be the real pianist in a recording of the E minor concerto that was misattributed to Dinu Lipatti. The recording was released in 1966 by EMI, and on the 1971 British release was a note to the effect that, although the name of the conductor and orchestra were not known, there was no doubt the soloist was Lipatti. The BBC broadcast the recording in 1981, and a listener wrote in, noting the similarities between it and a Supraphon recording from the early 1950s with Czerny-Stefańska under Václav Smetáček. Tests revealed these were one and the same recording. The so-called Lipatti recording was withdrawn. Halina Czerny-Stefańska was a juror in many piano competitions including the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, the Tchaikovsky International Competition, and the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition. She was also a juror at the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition for many years. Her daughter, with husband Ludwik Stefanski (1917-1982) is Elzbieta Stefanska-Lukowicz (b. 1943), a harpsichordist and professor at the Academy of Music in Kraków, Poland. Halina Czerny-Stefańska died in Kraków on July 1, 2001.
Václav Smetáček (30 September 1906 in Brno – 18 February 1986 in Prague) was a Czech conductor, composer, and oboist. He studied in Prague among others with Jaroslav Křička, conducting with Metod Doležil and Pavel Dědeček, musicology, aesthetics, and philosophy at Charles University. He was the founder and member of the Prague Wind Quintet (1928), with whom he performed, composed and arranged compositions for it. From 1930 to 1933, he was a member of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and from 1934 to 1943, he worked on Czech Radio as conductor and editor. From 1945, he worked as a pedagogue at the Prague Conservatory and Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. As a conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra, he made several innovations. He enlarged its repertoire with the music of 20th Century and larger vocal symphonic works (including those of Rejcha, Mozart, Cherubini, Dvořák, Foerster, Martinů, Orff, Kabeláč, and Fišer). From 1938, he performed abroad. He was invited later to the many important European and overseas music centres. He primarily devoted himself to the concert music, but he also studied operas. He received many awards for his creations.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11
Halina Czerny-Stefańska, piano
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra