Adam Harasiewicz is a Polish pianist who was a prominent figure on the concert and recording scene for much of the latter twentieth century. He has largely been associated with Chopin, whose works he recorded heavily and to great critical acclaim. He has often been mentioned with Argerich, Rubinstein, Zimerman, and Cortot as among the leading interpreters of Chopin's music. While he has played the works of many other composers, most notably Brahms and Szymanowski, he developed the reputation early on as a Chopin specialist, a status that may have limited his career but one in which he was complicit in cultivating. Still, that view of his pianism was obviously a great tribute to his skills. Harasiewicz's style has been described as eclectic in his evenness of voicing, crisp powerful tone, and deft sense for the dramatic. Harasiewicz made a fair number of recordings during his most prominent years (the latter 1950s through the 1960s), mostly for the Philips label, which, along with Brilliant Classics and Laserlight, still offers many of his recordings.
Adam Harasiewicz was born in the small Polish city of Chodzie on July 1, 1932. After studies in his homeland, Harasiewicz had a meteoric rise when he captured first prize at the fifth Chopin International Competition in Warsaw (1955). This achievement has become all the more impressive in view of the list of pianists performing at that event, which included Vladimir Ashkenazy and Fou Ts'ong. Some of Harasiewicz's performances there have been made available in the new century, including a notable reading of the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2, issued by Laserlight in 2000.
In 1958 Harasiewicz made a critically acclaimed studio recording of both Chopin concertos for Philips with Heinrich Hollreiser and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In 1960 he appeared in concert at the U.N. to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Chopin's birth. By this time he had launched a highly successful international career with important concert dates throughout Europe and the United States.
Throughout the 1960s he made numerous recordings of Chopin's works for Philips, including the complete preludes, nocturnes, and etudes. Though Harasiewicz remained active after 1970, his recording career was largely behind him and his name faded. His reputation revived in the latter twentieth and early twenty first centuries with the reissue of many of his recordings. Among the more popular and successful of these is the 2007 Brilliant Classics CD of the nocturnes.