Biography

Magdalena Oliferko is a musicologist, researcher, scientific writer and journalist, as well as a concert organist, chamber musician and conductor born in Warsaw and based in Switzerland.

Spectrum of her interests ranges from music of the Middle Ages to the present day, with a special focus on the music of the 18th and 19th century. She is a Chopin researcher closely associated with the National Chopin Institute in Warsaw since 2007. The list of her publications includes over 50 scientific works, i.a. a book, Fontana and Chopin in Letters (Warsaw 2009; Eng. translation 2013). She is an author of Chopin projects, including a spectacle Julian Fontana – in Chopin’s Shadow, staged in Warsaw, Hamburg and Paris. She regularly gives lectures at international conferences and writes scientific expertises and reviews. She has been a member of the Musicological Section of the Association of Polish Composers (ZKP) since 2012.

She completed her studies in musicology at the University of Warsaw (2005) and was awarded the Zofia Lissa Prize for her master thesis on Organ Concerts by J.S. Bach. She received her PhD with honors from the Université de Genève and the University of Warsaw for her dissertation on Julian Fontana and his connections to Chopin (2019). She also studied the organ with Prof. Wolfgang Zerer at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, receiving concert diploma and pedagogy diploma (2010). At the Hochschule für Alte Musik in Basel she completed her further solo Master  in Specialized Music Performance of historical keyboard instruments (2011), expanding her skills with respect to historical performance practice, improvisation, ensemble playing, basso continuo and conducting. Among her professeurs were i.a. Lorenzo Ghielmi (organ), Andrea Marcon (maestro al cembalo), Menno van Delft (harpsichord), Rudolf Lutz (improvisation), and Andrzej Banasiewicz (conducting). She has actively participated in the numerous master classes at the historic instruments in Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Austria and Spain. She has been granted many scholarships, among others, the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS), Société Académique de Genève, Oskar und Vera Ritter Stiftung Hamburg, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland.

In her research into the 19th century, the sociology of music, contextual, intertextual, and interdisciplinary studies occupy a special place. She has studied in depth the problems of the reception and impact history, the phenomenon of virtuosity, the changes of the musical language in the 19th century, the penetration of the language of opera into instrumental music, the dance music and its sociological function, the links between musical notation and improvisation in the 18th and 19th centuries, the problem of notes inégales and rubato, as well as the historically informed performance practice.

Frédéric Chopin takes an important place in her research. She has conducted thoroughgoing studies on the composer's biography and supplemented its many areas. She has dealt with the closest friend, student, copyist and publisher of Chopin’s Oeuvres Posthumes, Julian Fontana, the problem of Chopin’s reception in the 19th century, editions and sources of his works, the mutual musical influence of Chopin and the artists of the era, Chopin's inspirations with the opera, and conducted her in-depth and multifaced study on his letters.

As a concert musician she performs regularly as a soloist, conductor and chamber musician, i.a. with the early music ensemble she founded, Le Jardin d’Eden. Her repertoire covers music from the Middle Ages to the present day. She takes part in the first performances of contemporary music. A special area of her activity is historical performance practice and Basso continuo. Since 2012 she has been the titular organist and since 2016 also the choirmaster at the St. John’s Reformed Church in Bern. She also conducts other choirs, i.a. Melos-Chor Bern. Since 2012 she has been a member of the Swiss Music Pedagogic Association (SMPV).