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A portrait of Magdalena Prejsnar
June 20, 2018

Renowned Polish pianist to perform at JCC

A highly accomplished concert pianist from Poland will give a very special performance at the Juravinski Cancer Centre’s (JCC) Hummingbird Cafe on Friday, June 22.

Magdalena Prejsnar is performing at the JCC as part of her southern Ontario tour. The free performance, on the Café’s grand piano, will take place from 2 to 3 pm and all are welcome.

Cancer treatment is close to Magdalena’s heart, having survived both breast and stomach cancer. “Five years ago, my professional and artistic activity was violently interrupted when I was diagnosed with these two independent cancers,” said Magdalena, who received her cancer treatment in Poland.

Music was a great comfort to Magdalena during her treatment and recovery. “I had strong faith, not only in defeating the disease but I was also dreaming about the moment when I would be able to sit at my black grand piano and play my favourite Chopin or Kilar masterpieces,” she said.

“I kept saying to myself, `I will soon be performing!'”

“Despite the physical and mental suffering, I did not give up. Every single day, I kept saying to myself, `I will soon be performing!’ And I did it! I believe that my faith, strength and stubbornness helped me win this difficult battle.”

Magdalena will play music by Polish composers such as Chopin, Mycielski, Górecki, Mykietyn, Serocki, Knicel and Kilar. “By choosing these composers, I desire to show the richness and stylistic diversity of Polish music,” she said.

“We’re a nation that understands what it means to struggle and stand strong, and when I perform Polish music I’m thinking not only about my country, but also my personal experience with cancer and the drama of those who have to fight for life against diseases and other disasters. My heart is with these people.”

Magdalena has a PhD degree in Music Arts from the Frederic Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw and currently works as an associate professor in the Music Department at Rzeszów University, Poland.
She has performed around the world and recorded for radio and television in Poland, England, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and The United States.

Magdalena will be introduced by Dr. Ilona Urbaniak, a research scientist with connections to the international musical community and Hamilton Health Sciences. Last year Dr Urbaniak conducted research in medical imaging and PACS (picture archiving and communication system) at HHS, where she worked with staff including Dr. Terry Minuk, Associate Clinical Professor of Radiology and Breast Imaging Lead. She reached out to Dr. Minuk to help arrange the HHS performance.

“I was happy to help,” said Dr. Minuk. “We’re thrilled to welcome this talented musician and cancer survivor to the JCC.”