Eugeniusz Knapik, born in Ruda Śląska in 1951, is a pianist, classical composer, and university professor. He graduated from the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music with two honours degrees: one in composition, under Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1976), the other in piano, under Czesław Stańczyk (1977). In his long career as university faculty, he was successively assistant lecturer, lecturer, and professor at the Department of Composition, Conducting and Music Theory, which he chairs since 1996. Knapik served as Chancellor of the Academy from 2002 to 2008. In 2002, he was given the title Professor of Music.
Composition and piano performance have always been at the heart of his interests. As pianist, Knapik performed at many prestigious halls both nationally and internationally. His repertoire focuses on piano works by 20th-century piano music composers, including Messiaen, Skriabin and Bartók. As chamber music performer, he worked with the Silesian String Quartet, among other ensembles, and such renowned violinists as Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Aureli Błaszczok, and Piotr Pławner. He has given many premiere performances and made multiple recordings of contemporary Polish and international composers.
Even his earliest works, written in the student years, demonstrate marked originality and technical excellence. Perhaps not surprisingly, Knapik won many important composition competitions. From 1988 to 1996, Knapik was occupied with his operatic trilogy titled The Minds of Helena Troubleyn, based on a text by Jan Fabre and commissioned by Gerard Mortier, Director of the Opera la Monnaie in Brussels. The trilogy’s three parts: Das Glas im Kopf wird vom Glas, Silent Screams, Difficult Dreams and La libertà chiama la libertà were premiered respectively in Antwerp (1990), Kassel (1992) and Wrocław (2010). Until now, his career’s summit is the opera Moby Dick (2001–2010), written to Krzysztof Koehler’s original libretto based on Herman Melville’s famous novel; the opera was written on a commission by the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw.