Grazyna Barbara Szarek graduated from Warsaw’s Chopin Academy of Music with a B.Mus. in piano and voice (distinction) and M.Mus. in voice and drama. As a soprano, Ms. Szarek began her singing career as a young girl in Warsaw's Grand Theatre, where she performed the leading role in many famous operas, including "Gretel" in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, "Dorabella" in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, and "Eurydice" in Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice. Barbara's onstage performances in Europe (Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain) during the late 1980s and early 1990s were met with great acclaim, and included interpretations of such classics as "Mimi" in Puccini's La Boheme, "Bronia" in F.Mollecker’s The Beggar Student, and "Tatiana" in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin for Opera and Operetta, Cracow, Poland.
In 1990 Ms. Szarek began a new phase in her singing career when she came to Montreal to compete in an international singing competition. Always active, interested and engaged with music, she decided to remain in Canada, to pursue both sides of her musical personae – performance and teaching. Ms. Szarek's first role was "Drusilla" in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea performed at the Northern Opera Theatre in Montreal, followed by "Jenny" in the Three Penny Opera by Kurt Weill. In 1992, as a soloist in Ensemble Internationale de Montreal, Barbara represented Quebec and Canada at the International Festival of Modern Vocal Music in Warsaw. She has performed at the International Festival of Vocal Polyphony in Chateauguay, QC, and at a variety of locations in the USA, including Arizona, Florida, Washington, Vermont, New Hampshire and Virginia. The Newport Daily Express music critic noted in his review “From the first note, Szarek's glorious voice filled the opera house like velvet”.
Barbara’s first Kingston performance was at Chalmers United Church in Mozart’s Mass in C-minor. Since settling in South Frontenac, she has established herself as a competent and engaging vocal teacher as voice coach for the Digital Arts Program for Musicians at St. Lawrence College (Kingston campus) and private studio through Queen’s Conservatory of Music. Her previous Canadian teaching credits include appointments as Principal Voice Coach for International Ensemble de Montreal (1991-95), Voice Instructor for the National Academy of Music, Voice instructor at McGill Conservatory of music, and Children's Choir conductor at St. George Catholic Church, Montreal, QC. Barbara continues to develop her onstage career in a variety of settings, and balances performance with her passion as a vocal teacher.