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Izabella Zielinska
Izabella Zielinska
Birth: 10 December 1910
Klimkowka, Austria-Hungary (present-day Klimkówka, Republic of Poland)
Death: 20 November 2017
Age: 106 years, 345 days
Country: PolandPOL

Izabella Jadwiga Zielinska (née Ostaszewska; 10 December 1910 – 20 November 2017) was a Polish pianist and pedagogue with one of the longest artistic biographies in Poland, starting back in 1935.


Izabella Jadwiga Ostaszewska was born in Klimkowka, Austria-Hungary (presently Subcarpathia Voivodeship, Poland) and attended primary school in Sanok and at the Lyceum of the Ursuline Convent in Lvov, graduating in 1929. She took piano lessons from Klaudia Rylska. In 1930 she went to Belgiumto continue her education in the Ursulines Institute at Wavre-Notre-Dame, where she studied French and music.

Izabella Zielinska.jpg

In 1931 she passed her music examination with a gold medal before the panel of the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. She returned to Lvov for further piano study with Professor Bronisław Poźniak, and followed him when he moved to the city of Breslau. From 1935 onwards she performed in public under the name Iza Ostoia. Her concerts included compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Szymanowski, Paderewski. Having completed her studies with Poźniak in Breslau in the summer of 1939, she had returned home to Klimklówka in Poland just weeks before the German invasion of Poland and the outbreak of the War in 1939.

In 1942 she married Bogdan Zieliński and moved to Kościan, on the Polish territories incorporated directly to the Nazi Germany, in 1939. There the Nazis enforced a clampdown on all Polish culture. Zielińska was forbidden from pursuing music and was forced into physical labour. Despite her ban, she had managed to teach some music in secret. After the War she resumed her concert career giving piano recitals and continued as a piano teacher. With five children to bring up, however, her concert career effectively had to take a back seat. She concentrated on her teaching, in which she became increasingly involved. She was a descendant of the Polish composer Michał Kleofas Ogiński and mother-in-law of the contemporary composer Lidia Zielińska. In 2016 she celebrated her 106th birthday.

Jerzy Pajaczkowski-Dydynski (1894–2005), the UK's oldest man at the time of his death at the age of 111 years, was her close relative: their mothers were cousins.