Professor Ryszard Zimak, conductor and teacher, rector of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in 1999-2005 and 2012-2016, long-time conductor of the National Philharmonic Choir, then conductor and director of the Warsaw Chamber Opera Choir, died on 28 March 2021 at the age of 74.
In 1971, he graduated with honours from the Department of Music Education at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and started working at his alma mater. He was vice-dean and dean of the Faculty of Music Education, vice-rector for science and didactics, rector of the Fryderyk Choppin Academy of Music. He participated in the works of the European Conferences of Rectors of the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) and the Association of Baltic Academies of Music (ABAM). In the years 2002-2005 he was the chairman of the Conference of Rectors of Art Academies (KRUA) and a member of the Presidium of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (KRASP).
He was an assistant conductor (1973-1974) and then a conductor (1977-1983) of the National Philharmonic Choir. From 1983 to 2005, he was the conductor of the Warsaw Chamber Opera and the director of the Chamber Choir. He has performed in many European countries, as well as in South Korea, Taiwan and the USA. From July 2005 to January 2007 he was the Director of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.
He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Order of Merit for Polish Culture, an individual award of the Minister of Culture and Art and the Silver Medal for Merit to Culture "Gloria Artis".