Wiesław Ochman studied ceramics at the University of Science and Technology, Kraków, Poland, earning a MSc degree in 1960. While at university, he started taking singing lessons with Gustaw Serafin and subsequently studied music privately with Maria Szłapak, Sergiusz Nadgryzowski, and Jerzy Gaczek.
In 1960 he made his debut on the stage of the Silesian Opera as Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. In 1965 he sang Jontek in Moniuszko’s Halka at the reopening of the Teatr Wielki after the building’s post-war reconstruction. From 1966 to 1968 he was a member of the Staatsoper Berlin, then went on to perform at every major opera house in the world, including the Hamburgische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper, La Scala, Metropolitan Opera, the opera houses of Barcelona, Paris, Geneva, Zurich, Moscow, Madrid, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Washington, Rome, Salzburg, San Francisco, Sevilla, Vienna, Bruxelles, Frankfurt, Toulouse, Marseille, and more. He has participated in prestigious music festivals, including the opera events in Orange and Glyndebourne. He has given concerts at the Carnegie Hall, Wiener Musikverein, Salle Pleyel in Paris, all of Polish philharmonic halls, with the Berlin and Viennese philharmonic orchestras, under such international masters of the baton as Herbert von Karajan, Karl Boehm, Eugen Jochum, Leonard Bernstein, Nello Santi, Giuseppe Patanè, James Levine, Charles Mackerras, Václav Neumann, Gerd Albrecht, Christoph von Dohnanyi, John Pritchard, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Rafael Kubelík, and Poland’s top conductors: Włodzimierz Ormicki, Krzysztof Missona, Stanisław Wisłocki, Witold Rowicki, Stefan Rachoń, Zdzisław Górzyński, Karol Stryja, Jan Krenz, Kazimierz Kord, Tadeusz Strugała, Tadeusz Serafin, Antoni Wit, and Jerzy Maksymiuk.
Wiesław Ochman has performed in productions staged by the most prominent directors, including Erhard Fisher, August Everding, Goetz Friedrich, Joseph Losay, Andrei Tarkovsky, Yuri Lyubimov, John Dexter, Petrika Ionesco, Evald Schorm, Gian Carlo Menotti, Harry Kupfer, and Jonathan Miller. He has recorded extensively for the radio as well as major music labels such as Polskie Nagrania, Veriton, Deutsche Gramophon Geselschaft, Sony, EMI, Naxos, DUX, Erato, Philips, Le Chant du Monde, Supraphon, HNH International, and Harmonia Mundi, with the repertoire spanning opera, symphony, and popular music. He starred in film versions of Lehàr's Der Zarewitsch (title role), R. Strauss’s Salome (Narraboth), and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Lensky).
Mr Ochman has also been directing operas since 1999 and is a painter with over seventy individual shows under his belt. He is also a philanthropist: he has organised a range of auctions of Polish artworks in the USA (New York, Washington) to raise funds to support Polish culture at home and abroad, e.g. to renovate the Adam Mickiewicz Museum in Vilnius.
Mr Ochman has been honored with the Commander Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta, Gold Gloria Artis Medal for Services to Culture, and the Order of the Smile. He is a member of the Polish Academy of Learning (Polska Akademia Umiejętności) and holds honorary doctorates from his alma mater and the J.I. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań. He is a honorary citizen of Zawiercie and has lent his name to one of the town’s roundabouts. He has also raised money for the local hospital.
The following books about the artists have been released so far: Wacław Panek Ochman (Wydawnictwa Artystyczne i Filmowe 1980), Jerzy Skrobot Tonacje Sławy – Ochman (Wyd. Promotor 2006), Wiesław Ochman – Obrazy wyśpiewane kolorem (Promotor 2010), Meandry – Wiesław Ochman w kręgu przyjaciół (Promotor 2014), Olgierd Budrewicz and Wiesław Ochman O wszystkim (BOSZ 2010).
(photo: Krzysztof Żuczkowski)