Katarzyna Budnik studied the violin (under Mirosław Ławrynowicz, Andrzej Gębski, and Janusz Wawrowski) and the viola (under Piotr Rejchert) at the The Fryderyk Chopin University of Music. The latter instrument won her heart – nowadays, she is a recognized soloist (and chamber musician), and teaching assistant in the class of her former professor, Piotr Rejchert.
In 2013, Budnik-Gałązka received a nomination for the annual Polityka Passports (Paszporty Polityki) Award, given out annually to the most promising faces of Polish culture in a number of disciplines. The jury justified their choice:
“The viola is an object of numerous stereotypical and pretentious jokes, which derive from the fact that it is a common practice at Polish music schools to send those who are not coping with violin to a viola class, ignoring the fact that playing on the latter is actually more difficult – hence the low level of many of our viola players. Katarzyna Budnik-Gałązka proves that this can – and should – be completely different.”
Budnik-Gałązka said in an interview with Agata Kwiecińska:
The main asset of the viola is the multiplicity of timbres one may achieve with it. Solo pieces are very hard to play on violin – they are very technical and masterly.
Ever since 2008, the musician has been triumphing at one competition after another. She received the main prizes at the Beethoven’s Hradec International Music Competition (Czech Republic, 2008), 15th International Johannes Brahms Competition in Pörtschach (Austria, 2008), and at the 8th Polish National Jan Rakowski Viola Competition in Poznań (Poland, 2008). She also came in second place at the International Max Rostal Competition in Berlin (Germany, 2009), Max Reger International Chamber Music Competition in Sondershausen (Germany, 2009), and at the 4th Michał Spisak International Music Competition (Poland, 2010).
In 2013, she was awarded third prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich – one of the most prestigious distinctions for performances of classical music, awarded in a different category each year.
She has frequently performed as a soloist and in chamber ensembles both in Poland and in other European countries (Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, France, Russia). In 2010, she participated in the Chamber Music Connects the World project, organized by the Kronberg Academy, where she had the opportunity to play with some of the big names of contemporary classical music: Gidon Kremer, Tatiana Grindenko, Yuri Bashmet, or Frans Helmerson. She has performed at many significant festivals, e.g. Chopin and His Europe in Warsaw, International Chamber Music Festival Music on the Heights in Zakopane, or Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus (on the special invitation of Gidon Kremer).
2013 saw the release of her first monographic record (issued by DUX), Viola Recital, on which she is accompanied by the guitarist Krzysztof Meisinger. The album includes compositions by Max Reger, Aram Khachaturian, Pierre Rhode, Niccola Paganini, and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Cadenza. She has also taken part in several chamber music recordings, such as Aqua e Vinho (Ponte Art Production, 2010) by Łukasz Kuropaczewski, featuring pieces by Vivaldi, Bartók, Boccherini, and de Falla. She also played on the album Strauss, Shostakovich, Penderecki: Violin Sonatas (Universal, 2012), together with Jakub Haufa (violin) and Marcin Sikorski (piano).