The distinguisehed Polish contralto, Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa, began to study music very early. Her father, a well-know singer, was her first teacher. She finished secondary music school in Katowice under Irena Faryaszewska's tutorship in 1953 and went on to study music under Adrianna Faryaszewska and Irena Lenczewska at the Higher School of Music in Katowice. She graduated summa cum laude in 1959. She began to perform when still a student. She was employed by the Silesian Opera in Bytom in 1957. She spent five years there as a soloist then moved to Warsaw where she enjoyed many triumphant years. Her position at the Warsaw Opera under Bogdan Wodiczko's management continued to strengthen. She won a gold medal at the International Competition in Toulouse in 1958. The next two years brought further successes: 2nd prise in Vercella in 1959 (no first prize was awarded) and 3rd prize in Sophia in 1960.
Foreign impressarios were quick to notice her beautiful voice, great musicality, very good looks and acting talent and Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa soon had her debut at the Vienna Opera House (Eboli in Don Carlos) and then ten years of co-operation with La Monnaie Opera in Brussels (Eboli, Ortruda in Lohengrin, Dalila in Samson and Dalila, Amneris in Aida). At the same time she sang at many first nights in Lyon Opera Theatre (e.g., Kundry in Parsifal and Preziosilla in La forza del destino). Her Ulryka in Un ballo in maschera at Paris Opera in 1981 was a great success. She has also been guest-singer at opera houses in Madrid, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Lübeck, Leningrad, Kiev, Riga, Budapest, Bucharest, Moscow (Bolshoi), and Buenos Aires (Teatro Colón). She has taken part in many prestigious international music festivals (Montreux, Besançon, Lyon, Linz, Lucerne, Rome, Zagreb) including the Warsaw Autumn) (e.g., Stravinski's Oedipus Rex, Maciejewski's Requiem, Lutosławski's Five Songs to Kazimiera Illakowiczówna's lyrics and above all her unique Jessica in Baird's Tommorow).
Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa's oratorio repertoire is immense: from Monteverdi through J.S. Bach, George Frideric Handel, Mozart, Gustav Mahler, Szymanowski to modern music - Baird, Lutosławski, Gorecki and Penderecki. One her best creations is Mother Joanna in Penderecki's Devils of Loudun.
One of Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa's great successes was her contribution to the famous international performance of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen in Warsaw at the turn of 1987 and 1988. In January 1994 she gave a recital at the Great Opera in Warsaw which was a real musical event. She has sung in oratorios and given recitals all over Europe but also in Africa and both Americas. She has been nearly all round the world with the National Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. In 1993-1994 she made an exotic tour to Puerto Rico where she and Krzysztof Penderecki as conductor presented classical oratorio works and Penderecki's own compositions.
Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa has also taught for many years at the Vocal Department of the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music (AMFC) in Warsaw. Her many ex-students are now successfully performing in Poland and abroad. She is now full professor of singing. She obtained her nomination from the President of the Republic of Poland.