Halina née Kowalska (married names Trzonek, then Zalewska) first learned the violin from her father. In 1928–1939 she studied cello with Eli Kochański at Warsaw Conservatory.
She gave performances as a soloist and chamber musician, performed on Polish Radio with, among others, her brother Henryk (a violinist) and Ludwik Urstein, as well as the Polish Radio Quartet and the radio orchestra under Grzegorz Fitelberg.
Under the Nazi occupation she gave clandestine and open concerts with her husband Henryk Trzonek, and from 1942 hid on the Aryan side with her daughters. She survived thanks to the support and help of Kazimierz Wiłkomirski, Eugenia Umińska, Felicja Krysiewicz, Irena Dubiska, Roman Padlewski, Jerzy Waldorff, and others.
After the war she played in the Symphony Orchestra of the Capital City of Warsaw and was for 25 years the leader of the Polish Radio Orchestra in Warsaw. She performed in duets with Władysław Szpilman, Jerzy Lefeld, Tatiana Woytaszewska, Barbara Malwe, as well as a trio with Nina Stokowska and Ludwik Kurkiewicz, in the Warsaw Quartet and Polish Radio Sextet. Persecuted for her Jewish origins after 1968, she emigrated in 1970 to Copenhagen, where, having won a competition, she was (till 1983) the principal cellist in the DR Symfoniorkestret.
She recorded extensively for the Polish and Danish radio.

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