*14 VII 1926 Włocławek
Jan Krenz - one of the leading Polish conductors. He belongs to the generation of musicians that entered the stage after World War II and laid a foundation for a renewal of Polish musical life. As a conductor he made his debut on 6th January 1946 at the Łódź Philharmonic.
In 1947-9 he was conductor at the Poznań Philharmonic (and made his debut at the city's Opera House with Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio), and in 1949-51 he was conductor of the Polish Radio Large Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (WOSPR), as assistant and planned successor of Grzegorz Fitelberg. Between 1953 and 1967, he led an intense activity as head conductor of the WOSPR, including recordings, live concerts, first performances of works by Polish composers, regular appearances at the Warsaw Autumn festival, and international tours that made the orchestra famous throughout the world. In 1963, he made the longest tour in the history of Polish orchestras (55 concerts), appearing triumphantly in the USSR, Mongolia, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Apart from his work in Poland, from the 1960s Jan Krenz was first conductor of the Danish Radio Orchestra in Copenhagen, and made a great success in Scandinavia. In 1968-73 he was artistic director of the Grand Theatre in Warsaw; his premieres of Otello, Elektra and Boris Godunov remain milestones events in the history of Polish opera. He also toured South America and Japan, working on a regular basis with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony. He was also on several occasions guest conductor at the Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, Leningrad Philharmonic, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Santa Cecilia in Rome, and the leading London orchestras.
In 1979 he signed a 3-year contract as General Music Director of the City of Bonn. He enlarged the Beethovenhalle orchestra to 122 musicians and developed its repertoire; on the opera stage, he performed a 3-act version of Berg's Lulu and Moniuszko's The Haunted Manor.
As a composer, Jan Krenz made his debut at a private salon occasion during World War II, with the String Quartet. He also wrote chamber, vocal and symphonic music. In 1982 he resumed composing after more than a decade's break. He is also the author of stage and film music (including to Andrzej Wajda's The Canal, and Andrzej Munk's Eroica).
He has received a number of prestigious awards, including the State Award. His conducting at the Warsaw Autumn festival has been twice awarded with an 'Orfeusz', a critics' award. He has also received awards for his recordings. On the occasion of Jan Krenz's 70th jubilee in 1995, Polish Radio awarded him with its 'Diamond Baton' award.