Persons related to Chopin Persons related to Chopin

Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki

*23 XI 1933 Dębica †29 III 2020 Kraków

Born in 1933, died in 2020, Krzysztof Penderecki studied composition with Franciszek Skołyszewski and then at the State College of Music in Cracow with Artur Malawski and Stanisław Wiechowicz. He has won many prizes at home and abroad, including First, Second and Third Prize in the Second ZKP Young Composers’ Competition (1959), the Polish State Prize, first degree (1968, 1983), the Polish Composers’ Union Prize (1970), the Herder Prize (1977), Honegger Prize (1978) and Sibelius Prize (1983), the Premio Lorenzo Magnifico (1985), the Karl Wolf Foundation Prize (1987), Grammies (1998, 1999, 2001), the Grawemeyer Music Award (1992), the UNESCO International Music Council Award (1993), Best Living World Composer (2000) and the Prince of Asturias Prize (2001).

Penderecki had honorary doctorates from dozens of universities, including in Rochester, Bordeaux, Leuven, Washington, Belgrade, Madrid, Poznań, Warsaw, Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Münster, Seoul and Cracow, and is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Academia National de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Académie Internationale de Philosophie et de l’Art in Bern, Académie Nationale des Sciences, Belles-lettres et Arts in Bordeaux, Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin and American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He has been a lecturer at Yale University (1973–1978), rector of Cracow Music Academy (1972–1987), artistic director of the Cracow Philharmonic (1987–1990) and artistic director of the Casals Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1992–2000). In 1997, he became artistic director of the Sinfonia Varsovia. Since 1998, he has been an advisor to the Beijing Music Festival, and since 2000 he has been guest conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra.

He has led concerts with leading symphony orchestras in the USA and Europe. Besides his own works, he also conducts symphonic works by composers from various eras.

His awards and decorations include the highest Polish decoration – the Order of the White Eagle (2005), the title of Honorary Professor of the St Petersburg Conservatory (2007) and the Erevan Conservatory (2008), the Gold Medal of the Armenian Ministry of Culture (2008), the Ordre de Mérite du Grand-Duché de Luxemburg and an Honorary Order from the President of the Republic of Armenia (both 2009). A number of Polish ambassadors invited Penderecki to become a member of the honorary committees of their Chopin Year 2010 celebrations.

He has composed over one hundred works: chamber music, pieces for solo instrument, orchestral works, concertos, songs and choral works, operas, cantatas and oratorios. He has also penned music to over one hundred films and shows. His most recent works include Powiało na mnie morze snów – Pieśni Zadumy i Nostalgii [‘A sea of dreams did breathe on me…’ – Songs of reverie and nostalgia] for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, choir and orchestra, written to commission for the Fryderyk Chopin Institute for the conclusion of the Chopin Year celebrations and premiered in January 2011 in Warsaw, a Double Concerto for violin and viola, first performed at the Musikverein in Vienna in October 2012. A new version of his opera The Devils of Loudun was premiered in Copenhagen in February 2013 and a Polonaise for the symphonic orchestra, written for NIFC and first performed at the inauguration of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in October 2015.


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