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Krzysztof Penderecki

“Living Beethoven”

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Slide Krzysztof Penderecki 1933.11.23-2020.3.29

Internationally renowned Polish composer and conductor
The Guardian called him 'arguably Poland's greatest living composer'
Krzysztof-Penderecki Shape 1 Circle Triangle Ring
Born on 23 November 1933 in Dębica, Poland, Krzysztof Penderecki studied composition under Franciszek Skołyszewski, and later at the Kraków Academy of Music under Artur Malawski and Stanisław Wiechowicz. In 1959, he composed Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, one of his best known and most often performed compositions, which received the UNESCO prize in 1961. This piece was followed by Anaklasis (Donaueschinger Musiktage), Polymorphia (commissioned by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk Hamburg), Fluorescences (Donaueschinger Musiktage), and, in 1966, St. Luke Passion, the first major work of his career. It was written for the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne to mark the 700 years of the Münster Cathedral, where it had its premiere on 30 March 1966. This performance brought Penderecki to international fame and started a run of success.

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Krzysztof Penderecki has received a host of domestic and international prizes, including First, Second and Third Prize at the 2nd Competition for Young Polish Composers organized by the Polish Composers’ Union (1959), First Class State Award (1968, 1983), the Polish Composers’ Union Award (1970), Herder Award (1977), Prix Arthur Honegger (1978), Sibelius Award (1983), Premio Lorenzo Magnifico (1985), Wolf Prize (1987), Grammy Award (1988, 1999, 1999, 2001, 2017), Grawemeyer Award (1992), Prize of the UNESCO International Tribune of Composers (1961, 1993), MIDEM Classical Award ‘Best Living World Composer’(2000), Prince of Asturias Prize (2001), Praemium Imperiale (2004), Viadrina Prize (2012), Per Artem ad Deum (2015), and International Classical Music Award (2012, 2014, 2016).

Krzysztof Penderecki received honorary doctorates from several dozen universities, including Rochester (1972), Bordeaux (1979), Leuven (1979), Washington, D.C. (1984), Belgrade (1985), Barcelona (1986), Madrid (1987), Poznań (1987), Warsaw (1993, 1994), Kraków (1994, 1998), Buenos Aires (1994), Glasgow (1995), Moscow (1999), Lucerne (2000), Leipzig (2003), New Haven (2003), Seoul (2005), Münster (2006), and Lviv (2015). He is an honorary member of the academies of arts and sciences, including the Royal Academy of Music in London, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Musikaliska Akademien in Stokholm, Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Polish Academy of Sciences, 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, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong, Die Musikverein für Steiermark in Graz.

In 1972 the composer began his career as a conductor. Since then he has led the world’s greatest orchestras. He was first guest conductor of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk Orchester in Hamburg and the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester in Leipzig. From 1992 to 2000 he served as Music Director of the Casals Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1997 he became the Artistic Director of the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra. Since 1998 he has been advisor to the Beijing Music Festival, and since 2000 guest conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra.

During a period spanning almost sixty years, Krzysztof Penderecki composed more than 100 instrumental works, including 20 chamber works, 17 solo works, 24 concertante pieces, 27 orchestral works, 7 symphonies, 21 songs and choral works, 25 cantata and oratorio works, and 4 operas. In addition, Krzysztof Penderecki wrote more than 120 music pieces for animated films, puppet theatre, dramatic theatre, television theatre, as well as fiction films and documentaries.

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