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Krzysztof Penderecki, composer and conductor, b. 23rd October 1933 in Dębica, studied composition in 1954-58 with Artur Malawski and, after the latter’s death – with Stanisław Wiechowicz in the State Higher School of Music in Cracow. In 1968-70, he held the scholarship of Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) in Berlin. In 1958, he started lecturing in composition in his alma mater, of which he was also President in 1972-87. He also taught in Folkwang-Hochschule für Musik in Essen (1966-68) and Yale University in New Haven (1973-78). In 1987-90, he was artistic director of Cracow Philharmonic. Since 1993 he has held the same function at the Festival Casals in San Juan (Puerto Rico), and since 1997 he has acted as music director of the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra.
Krzysztof Penderecki made his conducting debut in 1971 in Donaueschingen, where he led the performance of his Actions for free-jazz orchestra (1971). Since then he has always had a busy conducting schedule. In 1972, he recorded his works for the EMI with the Great Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio and Television in Katowice. He has conducted numerous famous orchestras worldwide, e.g. Munich Philharmonic, Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks in Hamburg, Sinfonieorchester des Mitteldeutschen Rundfunks in Leipzig, London Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Japanese Radio NHK Orchestra in Tokio, Osaca Philharmonic, and others. Since 1988 he has been the 1st guest conductor of Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks in Hamburg.

In 1959, Penderecki won the three top prizes (1st, 2nd and 3rd prize) in the Young Composers’ Competition of the Polish Composers’ Union: for his Strophes for soprano, reciting voice and 10 instruments (1959), Emanations for two string orchestras (1958-59) and Psalms of David for mixed choir, strings and percussion (1958). In 1961 his Threnody “To the Victims of Hiroshima” for 52 string instruments (1959-61) was selected at the IRC (UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris). In 1962, he won the 1st prize for his Canon for 52 string instruments and magnetic tape (1962). The composer was twice awarded Prix Italia: in 1967 for Passio et mors Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Lucam for 3 solo voices, reciting voice, 3 mixed choirs, boys’ choir and orchestra (1963-66), and in 1968 for Dies irae. Oratorium ob memoriam in perniciei castris in Oświęcim necatorum inexstinguibilem reddendam for 3 solo voices, mixed choir and orchestra (1967).

Krzysztof Penderecki has received many awards and distinctions, incl. the State Award, 1st Class (1968, 1983), Award of the Polish Composers’ Union for 1970, the Gottfried von Herder Award (1977), Jean Sibelius Award from the Wilhouri Foundation in Helsinki (1983), Premio Lorenzo Magnifico (1985), the Karl Wolff Foundation of Israel Award, the Grammy Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (USA) in 1988, 1999, 2001, Grawemeyer Award of the University of Louisville (1992), Great Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Das Grosse Verdienstkreuz des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) (1990), the award of the UNESCO International Music Council (1993), Order of Merit to the Culture of the Principality of Monaco (1993), Commander’s Cross with Star of the Polonia Restituta Order (1993), the Austrian distinction „For Academic and Artistic Achievements” (1994), Pro Baltica Award (1995), Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1996), Music Award of the City of Duisburg (1999), AFIM Indie Award (1999), MIDEM Classical Award for the Best Living Composer of the Year (2000), Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (2000), Premio Principe de Asturias de las Artes (2001), Grand Prix of the Foundation of Culture (2002), the Romano Guardini Award of the Bavarian Catholic Academy (2002), Preis der Europäischen Kirchenmusik (2003), Medal of the Judaica Foundation (2003), Praemium Imperiale (2004), Order of the White Eagle (2005).

He was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Rochester (1972), Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota (1977), University of Bordeaux (1979), Leuven (1979), Belgrade (1985), Georgetown University in Washington (1984), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (1987), Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (1987), Warsaw University (1993), Music Academies in Cracow (1994) and in Warsaw (1994), Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires (1994), University of Glasgow (1995), the Jagiellonian University in Cracow (1998), Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai in Kluzh-Napoca (1999), Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (1999), Academia de Muzica “Gheorghe Dima” (1999), Universität Luzern (2000), Yale University in New Haven (2003), St. Petersburg University (2003), Leipzig University (2003), University of Seoul (2005). He is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Kungliga Musikaliska Akademien in Stockholm, Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Academie Internationale de Philosophie et de l’Art in Berne, Académie Nationale des Sciences, Belles-lettres et Arts in Bordeaux, the Royal Academy of Music in Dublin, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Academia Scientiarium et Artium Europaea in Salzburg, Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Bloomington, the Kościuszko Foundation in New York, Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong.
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In 1997, he published a book entitled Labirynt czasu: Pięć wykładów na koniec wieku / The Labyrinth of Time: Five Lectures for the End of the Century (Warsaw: Presspublica, 1997).
works
Krzysztof Penderecki has been quite a unique phenomenon in the history of music, not only in Poland, but worldwide. In 20th-century music, no one seems to have made a career even remotely like his – and so rapidly! His only match is perhaps - Igor Stravinsky. Like Stravinsky’s, Krzysztof Penderecki's musical career had its twists and turns. He notched up successes from the very start. When the results of the 2nd Young Composers’ Competition of the Polish Composers’ Union were announced in 1959, it turned out that the first, second and third prizes (for works submitted anonymously under different emblems) all went to Krzysztof Penderecki, an obscure 28-year-old assistant professor at the Department of Composition, the State Higher School of Music in Cracow. The awarded compositions were: Strofy (Strophes) for soprano, speaker and ten instruments, Emanacje (Emanations) for two string orchestras and Psalmy Dawida (Psalms of David) for mixed choir, stringed instruments and percussion. Strofy were performed at the Warsaw Autumn the same year, and the German publisher Herman Moeck took the score after the concert.

Soon, the composition was receiving performances throughout Europe, and Penderecki received a commission from the famous festival in Donaueschingen. In 1960, he composed 8’37’’, a piece whose original title referred to its exact duration. The following year, this composition was selected, i.e. received the 1st prize, at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. The work, now known as Tren “Ofiarom Hiroszimy” (Threnody “To the Victims of Hiroshima”), was frequently broadcast by radio stations worldwide, and Krzysztof Penderecki was hailed as a leading representative of the 1960s musical avant-garde. He confirmed this artistic standpoint with his extraordinary Fluorescencje (Fluorescences), first performed in 1962 in Donaueschingen, in which, apart from the instruments of the great symphony orchestra, he made use of a suspended sheet of metal to imitate thunder, whistles, pieces of glass and metal scratched with a file, rattles, an electric bell, a saw, a typewriter and a siren. The traditional instruments also sound unusual, because the sound is produced by completely unconventional means. At this point, Penderecki was already a familiar figure throughout the musical world. Or at least, the world thought that they knew him... until in 1966 his Pasja według Św. Łukasza (Passion according to St. Luke) was premiered in Münster. With this composition, Penderecki rejected the radical avant-garde standpoint. The Passion has a clear content, construction and emotions, and can be comprehensible for the common music lover. The composer explained: “I do not care how the Passion is pigeon-holed: whether as a traditional work, or as avant-garde. For me, it is quite simply genuine, and that should suffice.” It has proved to suffice even until our day. Penderecki has remained himself in each composition, and has neither been dispirited nor discomfited by criticism of his works, though this criticism has become more and more frequent with the passage of time. For example, his 1978 opera - sacra rappresentazione Raj utracony (Paradise Lost) was interpreted as a pastiche of Wagner’s music, which the composer could hardly take as a compliment. All the same, Penderecki sticks to his guns and writes what he pleases. Has he betrayed the ideals of his youth?

The composer’s Internet site: www.penderecki.de
compositions
Sonata for violin and piano (1953)
Miniatures for clarinet and piano * (1956)
Asking for Happy Isles song for voice and piano (1957)
Epitaphium Artur Malawski in memoriam for string orchestra and timpani (1957-58)
Psalms of David for mixed choir, string instruments and percussion * (1958)
Emanations for two string orchestras * (1958-59)
Miniatures for violin and piano * (1959)
Strophes for soprano, speaker and 10 instruments * (1959)
Anaclasis for string orchestra and 6 groups of percussion * (1959-60)
Dimensions of Time and Silence for 40-part mixed choir, percussion and strings * (1959-60)
Threnody “To the Victims of Hiroshima” for 52 string instruments * (1959-61)
Quartetto per archi No. 1 * (1960)
Psalmus 1961 for tape (1961)
Fonogrammi per flauto e orchestra da camera (1961)
Polymorphia for 48 string instruments * (1961)
Fluorescences for great symphony orchestra * (1961-62)
Canon for 52 string instruments and tape * (1962)
Stabat Mater for 3 mixed unaccompanied choirs * (1962-63)
Death Brigade radio play for speaker and tape (1963)
Cantata in honorem Almae Matris Universitatis Iagellonicae for 2 mixed choirs and orchestra * (1964)
Sonata per violoncello e orchestra * (1964)
Capriccio per oboe e 11 archi * (1964-65)
The Bravest Knight opera for children in 3 acts for soprano, tenor, 2 baritones, bass, mixed choir and orchestra (1965)
De natura sonoris I for great symphony orchestra * (1966)
Concerto per violino grande ed orchestra (1966-67)
Concerto per violoncello ed orchestra No. 1 (1966-67)
Pittsburgh Overture for brass band, percussion, piano and double-basses (1967)
Capriccio per violino e orchestra * (1967)
Dies irae oratorium ob memoriam in perniciei castris in Oświęcim necatorum inexstinguibilem reddendam for 3 solo voices, mixed choir and orchestra * (1967)
Capriccio per Siegfried Palm for solo cello * (1968)
Quartetto per archi No. 2 * (1968)
The Devils of Loudun opera in 3 acts * (1968, 2001)
Cosmogony for 3 solo voices, mixed choir and symphony orchestra * (1970)
Utrenya II: The Resurrection of Christ for solo voices, mixed choir, boys’ choir and symphony orchestra (1970-71)
De natura sonoris II for symphony orchestra * (1970-71)
Canticum canticorum Salomonis for 16-part vocal ensemble and chamber orchestra (1970-73)
Actions for free-jazz orchestra * (1971)
Prelude for brass band, percussion and double-basses * (1971)
Partita for harpsichord and electric guitar, bass guitar, harp, double-bass and chamber orchestra (1971-72)
Eclogue VIII for 6 solo male voices * (1972)
Ekecheiria for tape (1972)
Intermezzo for 24 string instruments * (1973)
Magnificat for solo bass, 7-part male vocal ensemble, 2 mixed choirs, boys’ choir and symphony orchestra * (1973-74)
The Dream of Jacob (also performed as The Awakening of Jacob) for symphony orchestra * (1974)
Concerto per violino ed orchestra No. 1 * (1976-77)
Paradise Lost sacra rappresentazione in 2 parts (1976-78)
Te Deum for solo voices, 2 mixed choirs and symphony orchestra * (1978-80)
Vorspiel, Visionen und Finale aus “Paradise Lost” for 6 soloists, great mixed choir and orchestra (1979)
Adagietto from “Paradise Lost” for symphony orchestra * (1979)
Capriccio per tuba (1979-80)
Symphony No. 2 “Christmas Eve” for symphony orchestra * (1979-80)
Polish Requiem for 4 solo voices, 2 mixed choirs and orchestra (1980-2005)
Concerto per violoncello ed orchestra No. 2 * (1982)
Cadenza per viola sola * (1983-84)
Concerto for viola [chamber version] (1984)
Concerto for viola [version for cello] (1984)
Concerto for viola [version for clarinet] (1984)
Cadenza per viola sola [version for violin] * (1984)
The Black Mask (Die schwarze Maske) opera in one act * (1984-86)
Per Slava for solo cello * (1985-86)
Song of the Cherubim for mixed unaccompanied choir * (1986)
Veni Creator for mixed unaccompanied choir * (1987)
Prelude for solo clarinet * (1987)
Der unterbrochene Gedanke for string quartet * (1988)
Concerto per violino ed orchestra No. 1 [2nd version] (1988)
Symphony No. 3 * (1988-95)
Symphony No. 4 “Adagio” for symphony orchestra * (1989)
Ubu Rex opera buffa in 2 acts with prologue and epilogue (1990-91)
String Trio for violin, viola and cello * (1990-91)
Sinfonietta No. 1 per archi * (1990-92)
Partita [2nd version] for harpsichord and electric guitar, bass guitar, harp, double-bass and chamber orchestra * (1991-92)
Symphony No. 5 “Korean” for symphony orchestra * (1991-92)
Benedicamus Domino for male unaccompanied choir (1991-92)
Concerto per flauto ed orchestra da camera (1992)
Concerto per violino ed orchestra No. 2 (Metamorphosen) * (1992-95)
Benedictus for mixed unaccompanied choir (1993)
Quartet for clarinet and string trio * (1993)
Agnus Dei from the “Polish Requiem” [2nd version] for string orchestra (1994)
Entrata for brass and timpani * (1994)
Sinfonietta No. 2 per archi * (1994)
Divertimento per violoncello solo (1994, 2006)
Agnus Dei aus “Requiem der Versöhnung” zum Gedanken an die Opfer des 2.Weltkrieges for 4 solo voices, mixed choir and orchestra (1995)
Seven Gates of Jerusalem for 5 soloists, speaker, 3 mixed choirs and orchestra (1996)
Serenade for string orchestra * (1996-97)
Credo for solo voices, choir and symphony orchestra (1996-98)
Hymn to St. Daniel for mixed choir and orchestra (1997) (1997)
Hymn to St. Wojciech for mixed choir and orchestra (1997) (1997)
Sonata per violino e pianoforte No. 2 (1999)
Sextet for clarinet, horn, string trio and piano (2000)
Concerto grosso per tre violoncelli ed orchestra (2000-2001)
Lied for voice and piano (2001)
Concerto per pianoforte ed orchestra “Resurrection” (2001, 2007)
Phedra for voice, choir and orchestra (2002)
Adagio for cello and orchestra (2002-2003)
Fanfarria Real for orchestra (2003)
Concerto grosso No. 2 per 5 clarinetti ed orchestra (2004)
Tempo di Valse for solo cello (2004)
Symphony No. 8 “Lieder der Vergänglichkeit” for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, choir and symphony orchestra (2004, 2007)
Chaconne – in memoriam Giovanni Paolo II from the “Polish Requiem” for chamber orchestra (2005)
Largo per violoncello ed orchestra (2007)
Concerto per corno e orchestra "Winterreise" (2007-2008)

(2009)
literature
Polish maverick, "Choir & Organ" March/April 2008, s. 34-37
Bylander Cindy Krzysztof Penderecki. A Bio-Bibliography, Praeger Publishers, Westport (Connecticut) / London 2004
Erhardt Ludwik Encounters with Krzysztof Penderecki [orig. Spotkania z Krzysztofem Pendereckim], PWM, Kraków 1975
Jacobson Bernard A Polish Renaissance, Phaidon Press Ltd., London 1996
Lisicki Krzysztof Sketches about Krzysztof Penderecki [orig. Szkice o Krzysztofie Pendereckim], Instytut Wydawniczy „PAX”, Warszawa 1973
Malecka-Contamin Barbara Krzysztof Penderecki: Style et Matériaux, Éditions Kimé, Paris 1997
Mirka Danuta The Sonoristic Structuralism of Krzysztof Penderecki, Akademia Muzyczna w Katowicach, Katowice 1997
Robinson Ray (ed.) Studies in Penderecki vol. I, 1998, Prestige Publications, Princeton 1998
Robinson Ray, Winold Allen A Study of the Penderecki St. Luke Passion, Moeck Verlag, Celle 1983
Schulz Reinhard Krzysztof Penderecki.In: Komponisten der Gegenwart (ed. Hanns-Werner Heister, Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer), edition text + kritik, München 1992-
Schwinger Wolfram Penderecki. Leben und Werk, Schott’s Söhne, Mainz 1994
Tomaszewski Mieczysław (red.) The Music of Krzysztof Penderecki. Poetics and Reception, Akademia Muzyczna w Krakowie, Kraków 1995
Zieliński A. Tadeusz Penderecki’s Instrumental Drama [orig. Dramat instrumentalny Pendereckiego], PWM, Kraków 2003
publications
books

The Labyrinth of Time: Five Lectures for the End of the Century [orig. Labirynt czasu. Pięć wykładów na koniec wieku], Presspublica, Warszawa 1997
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