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Krzysztof Penderecki

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Krzysztof Penderecki

Biography

Krzysztof Penderecki (23 November 1933, Dębica, Poland - 29 March 2020, Krakow, Poland) took violin and piano lessons at an early age and was admitted to the Krakow Conservatory at the age of 18, studying at the same time philosophy, art history and literary history at the local university and from 1954 composition at the Krakow State Academy of Music, first with Artur Malewski and after his death in 1957 with Stanislas Wiechowicz. In 1958 he finished his studies with a diploma and was appointed professor at the Musikhochschule.

In 1959, Penderecki's three works Strophes, Emanations and Psalms of David won first prizes in the 2nd Warsaw Competition of Young Polish Composers of the Composers' Union. Only one year later, in 1960, his piece Anaklasis for 42 string instruments, premièred by the Südwestfunk Orchestra under the direction of Hans Rosbaud at the Donaueschingen Festival, was celebrated by the press. With these works and other works following in rapid succession, such as Dimensions of Time and Silence, Threnody (UNESCO Award in 1961), Polymorphia and Fluorescences, the String Quartet No. 1, Penderecki laid the foundations for his international reputation as a composer.

From 1966 to 1968, Penderecki taught at the Essen Folkwang Hochschule. In 1968, he received a scholarship of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) in Berlin. In 1970 he was awarded the Prize of the Union of Polish Composers. Since 1972, he was rector of the Krakow Musikhochschule; from 1973 to 1978, he was professor at the Yale University, New Haven. In these years, on extended concert tours all over the world, Penderecki rapidly acquired an international reputation even as a conductor of both his own compositions and works of other composers.


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