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Krzysztof Penderecki

Composer/Conductor

Multi-award winning Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki is one of the world’s leading and most distinguished musicians of his generation.

Works like Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1960), St. Luke Passion (1966), Cello Concerto No.2 (1982) written for Mstislav Rostropovich, Polish Requiem (1984), Symphony No.3 (1995), Violin Concerto No.2 “Metamorphosen” written for Anne-Sophie Mutter (1995), Symphony No.7 “The Seven Gates of Jerusalem” (1996) and the Double Concerto (2012) written for Janine Jansen and Julian Rachlin, to name a few, are now considered masterworks of our time.

Aside from composition, Krzysztof Penderecki has developed an outstanding career as a conductor over the years. He was guest conductor of both the NDR Elbphilharmonie and MDR Leipzig sinfonieorchesters, Artistic Director of the Casals Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1992–2002), and Artistic Advisor to the Beijing Music Festival. Since 2003 he has held the position of Artistic Director of the Sinfonia Varsovia with which he has developed a wide range of projects. He also regularly works with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Iuventus – both of which he has recorded several albums with – Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Sinfonietta Cracovia, and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2014, Anna Schmidt filmed a long documentary film on Penderecki’s music and life, “Paths through the Labyrinth”.

Conducting engagements of the 2018/19 season include the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan and Hiroshima symphony orchestras, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern and Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa. Recent highlights include the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Staatskapelle Weimar, Dresdner Philharmonie, Orquesta Nacional de España, Orquesta Sinfónica di Galicia, the closing concert of the 2017 Prague Spring Festival (Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra), and a tour of Latin America including concerts with Orquesta Sinfônica del Estado de São Paulo.

Over the years, Penderecki has garnered numerous awards both as composer and conductor – his most recent accolade is a fifth Grammy Award (2017) for Best Choral Performance (he was previously awarded in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2013). Other awards include the Grand Art Prize from the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia (1966), Prix Italia (1967), Sibelius Gold Medal (1967), Polish Composers’ Association Prize (1970), Prix Arthur Honegger (1977), Sibelius Prize of the Wihuri Foundation and National Prize of Poland (both in 1983), Premio Lorenzo il Magnifico (1985), University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition (1992), Prize of the International Music Council/UNESCO (1993), Music Prize of the City of Duisburg (1999), Cannes award “Living Composer of the Year” (2000), Premio Príncipe de Asturias (2001), Romano Guardini Prize of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria (2002), and the Praemium Imperiale (2004).

Since 1990, Penderecki has held the Grand Cross for Distinguished Services of the Order of Merit in Germany and Chevalier de Saint Georges. In 1995 he became a member of the Royal Academy of Music in Dublin, and in 1998 a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He was made Commander of the Three Star Order in Riga, Latvia in 2006 and is a member of the Order of the White Eagle in Poland. Krzysztof Penderecki is honorary doctor and honorary professor of numerous international universities.