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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Penderecki, Krzysztof

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Krzysztof Penderecki (b1933)


Krzysztof Penderecki’s father was a lawyer and a keen violinist, who ensured that his son received both piano and violin lessons from an early age. When he was eighteen Krzysztof entered the Kraków Conservatory to continue his musical studies, while at the same time studying philosophy, art history and literary history at the University in Kraków. Composition was studied privately, initially with Franciszek Skolyszewski, then from 1955 with Artur Malewski, and after his death in 1957 with Stanislas Wiechowicz. Having graduated in 1958, Penderecki was immediately appointed to the staff of the Kraków Conservatory, teaching composition. The following year three of his works, Strophes, Emanations, and Psalms of David won first, second and third prizes in the Young Polish Composers’ Competition, and the first was performed at the Warsaw Autumn Festival. Hans Rosbaud conducted his Anaklasis at the Donaueschingen Festival to considerable acclaim in 1960, and the following year his Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima was a prize-winner at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. These works placed the composer at the forefront of the Western avant-garde; they combined a highly experimental and expressionistic use of sound with a radical humanistic message. Penderecki’s international reputation was confirmed with his St Luke Passion, first performed in Münster Cathedral in 1966, and the Dies Irae of 1967, dedicated to the victims of Auschwitz. Between 1966 and 1968 he taught at the Folkwang Hochschule

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