A Polish composer and conductor born November 23, 1933 in Debica.
A violinist and pianist by training, Krzysztof Penderecki studied composition at the Krakow Music Academy (1954-1958) notably with Artur Malawski and Stanislaw Wiechowicz. He rapidly acquired international fame with his first works in the serial vein (Strophen, 1959 ; Anaklasis, 1960).
With his work on chromaticism, clusters and glissandos, he developed a radically original style, highly coloured, for rubbed stringed instruments, as in Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1960), String Quartet no 1 (1960), Kanon (1962). Krzysztof Penderecki also composed many works of religious inspiration, marking a return to a certain tonality (Stabat Mater, 1962; Passion according to Saint Luke, 1966; Magnificat, 1973). Abandoning clusters in favour of intervals of tritones and minor seconds, he developed his style in the direction of post-romantic simplicity (Paradise Lost, 1978; Violin Concerto, 1977; Symphony no 2, 1980) and continued his research into tone-colour, the infinite spectrum of sound colours (De natura sonoris no 3, 2012; La Follia, 2013). Penderecki’s celebrity also grew through his operas (The Devils of Loudun, 1969; Ubu Rex, 1991) and the seventh art, where his music was used by directors such as Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese.
After having taught, notably at Yale, while maintaining his conducting career, Penderecki was rewarded with doctorates and honorary professorships from many universities and conservatories around the world.