Krzysztof Penderecki

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Penderecki, Krzysztof

(kshĭsh`tôf pändĕrĕts`kē), 1933–, Polish composer. Penderecki studied at the Superior School of Music in Kraków. His music is characterized by unusual sonorities. He has devised his own system of notation to convey the effects desired. Penderecki's works include the Threnody in Memory of the Victims of Hiroshima (1960), a concerto for five-stringed violin (1967–68), Utrenja [morning prayer] (1970), and the St. Luke Passion (1963–66). From 1972 to 1987 he was rector of the Kraków conservatory.

Penderecki, Krzysztof


Born Nov. 23, 1933, in Deębica. Polish composer and leading representative of the Polish avant-garde.

Penderecki teaches composition at the State Higher School of Music in Kraków, where he has been principal since 1972, and at the conservatory in Essen (Federal Republic of Germany). He experiments in sound coloring. His quest for nonmusical means of expressiveness has led him to attach great importance to rhythmic declamation; his work with “speaking choruses” emphasizes articulation, dynamics, and timbres. Penderecki makes use of sound effects and stresses percussion, especially in jazz compositions. In 1959 he began composing religious music that is tinged with “Catholic humanism” and draws upon elements of Gregorian chant. His compositions include The Psalms of David (for mixed choir and percussion; 1958), Anaklasis (for percussion and strings; 1960), Canon (for orchestra and tape recorder; 1962), The Passion According to St. Luke (1966), The Devils of Loudun (based on A. Huxley’s work; 1969), The Eighth Eclogue of Horace (for vocal ensemble; 1972), and music for films and the dramatic theater.


Lisicki, K. Szkice o Krzysztofie Pendereckim. Warsaw, 1973.


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