Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Krzysztof Penderecki Visits UB

Krzysztof Penderecki, composer
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
3:00PM | Baird Recital Hall

University at Buffalo is thrilled to welcome world renowned composer and conductor, Krzysztof Penderecki to speak as part of the on-going Composer Seminar Series.  Maestro Penderecki will be presenting this talk at the University at Buffalo in addition to his appearance with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in early December, leading the orchestra in a program which will center on his Concerto for Violin and Cello.  The BPO is also an avid supporter and participant of the Center's June in Buffalo program.

Maestro Penderecki's biography is as follows:

Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki
Born on November 23, 1933, in Dębica, Poland, Krzysztof Penderecki began studying composition under Franciszek Skolyszewski. He later studied at the Krakow Conservatory under Artur Malawski and Stanislaw Wiechowicz and graduated in 1958. He was then appointed as a professor at the Conservatory. Between 1966 and 1968, Penderecki was a lecturer at the Volkwang Hochschule für Musik in Essen, Germany. In 1968, he received a grant from the German Academic Exchange Organisation — DAAD. He was appointed rector of the Krakow Conservatory in 1972. In the years between 1972 and 1978, Krzysztof Penderecki was a professor at the Yale University School of Music.

Krzysztof Penderecki’s first public appearance on an international level was in 1959 at the Warsaw Autumn Festival. There he performed Strophen, one of three works for which he received first prizes at the 2nd National Young Composers Competition. The other two works were Psalms of David and Emanations.

In 1959, he composed Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. For this, one of his best known and most often performed compositions, he received the UNESCO prize. This piece was followed by a series of success: in 1960 at the Donaueschinger Musiktage with Anaklasis, the following year with Polymorphia, Phonograms, and Psalm, and in 1966, St. Luke Passion, the first major work of his career.

The following year brought the composition and performance of another major choral work, Dies Irae, known also as the Auschwitz Oratorio.

In 1968-69, Penderecki wrote his first opera, The Devils of Loudun, commissioned by the Hamburg State Opera where it had its world premiere in 1969.

In 1972, Penderecki began his conducting career. Since that year, he has been seen on the podiums of the most important orchestras of the world.

Penderecki completed his Symphony No. 1 in 1973 and led the world premiere at Peterborough in England.

Penderecki’s second stage work, Paradise Lost — the Sacra Rappresentazione is based on a libretto by Christopher Fry after Milton. It had its premiere at the Lyric Opera in Chicago on November 29, 1978. In January, 1979, Penderecki conducted a stage production of Paradise Lost at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and, having been invited by Pope John Paul II, gave a concert at the Vatican. The world premiere of Penderecki’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 took place in Basle in April, 1977 with Isaac Stern. Zubin Mehta conducted the first performance of the Symphony No. 2 in New York on May 1, 1980.

On January 11, 1983, Penderecki conducted the premiere of his Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 2, performed by the Berlin Philharmonic with Mstislav Rostropovich as the soloist. It was followed by the Concerto for Viola and Orchestra which had its world premiere in 1983 in Caracas, and by the Polish Requiem. The Requiem premiered in 1984 and was commissioned by the Würtemberg Radio and State Theater to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the end of World War II.

The world premiere of Penderecki’s third opera, The Black Mask, based on the play by Gerhart Hauptmann, was the focus of attention at the 1986 Salzburg Festival. It was followed by performances in Vienna and the first U.S. performance took place at the Santa Fe Opera during the summer of 1988.

In March 1987 Penderecki’s Song of Cherubim for a cappella choir was premiered at a gala concert given in Washington D.C. for Mstislav Rostropovich’s 60th birthday. Veni Creator, also for a cappella choir, was conducted by Penderecki himself when he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Madrid in 1987. That same year, he received the Karl-Wolf Award from the Israel Wolf-Foundation.

In 1988 Penderecki received a Grammy Award for his Concerto for Cello No. 2. In November 1989, Lorin Maazel conducted Penderecki’s Symphony No. 4, Adagio, commissioned by the French Government for the bicentennial of the French Revolution.

The premiere of Penderecki’s fourth opera, King Ubu (based on Alfred Jarry), took place on July 6, 1991 at the Munich State Opera.

In December 1996 Krzysztof Penderecki completed Seven Gates of Jerusalem, which closed the celebrations of 3000 years of Jerusalem. In February 1997 he was awarded the Crystal Award in Davos, Switzerland. The world premiere of Penderecki’s Hymn to St. Daniil took place on 4 October 1997 in Moscow. The piece was commissioned by Channel Six of Moscow Television to mark 850 years of Moscow. Penderecki’s Hymn to St. Adalbert was written to mark the millennium of Gdańsk and was premiered on 18 October 1997.

In 1999 Krzysztof Penderecki received two Grammy Awards for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, (Violin Concerto No. 2 – “Metamorphosen” performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter) and for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (Penderecki Violin Concerto No. 2 under the composer’s baton). On 23 January 2000, Krzysztof Penderecki received the “Best Living Composer” award at the Midem Classic in Cannes and in October 2000 an honorary doctorate from the University of Luzern.

In October 2001 the Jury of the Principe de Asturias Foundation awarded him the prestigious Principe de Asturias de las Artes Award 2001. In December, Krzysztof Penderecki became an honorary member of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong.

In 2005, Penderecki was awarded the Order of the White Eagle — Poland’s highest decoration. In 2006 he received the Three Star Order in Latvia. In autumn 2007 the composer became the Honorary Professor of St. Petersburg Rimsky- Korsakov State Conservatory and in 2008, the Honorary Professor of Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory. On 14 April 2008, Penderecki received the “Orły 2008” Award for his music for Andrzej Wajda’s film Katyń.

In 2009, Penderecki received the Ordre de Mérite du Grand-Duché de Luxemburg and an Honorary Order from the President of the Republic of Armenia. (Biography credited to the webpage of Krzysztof Penderecki and the BPO)

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We hope to see you Tuesday afternoon with Krzysztof Penderecki!


Maestro Penderecki's conducting of the BPO is Saturday, December 3 at 8:00PM with a beginning lecture at 7:00PM.  Visit www.bpo.org for ticket information.

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