Poland has issued a stamp to commemorate the 80th birth anniversary of Krzysztof Penderecki, a Polishcomposer andconductor. The Guardianhas called him Poland’s greatest living composer. Among his best known works are hisThrenody to the Victims of Hiroshima, St. Luke Passion, Polish Requiem, Anaklasis, four operas, eight symphonies and other orchestral pieces, a variety of instrumental concertos, choral settings of mainly religious texts, as well as chamber and instrumental works.
Born in Debicato a lawyer, Penderecki studied music atJagiellonian Universityand the Academy of Music in Krakow. After graduating from the Academy of Music, Penderecki became a teacher at the academy and he began his career as a composer in 1959 during theWarsaw Autumnfestival. His Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshimaforstring orchestraand the choral workSt. Luke Passion, have received popular acclaim. His first opera,The Devils of Loudun, was not immediately successful. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Penderecki’s composing style changed, with his first violin concerto focusing on thesemitoneand thetritone. His choral work Polish Requiemwas written in the 1980s, with Penderecki expanding it in 1993 and 2005.
During his life, Penderecki has won several prestigious awards, including the Commander’s Cross in 1964, thePrix Italiain 1967 and 1968, the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restitutain 1964, three Grammy Awardsin 1987, 1998 and 2001, and the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Compositionin 1992.