- Adrian Thomas
(b Dębica, Nov 23, 1933). Polish composer and conductor. He first came to prominence as an explorer of novel string textures and for many years his name was popularly synonymous with avant-garde Polish music. His subsequent allusions to 18th- and 19th-century idioms and genres, in his choral and operatic works as well as in his purely instrumental pieces, has produced a substantial body of work which challenges many assumptions about the nature and purpose of contemporary music.
Penderecki studied composition privately with Franciszek Skołyszewski and then (1954–8) with Malawski and Wiechowicz at the State Higher School of Music (now the Academy) in Kraków. On graduating, he joined the staff of the school as a teacher of composition. His first major success came in 1959 when Strofy (‘Strophes’), Emanacje (‘Emanations’) and Psalmy Dawida (‘Psalms of David’) were awarded the top three prizes at a competition organized by the Union of Polish Composers. Subsequently he came to the attention of two influential figures who were to prove crucial in bringing his music to audiences outside Poland: the publisher Hermann Moeck (who had heard ...