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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Prominent Polish conductor Jan Krenz dies at 94

15.09.2020 17:26
Jan Krenz, one of Poland’s most distinguished conductors, has died at the age of 94.
Jan Krenz, pictured in 2007.
Jan Krenz, pictured in 2007. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Rybczyński

He belonged to a generation of musicians who laid the  foundations of musical life in Poland after World War II.

He made his debut with the Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 20. Between 1953 and 1967, he served as Music Director of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, raising its artistic profile and taking the ensemble on worldwide tours including to China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

In 1968, he moved to Warsaw to take up the post of Artistic Director of the Grand Opera Theatre. His productions of Otello, Electra and Boris Godunov entered the annals of Polish opera history as outstanding achievements.

In addition to his work at home, Krenz worked closely with orchestras in Denmark, Japan and Germany. 

He also won acclaim as a composer. He made his debut during the German occupation and continued to write chamber, vocal and symphonic music for many years.

He composed soundtracks for many films, including Andrzej Wajda's Canal and Andrzej Munk's Eroica. In 1982, after a break of 15 years, he took up composition again.

In 1995, Polish Radio awarded Krenz its Diamond Baton for outstanding services to public broadcasting. 

His distinctions also included the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Reborn Poland; the Gold Gloria Artis Medal of Cultural Merit; an honorary doctorate from the Music Academy in Łódź; and numerous international awards for his recordings. 

(mk/pk)