The Eastman School of Music will honor the legendary Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki in a week-long festival from Feb. 23 through Feb. 27. Born in 1933, Penderecki is known for his accomplishments on violin and piano and in composing. He graduated from the Krakow Conservatory at the age of 18. After graduating, he joined the staff of the school as a teacher of composition. In 1959 Penderecki won the top three prizes – under three different pseudonyms – at the Warsaw Competition of Young Composers. Penderecki quickly earned a reputation as one of the most innovative composers of his generation. His most noted accomplishments are his experiments with notation, time and instrumental techniques. In the 1960s, Penderecki earned many prizes and awards for his compositions. Beginning in 1966, he accepted many composition residencies including appointments in Berlin, Yale University and Krakow. Penderecki has received numerous honorary degrees, including one from Eastman in 1972.Penderecki’s early music, similar to the style of the neoclassicism prevalent in Post World War I Poland, shows “characteristically vigorous rhythmic and lyrical melodic traits.” Penderecki never really explored conventional serial techniques, but instead opted to delve into textural writing. In his earlier music, Penderecki used graphic notations and extended instrumental techniques like many of his contemporaries. However, unlike many of his contemporaries, he was a natural dramatist.In his later works, Penderecki relaxed his compositional language as he allowed lyrical melodies to take a more prominent role in his music. Penderecki’s First Violin Concerto, written for Isaac Stern, incorporated many of the musical ideas that he would use in his later music. Some of these ideas include use of the tritone and the semitone. Penderecki’s later works have been described as using “modernistic fixation on deliberately restricted technical means – intervallic repetition, doffedly persistent rhythms, somber orchestral colors and a tendency to deploy his ideas rhetorically.”Penderecki’s career as a conductor began in 1972 when he recorded several of his own works for EMI. He has since conducted around the world, mostly in the United States and Europe.During the festival, Penderecki will lead a composition master class and symposium for students and faculty. In addition, his music will be performed in two free public concerts.On Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall, there will be a performance of Penderecki’s chamber music. This music, chosen in collaboration with Penderecki, will feature Eastman faculty performers. Oleh Krysa, violin, and Tatiana Tchekina, piano, will open the concert with the Rochester premiere of Penderecki’s Violin Sonata No. 1. Other music to be performed includes the Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio and Cadenza for Solo Viola.On Friday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre there will be a performance by the Eastman Philharmonia, conducted by Brad Lubman and Penderecki himself. Lubman will be conducting the first half, which will consist of several of Penderecki’s pieces including “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” and “The Dream of Jacob.” After an intermission, Penderecki will step to the podium to conduct his second violin concerto, “Metamorphosen,” which will comprise the concert’s whole second half. This piece won a Grammy in 1999 for “Best Classical Contemporary Composition.”For more information concerning the concerts, please call the Eastman concert office at (585) 274-1100.Gorode can be reached at

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