Krzysztof Penderecki Dead at 86

The Polish composer was best known for collaborating with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and contributing to soundtracks for 'The Exorcist,' 'The Shining' and 'Wild at Heart'

BY Allie GregoryPublished Mar 29, 2020

Polish avant-garde composer/conductor Krzysztof Penderecki passed away earlier today following a battle with a "long and serious illness" at his home in Krakow. He was 86 years old.

Andrzej Giza, the director of the Ludwig van Beethoven Association, confirmed the news of Penderecki's death this morning. Additionally, Penderecki's daughter Beata Penderecka confirmed that the artist tested negative for COVID-19, but did not share his official cause of death.

Penderecki's most well-known work is his 1960 piece Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. He was also known for his work with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and his soundtrack contributions to iconic films like William Friedkin's The Exorcist, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, and David Lynch's Wild at Heart and TV series Twin Peaks.

Born in 1933, the composer graduated the Academy of Music in Kraków in 1958 and worked continuously through the '60s, '70s and onward, composing numerous operas, symphonies, choral works and orchestral pieces before he began working in more contemporary forms.

Before his passing, Penderecki remained active in music, composing an album with Henryk Górecki, Portishead's Beth Gibbons, and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra titled Symphony of Sorrowful Song just last April.

Penderecki was the recipient of dozens of awards for his music, including four Grammys, the Wolf Prize in Arts in 1987, and Prix Italia in 1967 and 1968, among many other accolades.

He is survived by his wife, Elzbieta, as well as his son and two daughters.

See Greenwood's tribute to the late artist below.

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