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Honorary Committee

Krzysztof Penderecki

An established Polish composer and conductor. Born on November 23, 1933, in Dębica, Poland, he moved to Cracow in 1951. His international fame rests on works in which he used non-standard playing techniques to produce original sounds and colours (Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, Polymorphia, Fluorescences).

In 1966, he completed St. Luke Passion, which gained international publicity and brought the composer a streak of success. The works composed in 1970s and 1980s (Te Deum, The Polish Requiem) were regarded as a symbol of artistic freedom, while the composer himself was seen as the only free artist behind the Iron Curtain.

Penderecki is one of the most distinguished artists of the world. He has received numerous awards, both national and international, including the prestigious Grammy Awards. He was granted honorary doctorates by several dozen universities, he is an honorary member of major academies of science and art, as well as an honorary professor at many leading music colleges. He was also awarded high decorations, both Polish and foreign, including the Order of the White Eagle. In 1970s, the composer took up conducting. He leads top American and European symphony orchestras.

Penderecki’s output certainly belongs to the most impressive achievements in Polish and international culture. A great devotee of arboriculture, he established the arboretum in Lusławice; he is also a teacher, founder of the European Centre for Music – an international campus dedicated to young artists.

The list of compositions by Penderecki, created over the span of 60 years, comprises more than 150 works, including over 20 for chamber ensembles, 18 for solo instruments, 25 concertante works, 7 symphonies, 21 songs and choral works, 25 cantatas and oratorios, as well as 4 operas. Krzysztof Penderecki has also composed music for over 120 animated films, theatrical plays, puppet plays, television plays, as well as narrative and documentary films.

Sir Simon Rattle OM CBE

Sir Simon Rattle studied at the Royal Academy of Music. From 1980 to 1998, he was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Music Director in 1990. In 2002 he took up his current position of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker. He took up the position of Music director of the London Symphony Orchestra in September 2017.

He has made over 70 recordings for EMI record label, and has received numerous prestigious international awards, such as the 2009 Grammy Award, for his recordings on various labels. His releases include Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Symphony of Psalms, as well as Rachmaninov’s The Bells and Symphonic Dances, all recorded with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

He regularly tours within Europe, North America and Asia. His partnership with the Berliner Philiharmoniker has also broken new ground with the education programme Zukunft@Bphil, earning the Comenius Prize in 2004, the Schiller Special Prize in 2005, the Golden Camera and the Urania Medal in 2007. He and the Berliner Philharmoniker were also appointed International UNICEF Ambassadors in the same year.

Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker were frequently invited to perform during major festivals, such as the Baden-Baden Osterfestspiele, Salzburg Osterfestspiele, or Aix-en-Provence Festival. He conducted numerous opera performances, in opera houses such as Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Wiener Staatsoper, Royal Opera House, and Metropolitan Opera.

He works closely with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Wiener Philharmoniker. He is the Founding Patron of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Sir Simon Rattle was knighted in 1994 and in 2014 he received the Order of Merit from Her Majesty the Queen.