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Penderecki & Sinfonietta





The Orchestra of the Royal Capital City of Krakow Sinfonietta Cracovia has been closely associated with Professor Krzysztof Penderecki since its creation. Thanks to the efforts of Elżbieta and Krzysztof Penderecki a group of talented musicians – initially operating under the name Young Krakow Chamber Musicians – transformed into a professional and versatile ensamble specialising in the interpretations of modern music. The close relationship between Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Composer led the Orchestra to become the municipal cultural institution and one of the leading chamber orchestras in Poland and Europe.


Initially Sinfonietta Cracovia performed under the baton of Krzysztof Penderecki in in a chamber, strings-only set-up, performing such of his works as Sinfonietta per archi, Sinfonietta No. 2 per clarinetto ed archi, Sinfonietta No. 3 ‹‹Leaves of an Unwritten Diary››, Agnus Dei, Chaconne or Concerto per viola ed orchestra with Robert Kabara, the first director of the orchestra, as a soloist. As the demand for the performances of symphonic pieces increased the Orchestra systematically expanded its repertoire and soon begun to perform Penderecki’s most monumental works, both vocal-instrumental and instrumental, such as Te Deum, Polish Requiem, Symphony No. 7 ‹‹Seven Gates of Jerusalem››, Symphony No. 6 ‹‹Chinesische Lieder››, Symphony No. 4 ‹‹Adagio››, Anaklasis, Entrata, Violin Concertos, Concerto per clarinetto, Concerto doppio per violino, viola ed orchestra, Concerto for horn and orchestra ‹‹Winterreise››, Concerto grosso per tre violoncelli ed orchestra. Sinfonietta Cracovia conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki regularly performed at the most renowned world stages (in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy and even Lebanon, amongst others), cooperating with such outstanding artists as Julian Rachlin, Radovan Vlatković, David Geringas, Boris Pergamenschikow, Sarah McElravy and Grigorij Zhyslin – to name only a few.


Strong relationship between Krzysztof Penderecki and the Sinfonietta Cracovia resulted in regular invitations to the official celebrations of the Composer’s jubilees. In 2018, a year marking Penderecki’s 85th birthday, the Orchestra presented his music on the stages of Poland, Japan, Austria, France and Croatia, performing with such artists as Lawrence Power, Rainer Honeck, Rafael Payare and Tomasz Konieczny. Sinfonietta Cracovia also annually performs at the prestigious Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival organised by Elżbieta Penderecka.


When in 2014 Jurek Dybał, a conductor and Vienna Philharmonic musician closely associated with the Pendereckis, was appointed as Sinfonietta Cracovia’s new director and chief conductor, the bond between the Orchestra and Krzysztof Penderecki strengthened even more. Dybał has dedicated himself to promoting and popularizing Polish music around the world, with a particular emphasis on the Penderecki’s ouvré. He conducted the Polish premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Adagio for Strings, he also participated in the world premiere of the Composer’s quintet Leaves from an Unwritten Diary and Duo concertante (Polish and French premiere).


Jurek Dybał is the founder and director of the Krzysztof Penderecki International Festival – Level 320 in Zabrze. As part of this event, Sinfonietta Cracovia participated in innovative multimedia mega-productions presenting the music of the festival’s Patron in a stage setting, accompanied by modern dance, in the post-industrial spaces of Zabrze. During festival’s third edition Dybał conducted Polish premiere (in the series of world premieres) of the Penderecki’s Concertino per tromba e orchestra, co-commissioned by the Sinfonietta Cracovia (with Musikverein Graz and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern). The soloist of that concert was Gábor Boldoczki, an outstanding Hungarian trumpet player. Boldoczki, Sinfonietta Cracovia and Dybał collaborated on recording the album Oriental Trumpet Concertos (Sony Classical, 2016), which was conducted by the latter. In January 2017 the CD won the International Classical Music Award for the best contemporary album. The Orchestra’s following album Fryderyk Chopin: Piano Concertos, recorded by the Sinfonietta Cracovia and pianist Szymon Nehring (finalist of the XVII International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, winner of the Artur Rubinstein Piano Competition 2017 in Tel Aviv) with Penderecki and Dybał as conductors has been awarded Pizzicato’s Supersonic Award and Joker Award of the Crescendo magazine, getting international acclaim amongsts critics.


In 2016 Jurek Dybał was the musical director of the critically acclaimed production of Penderecki’s opera Ubu Rex (Silesian Opera in Bytom, Poland), which was awarded the Golden Mask Award for the best show of 2016. Dybał himself received the prestigious Jan Kiepura Prize for the best Polish opera conductor of 2017 in recognition of his performance as the production’s musical director and conductor.


The Orchestra also promotes Penderecki’s works among the youngest – through concerts and recordings dedicated to children. Sinfonietta Cracovia closely cooperates with the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music in Lusławice, organising concerts, recordings and conducting courses initiated by Jurek Dybał.


Since 2014 until his untimely death in 2020 Professor Penderecki has been the Chairman of the Artistic and Programming Council of the Orchestra of the Royal Capital City of Krakow Sinfonietta Cracovia.


In 2016, at the initiative of the director of the Orchestra, Jurek Dybał, Professor Penderecki assumed the honorary patronage over the International Composer Competition Sinfonietta per Sinfonietta held annualy by the Sinfonietta Cracovia within the framework of its international Sinfonietta Festival.