Krzysztof Knittel: AD-W 2014

(Photo of Krzysztof Knittel by Paweł Kwiek)

(Submitted by ISCM – POLISH SECTION)

Krzysztof Knittel (b. 1947 in Warsaw) studied sound engineering and composition at the Frederic Chopin State Higher School of Music in Warsaw with Tadeusz Baird, Andrzej Dobrowolski and Włodzimierz Kotoński. Now he is professor emeritus of the Fryderyk Chopin Music University where he was teaching composition and interactive improvisation.
He was teaching also at music academies in Krakow and Lodz, has worked at the Experimental Studio of Polish Radio since 1973 and at the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at State University of New York at Buffalo in 1978.
He composes symphonic, choral and chamber pieces, for opera, ballet, theatre and film, electro-acoustic and computer works that have been performed in most European countries, Asia, North and South Americas. Concerts dedicated exclusively to his music were held in Barcelona, Brno, Budapest, Buffalo, Cracow, Kromeriz, Leipzig, Lviv, Moscow, New York City, Sao Paulo, Warsaw. He took part in many art performances, built sound installations and played in improvised music groups. He has written compositions for the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio, “Amadeus” Chamber Orchestra of the Polish Radio, Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, Baltic Opera in Gdansk, Camerata Silesia Choir and soloists who have performed his music include Elisabeth Chojnacka, Olga Pasichnyk (Critics’ Prize at the Warsaw Autumn Festival for her performance in The Heartpiece – Double Opera composed together with John King), Tomasz Stańko, and many others. His discography covers over 50 albums. Among his honors are the Solidarity Award in Music (1985), Polish Composers’ Union Prize and Cyprian Norwid Prize (2003), “Gloria Artis” Silver Medal (2005); and a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts in New York (1998). He also received the Gustav Mahler Kompositionspreis 2017 and The Theater Award of the City Gdańsk 2017 for his opera The Last Judgement. Knittel is the Co-founder of several improvised music groups: the KEW Composers Group (1973-75), Cytula Tyfun da Bamba Orchester (1981), the Independent Electroacoustic Music Studio (1982-84), interdisciplinary group Freight Train (1986-2017), the European Improvisation Orchestra (1996-98), CH&K&K (since 1999), and Mad Cavaliers (since 2003). He has served as director of the International Festival of Contemporary Music “Warsaw Autumn” (1995-98), president of the Polish Composers’ Union (1999-2003), vice-president (since 2000) and president (2005-2017) of the Polish Music Council, and a member of the Board of the European Music Council (2014-18), and was also the founder of international Ad Libitum festival of improvised music in 2006.

AD-W 2014 for actor, improvising soloists, orchestra and choir, which was commissioned by the Polish Society for Contemporary Music and was performed during the 2014 ISCM World Music Days in Wrocław, is based on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).



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The International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) is a premier forum for the advancement, dissemination and interchange of new music from around the world. Through ISCM, our members promote contemporary music in all its varied forms, strengthening musical life in their local contexts and making their music and its creators known to world.