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World-renowned composer and conductor Penderecki to receive honorary doctorate from IU

For Immediate Release Nov 7, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Award-winning composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the world’s most distinguished musicians, will receive an honorary doctoral degree conferred by Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie. Penderecki will also conduct the IU Jacobs School of Music Oratorio Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of his seminal work “St. Luke Passion.”

A conversation with Penderecki will also be featured in a School of Global and International Studies symposium, “Politics Meets Culture: The Political and Historical Significance of Penderecki’s ‘St. Luke Passion’ (1966).”

Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki conducting
Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki

The IU Jacobs School of Music and School of Global and International Studies organized Penderecki’s visit and performance in Bloomington in light of his major contributions to contemporary music and the significant impact of his works on the culture and politics of central and Eastern Europe.

“Krzysztof Penderecki is one of the most influential composers and performers of the past 50 years,” McRobbie said. “His outstanding lifetime of achievement and remarkable talent continues to shape global musical culture and will certainly have a timeless impact.”

Among Penderecki’s many accolades are four Grammy Awards, the 1992 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, the 1993 Prize of the International Music Council/UNESCO and the 2000 Cannes Award as “Living Composer of the Year.” He became a member of the Royal Academy of Music in Dublin in 1995 and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich in 1998. He became a member of Poland’s Order of the White Eagle in 2005 and was made Commander of the Three Star Order in Riga, Latvia, in 2006.

Penderecki has been awarded honorary doctorates and professorships at numerous universities, including those of Rochester, Bordeau, Leuven, Belgrade, Madrid, Poznań, Luzern, Leipzig, St. Petersburg, Yale, Seoul, and at St. Olaf College, Georgetown University and Duquesne University, among others. 

Penderecki’s “St. Luke Passion” is hailed as one of the most important sacred works of the 20th century. It was composed and premiered during a politically and aesthetically momentous era. 

“One of the most-often-performed and significant composers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Penderecki has had an enormous influence on composers, performers and the musical landscape of the past 50 years and is worthy of the recognition an honorary doctorate from IU would bestow,” Lee Feinstein, founding dean and professor of international studies at the School of Global and International Studies, and Gwyn Richards, dean of the Jacobs School of Music and professor of music in choral conducting, wrote in their letter nominating Penderecki for the honorary doctorate.

Honorary degree presentation

The Indiana University Board of Trustees and McRobbie will present Penderecki with the honorary degree at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at Auer Hall, Simon Music Center, 1201 E. Third St. in Bloomington. The event is free and open to the public. 

Symposium and conversation with Penderecki

“Politics Meets Culture: The Political and Historical Significance of Penderecki’s ‘St. Luke Passion’ (1966)” will be at noon Nov. 15 at Ford-Crawford Hall on the second floor of the Simon Music Center, 200 S. Jordan Ave. The symposium is free and open to the public. 

In addition to Penderecki, symposium participants include Feinstein; Halina Goldberg, professor of musicology at the Jacobs School; Bill Johnston, professor of comparative literature and former director of IU’s Polish Studies Center; Piotr H. Kosicki, assistant professor of history at the University of Maryland; Joanna Nizynska, associate professor of Polish literature and culture in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Culture at IU, where she also directs the Polish Studies Center; Lisa Cooper Vest, assistant professor of musicology at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music; and Piotr Wilczek, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the United States and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

‘St. Luke Passion’

Penderecki will conduct “St. Luke Passion” with the Jacobs School’s Oratorio Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Musical Arts Center. The Oratorio Chorus will be led by Jacobs School faculty Dominick DiOrio, associate professor of choral conducting, and Brent Gault, professor of music education and program director of the IU Children’s Choir. The performance will also feature Alejandra Martínez, soprano soloist; Connor Lidell, baritone soloist; Julian Morris, bass soloist; and Varfolomei Upart, narrator/evangelist. Ticket information is available on the IU Jacobs School of Music Opera and Ballet website.

The honorary degree presentation, performance and symposium can also be viewed via livestream on IU Music Live.

Listen to a podcast about Penderecki

Media Contact

Jacobs School of Music

Melissa Dickson

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