Krzysztof Penderecki was a Polish composer and conductor who amongst many other accomplishments personally composed four operas and created eight symphonies. You may know him better however as the musical mastermind behind works included in The Exorcist and The Shining.
Penderecki was born in Dębica, Poland in 1933 and survived through WWII to go on to study at various musical institutions, creating unique and groundbreaking music as he went, and reached his composing debut in 1959.
Penderecki later worked with influential modern musicians, such as The Manic Street Preachers, Aphex Twin and Radiohead.
As far as awards go, Penderecki was certainly recognized as one of the best composers of his generation. He amassed three Grammy awards (1988, 1999 and 2017) and the Polish Academy Award for Best Film Score (2008). On top of this, he was also awarded the Cannes Classical Award for Best Living Composer Of The Year in 2000.
When it came to contributing to soundtracks on the screen Penderecki is credited 32 times. He added his visionary work to titles such as Ready Player One, Black Mirror, Twin Peaks and Shutter Island as well as the aforementioned Exorcist and Shining offerings. When it came to putting his music into horror, Penderecki was a natural, as one critic for ‘The New Republic’ wrote about the Exorcist’s sound “even the music is faultless, most of it by Krzysztof Penderecki, who at last is where he belongs”. Penderecki quickly became known as somewhat of a horror film director’s best choice.
To see even a glimpse of how influential Penderecki was around the world, you merely have to look at what he leaves behind. He has a bronze bust of his likeness in the Pomeranian Philharmonic, and a monument in Kielce. He even had an asteroid belt named after him.
Penderecki passed away in his home in Poland and is survived by his wife Elzbieta, his son Lukasz and his two daughters Beata and Dominika.