Maestro Jan Krenz, an outstanding conductor, composer, and honorary member of the Polish Composers’ Union, died on 15 September 2020 at the age of 94.
Jan Krenz was a student of Zbigniew Drzewiecki (piano), Kazimierz Sikorski (composition) and Kazimierz Wiłkomirski (conducting). From 1947-49 he worked at the Poznań Philharmonic. In 1949, he became associated with the Polish Radio Grand Symphony Orchestra (WOSPR) in Katowice, in which he worked till 1951 under Grzegorz Fitelberg. After the latter’s death in 1953, he became the principal conductor and director of the orchestra. During 1968-73, he was the artistic director of the Grand Theatre in Warsaw. Simultaneously, he conducted the Danmarks Radio Orchestra in Kopenhagen, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, as well as appearing as a guest conductor with such orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden, Leningrad Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Throughout 1979-82, he held the post of General music director of the City of Bonn, where he conducted the Beethoven Hallé
Orchestra. During 1983-85, he was associated with the Dutch Radio in Hilversum. In 2005-2008, he was the artistic director and first conductor of the Kraków Philharmonic.
He regularly participated in the “Warsaw Autumn” International Festival of Contemporary Music (receiving twice – in 1969 and 1974 – the “Orpheus” award for performances of Polish music) as well as festivals in Edinburgh, Bergen, Prague, Montreux, Osaka and Vienna.
Jan Krenz received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Gold Cross of Merit (1952), State Award, 2nd Class (1955), The Music Award of the City of Katowice (1957), the Award of the Polish Composers’ Union (twice: in 1968 and 1996), State Award, 1st Class (1972), the “Diamond Baton” Award for the 70th anniversary of the Polish Radio (1995), Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, Gold Medal for Merit to Culture “Gloria Artis” (2005) and numerous international awards for his records.