WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The ashes of award-winning Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki were laid to rest at a state funeral on Tuesday after a two-year delay caused by the pandemic.
Polish President Andrzej Duda, Penderecki’s widow Elzbieta Penderecka and their daughter and son, musicians, artists and a host of ordinary Polish citizens attended the funeral in the southern city of Krakow.
Penderecki died in Krakow on March 29, 2020, aged 86, but COVID-19 restrictions led to a long postponement of the celebrated composer’s funeral.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has canceled his attendance at the service after testing positive for COVID-19. Penderecki worked and taught in Germany for many years.
Penderecki’s cream-coloured alabaster urn was buried among some of Poland’s greatest authors and scientists in the National Pantheon in the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Krakow, after the mass at which his music was performed.
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The head of the Catholic Church in Poland, Archbishop Wojciech Polak, said in his homily that the entire music world bid farewell to a man who believed music should make life better. Polak said it had particular resonance today as people are dying in Ukraine.
In his speech, Duda praised Penderecki as a world-class artist who chose to live in Poland and contribute richly to its culture.
Penderecki was one of the world’s most popular contemporary classical music composers whose works featured in Hollywood films such as ‘The Shining’ and ‘Shutter Island’.
He was best known for his orchestral and choral compositions like “St. Luke Passion” and “Seven Gates of Jerusalem”, although its scope is much broader. Rock fans know him for his work with Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.
A committed violinist and educator, he has built a music center opposite his home in Luslawice, southern Poland, where young virtuosos have the opportunity to perform and learn from world-renowned masters.
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