Amid the pandemic-driven chaos of the past weeks, it may have been easy to overlook the death of a Polish legend: the composer Krzysztof Penderecki, who died in Krakow at age 86 on 29 March after a long illness.
Penderecki has been widely hailed as one of the most famous and culturally influential Poles of his age, mentioned as a composer in the same breath as Frederic Chopin. Perhaps best known for his landmark 1960 experimental string composition, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, when he was just 26, Penderecki’s music was also featured in several major films such as The Exorcist and The Shining, and he won four Grammy awards.
Penderecki’s death was not the result of COVID-19 (coronavirus), for which he tested negative.
Due to the pandemic quarantine, Penderecki’s funeral was closed to the public. However, the Polish government has said it plans to honor him with a state funeral and intern his ashes in the crypt of the national pantheon at the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Krakow.