Obituary: Polish Conductor & Composer Jan Krenz Dies, Aged 94

By Logan Martell

On September 15, 2020, Polish conductor and composer Jan Krenz passed away at the age of 94.

Krenz is noted for being a part of a generation of musicians responsible for reviving the arts in Poland after World War II.

Born in the city of Włocławek on July 14, 1926, Krenz first studied piano in Warsaw. When the Germans occupied the city, he continued his studies, with his 1943 string quartet being performed at an underground concert. After being evacuated from the city, and briefly imprisoned in the German camp in Pruszków, he completed his studies in 1947 at the State Higher School of Music in Łódź.

Krenz joined the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1949, serving as deputy conductor under Grzegorz Fitelberg, whom he succeeded in 1953. He went on to serve as artistic director of the Grand Theatre in Warsaw, as well as the General Director of Music in Bonn.

Over the course of his career he performed with orchestras such as Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.