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Knittel, Krzysztof

Born in 1947 in Warsaw, he studied sound engineering, composition, conducting, and music theory with Tadeusz Baird, Andrzej Dobrowolski and Włodzimierz Kotoński at the Fryderyk Chopin State High School of Music in Warsaw. From 1973 he collaborated with the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, and from 1978, he worked at the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts in Buffalo.

He creates computer and electroacoustic works, writes music for ballets, theatre and films, designs sound installations, composes for orchestras, choirs and chamber ensembles, e.g. for Warsaw Philharmonic, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Amadeus Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Silesia, as well as soloists such as Elżbieta Chojnacka, Olga Pasichnyk (Orpheus Award at Warsaw Autumn for her part in The Heartpiece – Double Opera composed jointly by Krzysztof Knittel and John King), Janusz Olejniczak, Tomasz Stańko, and many others. As a composer and performer of his own music, he has given performances throughout Europe, as well as in Asia and the Americas (including monographic concerts dedicated in Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia and Spain). He was a founding member of the KEW Composers’ Group (with Elżbieta Sikora and Wojciech Michniewski, 1973–75), Cytula Tyfun da Bamba Orchestra (1981), Independent Electroacoustic Music Studio (1982–84), Freight Train interdisciplinary group (1986– ), European Improvisation Orchestra (1996–98), CH&K&K (1999–, with Marek Chołoniewski and Włodzimierz Kiniorski) and Mud Cavaliers (2003–).

In 1985 he was granted the Solidarity Music Prize for his string quartet dedicated to Father Jerzy Popiełuszko. He was also honoured with the New York Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant to Artists (1998), Norwid Prize (2003), Award of the Polish Composers’ Union (2003), Gloria Artis Silver Medal of Merit to Culture (2005), Gold Medal of the Protection of War Memorials (2005), and Badge of Merit to Polish Culture (2007). He has served as Director of the Warsaw Autumn Festival (1995– 98), President (1999–2003) and Vice-President (2000–5) of the Polish Composers’ Union, and President of the Polish Music Council (2005–). He is the founder and Director (2006–) of the Ad Libitum International Festival of Improvised Music. He is also Professor at the Fryderyk Chopin Music of in Warsaw.

He has played in free improvisation ensembles with musicians as such Andrzej Bauer, Franziska Baumann, Jeff Beer, Ed Bogaard, Marek Chołoniewski, Tomasz Chołoniewski, Axel Dörner, Uwe Dierksen, Uli Fusseneger, Tim Hodgkinson, Carl-Ludwig Hübsch, Pere Oliver Jørgens, John King, Włodzimierz Kiniorski, Martin Klapper, Jacek Kochan, Werner Kodytek, Jerzy Kornowicz, Alexey Kruglov, Ryszard Latecki, Mieczysław Litwiński, Albert Markos, László Melis, Marek Mietelski, Ernesto Molinari, David Moss, Victor Nubla, Uwe Oberg, Olga Pasichnyk, Zdzisław Piernik, Adam Pierończyk, Jan Pilch, Andrzej Przybielski, Kazimierz Pyzik, Andrey Smirnov, Tomasz Stańko, Raymond Strid, Tadeusz Sudnik, Birgit Ulher, Wojciech Waglewski, Marcus Weiss, Tadeusz Wielecki, Frank Wingold, Niels Winther, Yuri Yaremchuk, Carlos Zingaro, and Agata Zubel.


Major works (from 2000): Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord..., psalms for choir and electronic sounds (2000), Spielverkehrte Reise for soprano, actor and electronics (2000), Sonata da camera no. 8 for speaker and live electronics (for Andrzej Chłopecki; 2000), Sonata da camera no. 9 for saxophone and live electronics (for Włodzimierz Kiniorski; 2000), Sonata da camera No. 10 for theremin and live electronics (for Andrey Smirnov; 2000), Weather Announcements, performance with Krzysztof Zarębski and Zofia Knittel (2000), El maale rahamim... for mixed choir and symphony orchestra (2001), Norwid Songs for soprano and piano (2001), Trio for any melodic instruments (2001), Sonata da camera no. 11 for double bass and live electronics (for Aleksander Gabryś; 2002), Negev II for voice, percussion, synthesizer and sampler (2002), Der Zirkus ist gekommen for soprano, dancer, flute, cello, piano, prepared piano and two CDs (2003), V2R Trio (Grand River Trio) for clarinet, violin, piano and CD (2003), To Touch a Snake from the Inside, touch-and-sound installation (2003), Live from CNN for voice, trombone, synthesizer and tape (2003), A Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising for five actors, women’s choir, piano, cello and symphony orchestra (2004), The Passion of Our Lord According to St. Matthew for solo voices, mixed choir, two percussionists, string orchestra and electronics (2004), Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra (2004), the opposite direction... for four-channel tape (2004), Sonata da camera no. 12 for saxophone and synthesizer (for Marek Chołoniewski and Włodzimierz Kiniorski; 2004–5), Sonata da camera nos. 13–14 for violin, synthesizer and sampler (for Krzysztof Bąkowski; 2004–5), Sonata da camera no. 15 for piano and synthesizer (for Jerzy Kornowicz; 2005), Vagante for soloists, orchestra and tape (2005), Sonata da camera no. 17 for organ (for Irena Wisełka; 2005), Electronic Waves (2005), social/asocial, performance and video installation (2005), Sonata da camera no. 16 for three actors and instrumental ensemble (for de ereprijs ensemble; 2006), Sonata da camera no. 18 for clarinet, trumpet and sampler (for Michał Górczyński and Bartosz Kowalski; 2006), Snatches of Memories, computer music (2006), Toccata for symphony orchestra (2007), Snatches of Memories II for two pianos, computer sounds and video (2007), Seasons of the Year, an installation (2008), cheap imitations for flute, clarinet / bass clarinet, piano, string quartet and computer / CD (2008), sketches for any players, graphic scores (2007–10), Cimochowizna, graphic score (2009), Chopin Air, installation (2010), QUB, installation with M. Chołoniewski, M. Walczak and P. Sych (2010), Meetings (in two unfinished acts), ballet music (2011), On What Is Not for electronic instruments and chamber ensemble (2012), free for windows for guitar and computer (2011), free for(m) macwin_1 for live electronics (2011), free for(m) macwin_2 for live electronics (2012), Partita 1 (Koori) for saxophones, symphony orchestra and electronics (2012–13), Partita 2 (Inuit) for flute, string orchestra and electronic media (2013), AD-W2014 for actor, improvising soloists, orchestra and choir (2014).