Krenz Jan

Jan Krenz was a composer, conductor, and pianist, born on 14th July, 1926, in Włocławek. He was a son of an evangelical pastor and his mother and sister died during one of many bombings of Warsaw. Jan Krenz started taking piano lessons in Warsaw, when it was still a city occupied by the Germans. In 1943, a secret concert was organised to perform “String Quartet No. 1” composed by Krenz.

In 1947, he graduated from the State Music School in Łódź, in a class of conducting and composing. In 1946, while still studying, he made his début as a conductor and created his piano toccata.

He began his career at the Tadeusz Szeligowski Poznań Philharmonic, as a conductor. Later on, he was offered the position of a conductor and artistic director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice. In the years 1968-1973, he worked as the first conductor and artistic director at the Grand Theatre in Warsaw. The three years from 2005 to 2008 were a period, when he would assume the position of the artistic director at the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonicin Cracow.

His début as a film music composer came in 1953, in the documentary film Kolejarskie słowo / A Railwayman’s World directed by Andrzej Munk, dedicated to the work of railwaymen. In the successive years, he was involving in composing film scores for a number of film projects by Andrzej Munk, for example in Błękitny krzyż / Men of Blue Cross, the war drama Eroica / Heroism, or the black and white comedy Zezowate szczęście / Bad Luck.

Jan Krenz is also the author of the music composed for Andrzej Wajda’s Kanał / They Loved Life, a film about the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and for the documentary film Patrol (1956) directed by Tadeusz Worontkiewicz.

During the 1970s, Krenz was a host of the television programme “Słowo i muzyka”. Then, at the beginning of the 1990s, he ran a radio show dedicated to presenting famous Polish composers.

In 1997, Piotr Mikucki directed a documentary film under the title Jan Krenz, entirely dedicated to the life of Jan Krenz, a composer and conductor.

Selected Filmography


  • 1953 – “Trudna miłość”, dir. by Stanisław Różewicz
  • 1956 – “Warszawska syrena”/”Mermaid of Warsaw”, dir. by Tadeusz Makarczyński
  • 1960 – “Krzyżacy”/”Knights of the Teutonic Order”, dir. by Aleksander Ford
  • 1969 – “Tren”, dir. by Marian Ussorowski
  • 1975 – “U źródeł muzyki norweskiej”, dir. by Andrzej Wasylewski


  • 1953 – “Kolejarskie słowo”/”A Railwayman’s World”, dir. by Andrzej Munk
  • 1954 – “Gwiazdy muszą płonąć”/”Stars Must Be Alight”, dir. by Witold Lesiewicz, Andrzej Munk
  • 1955 – “Błękitny krzyż”/”Men of Blue Cross”, dir. by Andrzej Munk
  • 1957 – “Eroica”/”Heroism”, dir. by Andrzej Munk
  • 1956 – “Kanał”/”They Loved Life”, dir. by Andrzej Wajda
  • 1960 – “Zezowate szczęście”/”Bad Luck”, dir. by Andrzej Munk
  • 1965 – “Patrol”, dir. by Tadeusz Worontkiewicz

Selected Awards

The State Award of the Second Degree in the category of music (1955); the Music Award of the City of Katowice; the Award of the Polish Composers’ Union; The State Award of the First Degree
in the category of music (1971); An award of the Committee of Radio and Television “Polish Radio and Television”; the Diamond Baton Award – a honorary award commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Polish Radio; the Award of the Minister of Culture and Art (1999);the Golden Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis; the Warsaw Autumn Polish festival of contemporary music – the Golden Orpheus Award; the Aleksander Tansman International Festival and Competition of Musical Personalities – the Tasman Award; the Coryphaeus of Polish Music Award for lifetime achievement; the title of doctor honoris causa at the Grażna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Musicin Łódź