This Thursday’s day of remembrance is dedicated to the recently deceased renowned composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, with whom the Belgrade Philharmonic had the honor to perform in 2008.

“There are concerts that remain ingrained permanently in the collective memory of both the orchestra and the audience. One such concert was with the Belgrade Philharmonic conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki in 2008. Penderecki, one of the most significant contemporary composers, confirmed the rule that the biggest names are also the kindest and most generous people. The rehearsals for Eroica and his Cello concerto, performed by Maja Bogdanović, were far more than just a preparation for the concert program. It was a week when the maestro shared with us his rare gift, his way of thinking, his humor and all that made him one of the most important artistic figures of the 20th century. We thank him. We were a generation of philharmonic musicians privileged to have had such a unique experience.” Ivan Tasovac, director of the Belgrade Philharmonic, told the daily newspaper Politika.

In 2008, our cellist Maja Bogdanović proposed to perform the Second Cello Concerto by Krzysztof Penderecki with the Belgrade Philharmonic, which she had previously performed under his baton in France. The occasion was even more significant because our planned concert also called for Maestro Penderecki to conduct. In addition to his concerto, the Belgrade Philharmonic also performed Beethoven’s Third Symphony. Maja Bogdanović was so brilliant that she continued to perform with Maestro Penderecki, including at a gala concert in Warsaw on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

Krzysztof Penderecki is a unique figure in contemporary music history, who achieved success with his very first works. New works also brought new awards and the once completely unknown teaching assistant at the Academy of Music in Krakow soon became the center of interest of the Polish and international music public.

The Berlin Philharmonic’s commission for a composition marking the orchestra’s first centennial was an incentive for Krzysztof Penderecki to write his Second Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, which he dedicated to his close friend and colleague Mstislav Rostropovich. The concert premiered with great success on January 11, 1983 with the author himself as conductor. In 1988, for this work Penderecki received a Grammy Award as composer and conductor of the best contemporary work.