His death was confirmed by Andrzej Giza, director of the Ludwig van Beethoven Association, which was founded by Penderecki’s wife Elzbieta. The cause of death was not specified but a statement from Poland’s Ministry of Culture said he passed away “after a long and serious illness,” according to Reuters.
One of the most prolific and innovative composers of his era, Penderecki’s influence can be heard across multiple genres and generations. Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood in particular has cited him as a profound influence on the group’s more avant work and his own soundtrack work.
Born in Dębica in 1933, Penderecki studied at the Academy of Music in Krakow and became an instructor there shortly after his graduation.