When in the beginning of September (1948) I went to Breslau to take part in the concert in the framework of the Recovered Territories Exhibition (…) in Łagów the orchestra was working with the newly employed, young and gifted conductor Jan Krenz. It was his first ever professional engagement.
This excerpt comes from the memoirs entitled ”The Life of a Single Musician” by Stanisław Wisłocki, first conductor of Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra. It was year 1947 when Jan Krenz took the position of the conductor in our orchestra. He resigned at the end of the 1948/49 season, but in the following months of 1949 at the request of Stanisław Wisłocki he continued to lead the rehearsals during the orchestra’s summer projects in Łagów.
He left Poznan for the wider world. He got involved with the Polish Radio Great Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (currently Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra), in which he held the post of the conductor and director from 1953 to 1968. In the years of 1968-73 he was the art director of the Grand Theatre in Warsaw.
He performed all over the world giving guest concerts with such ensembles as: Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden, Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, Sankt Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Detroit Symphony or the leading London orchestras.
We were lucky in the Poznan Philharmonic. He conducted the Orchestra multiple times – the last concert was held in February 2012, when he led: Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 by Johannes Brahms, Konzertstück in D major, Op. 31 for Cello and Orchestra by Zygmunt Stojowski and the Overture he composed himself. Earlier (in November 2009) he conducted Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 26 by Ludwig van Beethoven and his Requiem. For Jan Krenz was not only a prominent conductor, but also an outstanding composer. He wrote chamber, vocal and symphonic pieces, as well as film music (including ”Bad Luck” by Andrzej Munk and ”Kanal” by Andrzej Wajda).
Jan Krenz, the remarkable conductor and composer, died on the 15th of September 2020 at the age of 94.