Krzysztof Knittel, born on 1 May, 1947 in Warsaw, studied sound engineering and composition with Tadeusz Baird,
Andrzej Dobrowolski and Włodzimierz Kotoński at the Academy of Music in Warsaw. Since 1973 he has collaborated with
the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio. In 1974-75 he studied computer programming in the Institute of
Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He also took part in the new music courses in Darmstadt (1974, 1976).
Knittel is a co-founder of several live electronic and intuitive music groups: KEW Composers' Group (with Elżbieta
Sikora and Wojciech Michniewski, 1973-76), Cytula Tyfun da Bamba Orkiester (1981), Independent Electroacoustic Music
Studio (1982-84), Light from Poland (1985-87), and the European Improvisation Orchestra (1996). Knittel was also a
co-organizer of the new wave ensembles Go-Go Boys and Box Train–-performing with poets, artists, film and video
producers. In 1978 he worked for The Center of the Creative and Performing Arts in Buffalo. In 1989 Knittel, together
with Mark Cho oniewski, founded the CH&K Studio which gave concerts in Europe, the United States and Canada. A
composer and performer, Knittel is also active as a journalist and critic (contributing to the periodical Tygodnik
Literacki and collaborating with the Music Department of Polish public television). He ha taught at New Music seminars
and courses in Kazimierz Dolny, Munich, Boston, Philadelphia, Barcelona, Alicante, Budapest, Prague and Vitasaari. In
1985 Knittel was awarded the Solidarity Prize for his String Quartet, written in a tribute to Father Jerzy Popiełuszko.
His international honors include the 1998 Award of the Foundation for Contemporary Performing Arts in New York.
The composer has served as Vice-Chairman of the Polish Section of the ISCM (1989-92)and Vice-President of the
International Contemporary Music Festival "Warsaw Autumn" (1995-98). In 1999 he was elected President of the Polish
Composers' Union. Since 1990 he has organized concerts at the Center of Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle. Knittel
composes music for chamber ensembles, solo instruments, electronic and computer music, music for theatre, television
and film. His principal works of recent years include: Histoire I for tape (1988), Histoire II for clarinet,
piano, synthesizer and tape (1988), Bits and Pieces for instruments and tape (1988), Histoire III
or harpsichord and tape (1989), Man-Orchestra, version for keyboards (1989), Jingle-Jangle for voices
and keyboards (1989), Borders of Nothing for synthesizers (1990), Man-Nature, graphic computer music
(1991), Homage to Charles Ives for chamber ensemble (1992), 14 Variations by Piotr Bikont and Krzysztof
Knittel on 14 Variations by Edwin Morgan on 14 Words by John Cage (1986/92), and Instant Reactions for
instruments and computer (1992).
LIST OF WORKS
Form A; Form E, for wood-wind quintet and lights - 1973
Dirokos, seven miniatures for string quartet and tape - 1976-77
Five Pieces, for cello and piano - 1979-80
Man-Orchestra I, for any instruments and tape - 1982
String Quartet - 1984-85
Man-Orchestra II, for computers and objects - 1988
Borders of Nothing, for computers - 1990
Homage to Charles Ives, for flute, oboe, clarinet, basson, piano, percussion, viola, and double-bass - 1992
14 Variations by Piotr Bikont and Krzysztof Knittel on 14 Variations by Edwin Morgan on 14 Words by John Cage , for voices and computer - 1986-92
Instat Reactions, for instruments and computers - 1992
Homage to Barbara Zbrozyna, for synthesizer and tapes -1997
Lipps, for jazz trio and symphony orchestra - 1974
29 Systems, for chamber orchestra - 1980-81
Nibiru, for string orchestra and cembalo - 1987
Prelude for piano - 1972
Three Studies for piano - 1980
Four Preludes for piano - 1983
Solo Works with Tape
Points/lines for clarinet, tapes and slides - 1973
Three Songs without Words for soprano and tape
Histoire III for cembalo and tape - 1990
Works for Tape
The Conqueror Worm - 1979
Odds and Ends - 1978
Low Sound - version 1 for tape - 1980
Norcet 1 and Norcet 2 - 1980
Lapis - 1985
Poko - 1986
Man-Ature collection of sixteen computer graphic compositions - 1991
Monologue for cello solo - 1990
Surface en rotation - 1997
Gluckspavillon for Cathy, instrumental theatre, for tuba and tape - 1979
Woman's Voice, ballet - percussion and tape - 1980
Negev, for percussion instruments and synthesizer - 1993
Between , for piano and tape - 1993
detour , musical events for speaker, cello, piano, percussion and tapes - 1997
Satan in Goray , libretto after Isaac Bashevis Singer (ballet) - 1993
Der Erwahlte, libretto afet Olivier Sachas - 1998
Music for Films
Features: "Camera Buff" by Krzysztof Kieslowski, "Phantom" and "Bird of Paradise" by Marek Nowicki; "Tie" by Krzysztof Lang, "The Rump of Leviatan" by Mariusz Trelinski.
Cartoons: "Flying Hair" by Piotr Dumala, "Fingers on Fire" by Daniel Szczechura.
Experimental Films: "Bird Science" by Jerzy Kalina. "Double Stumble" by Piotr Bikont, "Still Life" by Krzysztof Bukowski and others.
MANUSCRIPTS AT USC
Kwartet Smyczkowy. String Quartet. 1976. Manuscript score in black ink. 23 pages.
I wrote down these notes in 1976--it was supposed to be my first string quartet. But it was not composed at that
time; instead some fragments were included in the composition Devices for string quartet and tape. I returned
to this score (sketches, notes) in 1987 and I arranged them into a certain whole, giving the work a significant title,
or rather sub-title, "Ursus" [the name of a tractor factory where some of the strikes were taking place in 1976].
This was the year filled with repression of the communist rulers against the mutinies of the workers in Radom and in
the factory Ursus near Warsaw. I do not know if music is capable of expressing the concrete emotions and feelings of its
creator; probably not, and this is why it is sometimes worthwhile to refer to the events with which certain
compositions are associated. As far as the notation itself is concerned--pencil, or pen, or computer? This is of no
significance for me. One may note the ideas in all of these ways--in the form of a handwritten score on the staves, in
recording, on a computer disc. What is written down is important (so that one would not have to be ashamed of it.).
KNITTEL: ABOUT THE STRING QUARTET
[Krzysztof Knittel, 10.10. 2000, Warsaw]
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Based on materials from the program book of the Warsaw Autumn Festival.
Edited and updated in July 2000 by Błażej Wajszczuk.