Krzysztof Penderecki Dies: Modernist Composer’s Work Used In ‘The Exorcist’ And ‘The Shining’ Was 86

Krzysztof Penderecki Dies: Modernist Composer’s Work Used In ‘The Exorcist’ And ‘The Shining’ Was 86

Krzysztof Penderecki, a Polish composer and conductor whose modernist works were on soundtracks for The Exorcist and The Shining, died Sunday at his home in Krakow. He was 86 and his death was confirmed by Andrzej Giza, the director of the Ludwig van Beethoven Association, founded by Penderecki’s wife, Elzbieta.


Penderecki was an avant-garde composer and prolific in his output. His resume includes eight symphonies, four operas, a requiem, and several concertos.


The violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich won Grammy Awards for their recordings of the Penderecki concertos in 1999 and 1988, respectively.


His compositions Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima  in 1960, Polymorphia in 1961 and the St. Luke Passion in 1966 are considered among his greatest works.



Film directors often used Penderecki music to capture their moods. His music was used in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island,  Peter Weir’s Fearless, David Lynch’s Wild at Heart and Inland Empire in addition to The Exorcist and The Shining.


Pop music also revered Penderecki. Artists ranging from Kele Okereke of Bloc Party and Robbie Robertson of the Band to  Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead were fans.



Survivors include his wife of more than 50 years, Elzbieta, children, Lukasz and Dominika, and a daughter from his first marriage, Beata.