Hanna Kulenty

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Hanna Kulenty (born on March 18, 1961 in Białystok, Poland) is a Polish composer of contemporary classical music. Since 1992 she lives both in Warsaw (Poland) and in Arnhem (The Netherlands).

Hanna Kulenty was born on March 18, 1961 in Białystok, Poland.

From 1980 to 1986, Kulenty studied composition with Włodzimierz Kotoński at the Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw, and from 1986 to 1988, she studied composition with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague. She participated in several summer courses in contemporary music composition in Kazimierz and in Darmstadt where she visited lectures by Iannis Xenakis, Witold Lutosławski, Thomas Kessler, and François Bernard Mâche. In 2013 she received her PhD doctoral degree in Composition at the University of Wroclaw, Poland. In 2015 she has been promoted to ‘Doctor of Science’.

Since 1989, Kulenty has worked as a freelance composer, and is the recipient of numerous commissions and scholarships. After being guest composer at DAAD 1990 in Berlin, she was composer-in-residence in 1999/2000 with Het Gelders Orkest in The Netherlands. She lectured at the Other Minds 10 Festival in San Francisco and at Soundstreams in Canada in 2005. In that same year she was guest professor at the Conservatory of Zwolle and in 2007 at the ESMuC Music Academy in Barcelona. Kulenty was a jury member during the Munich Biennale in 1995, during the International Gaudeamus Music Week 2002, during the International New Chamber Opera Competition ‘Orpheus-Luciano Berio 2003-2004,’ and in 2005 and 2007 during the International Competition of Contemporary Chamber Music in Kraków. She currently holds the position of Professor in Composition at the Conservatory of Bydgoszcz, Poland.

In her early works, Kulenty had some sort of emotional structure in mind, an arc design as a way of expressing the intensity curve or energy of a particular structure. In recent years, she calls her compositional technique “polyphony of time dimensions” and and “Musique Surrealistique,” emphasizing the circularity of time and the simultaneity of time-events occurring on different temporal planes.

Since the succes of her opera, The Mother of Black-Winged Dreams at the Münchener Biennale 1996 she is considered one of the leading figures on the Polish contemporary music scene. Kulenty writes for solo instruments, chamber groups, large orchestras, opera, television, plays, and film music. Soloists like Isabelle van Keulen, Elźbieta Chojnacka, Marco Blaauw, Frank Peters, Lucas & Arthur Jussen, and Geneviève Strosser have performed her work, as did ensembles like Arditti Quartet, Leipzig String Quartet, ensemble De Ereprijs and Alexander von Schlippenbach Trio. In 2008 and 2011 Kronos Quartet commissioned and performed her String Quartet Nº 4 and String Quartet Nº 5.

In 1985, Kulenty was awarded the Second Prize of the European Young Composers’ Competition with her piece, Ad Unum (1985). Two years later, she was awarded the Stanislaw Wyspianski Award and the Second Prize by the Young Composers’ Competition of the Polish Composers’ Union with Ride (1987). She was also awarded prizes in the Composers’ Competition from the Warsaw branch of the Polish Composers’ Union for Quinto (1986), Breathe (1987), aaa TRE (1988) and Cannon (1988).

In 2003, her Trumpet Concerto (2002) won the First Prize at UNESCO’s 50th International Rostrum of Composers, for which she received the UNESCO Mozart Medal from the International Music Council. Her compositions Preludium, Postludium and Psalm (2007) and String Quartet No. 3: (Tell me about it) (2008), were chosen among the ten best Dutch compositions of 2007 and 2008 during the Toonzetters contest in Amsterdam.

In 2015 she received the Annual Award of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) for her outstanding body of compositions, strong individuality and combination of musical vigor with interesting structural solutions.

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