Hanna Kulenty was born on March 18, 1961 in Białystok (Poland).
From 1980 to 1986, she studied composition at the Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw. From 1986 to 1988, she studied composition with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague. She participated in composition courses 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 was promoted to ‘Doctor of Science’.
From 1989, Hanna Kulenty works as a freelance composer, recipient of numerous commissions and scholarships. After being guest composer at DAAD 1990 in Berlin, she was composer-in-residence in 1999 with Het Gelders Orkest in The Netherlands. She lectured at the Other Minds 10 Festival (San Francisco) and at Soundstreams Canada 2005. She was guest professor at the Conservatory of Zwolle (2005) and at the ESMuC Music Academy, Barcelona (2007). She currently holds the position of Professor in Composition at the Conservatory of Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Also, she was a jury member during the Munich Biennale 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 Cracow.
In her early works, Kulenty had an 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 ‘Musique Surrealistique’.
Hanna 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 she was commissioned by Kronos Quartet for whom she wrote her 4th and 5th string quartet.
In 1985, Kulenty was awarded the Second Prize of the European Young Composers’ Competition with ‘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 awarded prizes by 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 during the ‘Toonzetters’ contest in Amsterdam in 2007 and 2008.
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.