Krzysztof Knittel

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Lublin, European Performance Art, 2004, photo by Paweł Kwiek

Krzysztof Knittel (born 1 May 1947, in Warsaw) is a Polish composer of symphonic, chamber, stage and electroacoustic works. [1]

Knittel studied sound engineering and composition with Tadeusz Baird, Andrzej Dobrowolski, Wlodzimierz Kotonski at the Frederic Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. [1] He also studied computer music with Lejaren Hiller and programming at the Mathematical Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences (1974–75). [1]

He attended Summer Courses of New Music in Darmstadt in 1974 and 1976. He has worked at the Experimental Studio of Polish Radio since 1973 and at the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at State University of New York at Buffalo in 1978. He composes symphonic, chamber, stage, electroacoustic and computer works that have been performed in most European countries, Asia, North and South Americas. He took part in many art performances, built sound installations and played in improvised music groups with artists such as: Marek Chołoniewski, Axel Dörner, Uwe Dierksen, Uli Fusseneger, Tim Hodgkinson, Carl-Ludwig Hübsch, Pere Oliver Jørgens, John King, Włodzimierz Kiniorski, Martin Klapper, Jacek Kochan, Werner Kodytek, Laszlo Melis, Ernesto Molinari, David Moss, Victor Nubla, Uwe Oberg, Olga Pasiecznik, Adam Pierończyk, Tomasz Stańko, Raymond Strid, Birgit Ulher, Marcus Weiss, Frank Wingold, Carlos Zingaro, Agata Zubel.

He is the co-founder of improvised music groups, including the KEW Composers’ Group (1973-76), the Independent Electroacoustic Music Studio (1982-84), ‘Pociąg Towarowy’ – ‘Freight Train’ (set up in 1986), the European Improvisation Orchestra (1996-98), the CH&K&K Group (founded in 1999) and ‘Kawalerowie Błotni’ – ‘Mud Cavaliers’ (set up in 2003). In 1981 he worked closely with the Commission for Culture of the Solidarity Union’s Mazovian Branch. Following the imposition of martial law, he participated in a wide range of independent cultural projects. [3]

“Weather reports”, Zofia Knittel< Krzysztof Zarębski, Krzysztof Knittel, Lublin 2004, photo by Leszek Fidusiewicz

His compositions were written for the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio, “Amadeus” Chamber Orchestra of the Polish Radio, Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, Camerata Silesia Choir, and for numerous soloists.


Concerts dedicated exclusively to his music were held in Barcelona, Budapest, Cracow, Kromeriz, Leipzig, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Warsaw. Knittel co-founded the following:

  • KEW Composers Group (1973-75; with Elisabeth Sikora and Wojciech Michniewski)
  • Cytula Tyfun da Bamba Orchester (1981)
  • Independent Electroacoustic Music Studio (1982-84)
  • Interdisciplinary group Freight Train (since 1986)
  • European Improvisation Orchestra (1996-98)
  • CH&K&K (since 1999; with Marek Choloniewski and Wlodzimierz Kiniorski)
  • Mad Cavaliers (since 2003)


Among his honors are the Solidarity Award in Music (1985), Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (1998), Norwid Price in Music (2003), Polish Composers' Union Prize (2003). In 2005 he was awarded by Polish Minister of Culture with “Gloria Artis” Silver Medal.

LAB Dziekanka 1982, photo Tomasz Sikorski

During martial law he was active in the circles of independent culture. After 1989 he co-founded the Audio-Art Festival at the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, and later served as director of the International Festival of Contemporary Music "Warsaw Autumn" (1995-98), president of the Polish Composers' Union (1999-2003), vice-president of the Polish Music Council (since 2000) and president (since 2005), the member of the Supervisory Board of the public Polish Television (2003-2006). He was the director of international Ad Libitum festival of improvised music since 2006, A member of the Programming Board of Zacheta National Gallery (2004-2012). Professor of the Fryderyk Chopin Music University, and he also at the music academies in Krakow and Lodz. [2]


  • 1 - Małgorzata Kosińska (February 2002). "Krzysztof Knittel". (in Polish). Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  • 2 - "Krzysztof Knittel" (in Polish). Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne SA. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  • 3 - Artist bio on his website. "" Retrieved 9 January 2020.

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Text partially adapted from Wikipedia.