Henryk Gorecki studied at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice between 1955–60. In 1968, he joined the faculty and rose to provost before resigning in 1979. Gorecki became a leading figure of the Polish avant-garde during the post-Stalin cultural thaw, and his works of the 1950s and 1960s were characterized by an adherence to dissonant modernism.
Apart from two brief periods studying in Paris and a short time living in Berlin, Górecki has spent most of his life in southern Poland. He has remained primarily a religious composer.
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