Jan Krenz is one of the leading Polish conductors. He belongs to the generation of musicians that entered the stage after World War II and laid a foundation for a renewal of Polish musical life. As a conductor he made his debut on 6th January 1946 at the Łódź Philharmonic.
In 1947-1949 Jan Krenz was conductor at the Poznań Philharmonic (and made his debut at the city's Opera House with Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio), and in 1949-1951 he was conductor of the Polish Radio Large Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (later renamed Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra), as assistant and planned successor of Grzegorz Fitelberg. From 1953 to 1967, he led an intense activity as head conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, including recordings, live concerts, first performances of works by Polish composers, regular appearances at the Warsaw Autumn festival, and international tours that made the orchestra famous throughout the world. In 1963, he made the longest tour in the history of Polish orchestras (55 concerts), appearing triumphantly in the USSR, Mongolia, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Apart from his work in Poland, from the 1960’s Jan Krenz was first conductor of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen (1966-1968), and made a great success in Scandinavia. In 1968-1973 he was Artistic Director of the Grand Theatre in Warsaw; his premieres of Otello, Elektra and Boris Godunov remain milestones events in the history of Polish opera. Later he performed there as guest conductor. He also toured South America and Japan, working on a regular basis with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony. He was also on several occasions guest conductor of such orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Dresden Staatskapelle, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and the leading London orchestras. He made his debut in England with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1961.
In 1979 Jan Krenz signed a 3-year (until 1982) contract as General Music Director of the City of Bonn. He enlarged the Beethovenhalle orchestra (Beethoven Orchester Bonn) to 122 musicians and developed its repertoire; on the opera stage, he performed a 3-act version of Berg's Lulu and Moniuszko's The Haunted Manor.
As a composer, Jan Krenz made his debut at a private salon occasion during World War II, with the String Quartet. He also wrote chamber, vocal and symphonic music and Piano Concertino. In 1982 he resumed composing after more than a decade's break. He is also the author of stage and film music (including to Andrzej Wajda's The Canal, and Andrzej Munk's Eroica).
Jan Krenz has received a number of prestigious awards, including the State Award. His conducting at the Warsaw Autumn festival has been twice awarded with an 'Orfeusz', a critics' award. He has also received awards for his recordings. On the occasion of Jan Krenz's 70th jubilee in 1995, Polish Radio awarded him with its 'Diamond Baton' award.