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Petr Eben



Czech composer Petr Eben 1929-2007).
Born in Zamberk in northeastern Bohemia, Eben spent his youth in Ceský Krumlov in southern Bohemia. There he studied piano, and later cello and organ. The years of German occupation and World War II were especially difficult for him. Although Eben was raised as a Catholic, his father was a Jew and in 1943 Eben was expelled from school and interned by the Nazis in Buchenwald for the duration of the war.
After the war he was admitted to the Prague Academy for Music where he studied piano with Frantisek Rauch and composition with Pavel Borkovec. Beginning in 1955 Eben taught for many years in the music history department at Charles University in Prague.
In 1955 he was appointed to the staff of the Music Department of the University of Prague. From 1978-1979 he was professor of composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. In 1990 he became professor of composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and President of the Prague Spring Festival. He is well-known for his improvisations on the piano and organ, but composition remained his main area of interest.

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