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Czech composer, conductor and organist Petr Eben was born on 22 January 1929 in Žamberk, and grew up in Český Krumlov, where he studied piano, cello and organ. For most of World War II he was imprisoned in Buchenwald by the Nazis. After the war he studied piano and composition at the Prague Academy for Music.
He taught music history in Prague at Charles University for many years, and also taught composition for a year at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK.
Brought up a Catholic, he refused to join the Communist Party and continued to attend church openly, which hindered his career prospects until 1989. Later he was president of the Prague Spring Festival and professor of composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
He suffered a stroke during his final years, and his health declined, but he was able to continue composing.
Petr Eben died in Prague on 24 October 2007.
Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Looks like we got ourselves a reader
CD Spotlight. Something of Rare Beauty - Twentieth century oboe sonatas by York Bowen, Petr Eben, Henri Dutilleux, Eugène Bozza, Francis Poulenc and Camille Saint-Saëns, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'What a fantastic and inspiring team Alex Klein and Phillip Bush make.'
CD Spotlight. Truly Lovely - Music by Petr Eben for girls' choir impresses Geoff Pearce. 'This great disc of an exceptional girls' choir performing the work of one of Bohemia's most important voices does not disappoint in any way ...'
Ensemble. Boldly Programmed - Music by Antonín Tucapský, Petr Eben and Vaughan Williams, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Sonorous Feast - Music-making by Cédric Tiberghien, Jirí Belohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, reviewed by Malcolm Miller