Marek Kopelent

Czech composer, editor and teacher Marek Kopelent was born on 28 April 1932 in Prague, where he studied composition at the Academy of Performing Arts with Jaroslav Řídký.

He began his career working as a contemporary music editor for Supraphon.

His own output was initially in a late Romantic style, but from 1959 he integrated the styles of the Second Viennese School and European avant-garde into his works, with his String Quartet No 3 of 1963 first becoming known to the international music world, largely due to performances by the Novák Quartet around Europe.

Following the Prague Spring, Kopelent lost his editing job and his music was banned by the Czechoslovak government for twenty years.  He found work as a piano accompanist and continued to compose, writing for a number of foreign commissions, but was unable to leave the country to hear his music performed.

His fortunes changed after the 1989 Velvet Revolution, and he became a music advisor in the office of president Václav Havel, then professor of composition in the musical faculty of Prague's Academy of Fine Arts. He was a co-founder and chairman of the Czech section of the ISCM, chairman of the Atelier 90 composers' association and the organiser and regular lecturer on international composers' summer courses in Český Krumlov.

Following a short illness, Marek Kopelent died at the Motol University Hospital in Prague on 12 March 2023, aged ninety, leaving a substantial catalogue of works including five string quartets, orchestral, vocal-orchestral, ensemble, concertante, solo instrumental, vocal, choral, and stage music.


A selection of articles about Marek Kopelent

Classical music news - March 2023 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month