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Petr Eben
1929 - 2007
Czech Republic
P. Eben
Petr Eben (22/01/1929 - 24/10/2007) a Czech composer of modern and contemporary classical music, and an organist and choirmaster. Born in Žamberk in northeastern Bohemia, Eben spent most of his childhood and early adolescence in Český Krumlov in southern Bohemia.[1] There he studied piano, and later cello and organ. The years of World War II were especially difficult for the young man. Although Eben was raised as a Catholic, his father was a Jew and thus fell foul of the National Socialist occupiers of his homeland. In 1943, aged 14, Eben was captured and imprisoned by the Nazis in Buchenwald, remaining there for the duration of the war.
After being released,[clarification needed] he was admitted to the Prague Academy for Music, and there he studied piano with František Rauch and composition with Pavel Bořkovec. He graduated in 1954.Beginning in 1955 Eben taught for many years in the music history department at Charles University in Prague. Between 1977 and 1978 he was professor of composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. In 1990 he became professor of composition in the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and President of the Prague Spring Festival.
Eben refused to join the Czech Communist Party and continued openly attending church, thus forfeiting many career advancements before 1989. After the Communist government crumbled, however, he was given several important appointments and awards, among them presidency of the Prague Spring Festival (1989) and the Medal of Merit (2002). Among Eben's most important late works is his 1992-1993 oratorio "Posvátná znamení" (Sacred Symbols). Despite declining health from a stroke in his final years, Eben remained busy, composing mostly organ and choral works. He died in Prague on 24 October 2007. Eben's compositions are often performed in both Europe and overseas, especially in the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia. In 1991, Eben was awarded the title of Knight of the French Ministry of Culture, Arts and Letters. Two years earlier he became honorary president of the Society for Sacred Music. An international organ competition bearing his name has been organized since 2004 in Opava.
The Petr Eben International Organ Competition, held in Opava, Czech Republic, is named in his honour. His son David Eben is the founder and director of Schola Gregoriana Pragensis, an a cappella male voice choir.
Liturgical chants
Composed in:1970
Liturgical chants * psalms (music) * requiem * scores "Prepared for publication by: Ondřej Šmíd" This is a more expanded edition of the work than the original German version from 1970, for the first time with Czech texts Preface and editorial report in Czech.