(*22.1.1929, Žamberk - ✝24.10.2007, Prague)
Czech composer, organ player and pianist
Petr Eben is one of the leading composers of the Czech Republic. After the war, he entered the Prague Academy of Music (piano with F. Rauch and composition with Pavel Bořkovec). As early as 1955 he took up a teaching post in the History of Music Department at Prague's Charles University. In 1978-79 he was professor of composition at the Royal Northern College of Music Manchester. From 1990 he became professor of composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and President of the Prague Spring Festival. He is active as a performing artist, especially as an improviser on piano and organ (concerts in London - RFH and Westminster Cathedral, Paris - Notre Dame and Festivals in Melbourne, Edinburgh, Vienna, Berlin, USA), but his main activity is composing. Two main sources of his inspiration are the plain chant and the folk songs. He has written a large number of varied works in all genres, the oratory Apologia Socratus, the ballet Curses and Blessings, written for the Holland Festival 1983, the concert symphony Noční hodiny (Night Hours) for Leipzig, Prague Nocturne for the Vienna Philharmonic, the 2nd Organ Concerto for the opening of the new organ of Radio Vienna, Missa cum populo for the Avignon Festival, the oratory Sacred Symbols for the Salzburg Cathedral, the Church-Opera Jeremiah and more. He was awarded many prizes for his works: 1990 - by the Czech Government for his organ cycle Job, 1991 - he received the Order Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from French Minister of Culture, in 1992 he was nominated Professor H. C. of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, in 1993 - he received the Stamitz Prize of the German Kunstlergilde, and in 1994 - the doctor's degree h. c. of Charles University in Prague.