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Herman D. Koppel

Born: 1908 Died: 1998

The composer and pianist Herman D. Koppel was one of the greatest Danish musical personalities of the twentieth century. He was the son of a Polish-Jewish couple who moved to Copenhagen at the beginning of the twentieth century. At seventeen Herman D. Koppel was admitted to the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. He made his debut as a pianist in 1930, but already before that his first works had been performed. As a composer Koppel was on the whole self-taught, inspired by among others Carl Nielsen, Bartók and Stravinsky; but jazz and ethnic music also influenced him as a young man. Koppel had to escape with his family in 1943 from the German persecutions of the Jews. When he returned after the end of World War II he established himself as one of the most important figures in Danish musical life. He composed industriously and wrote a succession of clear, striking works. He was also appointed professor of piano in Copenhagen and was much in demand as a concert soloist. In time his four musical children also became leading figures in musical life, and the Koppel family is today Denmark’s best known musical dynasty. Herman D. Koppel was active as a composer for 65 years – a unique career! He composed in all forms and genres. His major works include seven symphonies and several solo concertos, sonatas, chamber music, piano works and many vocal works. He also wrote film music, educational pieces and cabaret songs – almost 300 works in all, characterized by vital rhythms and strong melody lines. Herman D. Koppel’s music makes an immediate impression, while at the same time arousing reflection. source:

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