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MARK KOPYTMAN was born in 1929 in the former Soviet Union, where he received his early training in piano and music theory, and later went on to study medicine. After graduating from medical school and while practicing as a physician, he studied composition at the Lvov Academy and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. After gaining his second doctorate in 1958, Kopytman taught at the music academies of Moscow, Alma-Ata, and Cisheneu. Several of his compositions, including the opera Casa Mare, won prizes in competitions and festivals in the U.S.S.R.
In 1972 Kopytman emigrated to Israel. There, he was appointed professor of composition at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. He has led seminars and master classes in composition - especially on heterophony, the main focus of his creative world - at universities and music schools throughout Europe and the United States.
During the 1982/83 and 1988/89 academic years, Kopytman was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1985 he was composer-in-residence at the Canberra School of Music in Australia. He founded the Doron Ensemble in 1991, and in 1992 became composer-in-residence with the Israel Camerata.
About an Old Tune, for piano quartet, was commissioned by the Cantilena Chamber Players and premiered in New York City in 1977. Memory, a setting of a Yemenite folk song for contralto and orchestra, had its premiere in 1982 and has since been played around the world, including a 1989 performance by soloist Gila Beshari with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, presented at the Music Center by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Kopytman has developed a strong, individual style, inspired by Jewish folklore combined with economical use of recent innovations, characterized by a strong accent on melodic lines within a web of heterophonic textures. He is the recipient of several prizes, among them the Koussevitzky International Record Award (1986, for Memory) and the Israel ACUM prize for lifetime creative achievement (1992).