PRAGUE - Czech composer Petr Eben, whose wide variety of music has been performed around the globe, died Wednesday at his home in Prague, his son Marek said. He was 78 and had battled an unspecified long-term illness.
Mr. Eben composed his first musical pieces at age 10. He was interned by the Nazis in the Buchenwald concentration camp during part of World War II.
After the war, he studied piano and composition at Prague's Academy of Music and taught at Prague's Charles University and the Academy of Performing Arts.
Throughout his career, he composed some 200 pieces, including works for organ and piano, orchestral and chamber compositions, Masses, cantatas, and music for children. Among them: the organ cycle "Job," the oratorio "Sacred Symbols" for the Salzburg Cathedral, "Windows" (4 movements according to Marc Chagall for trumpet and organ), and "Prague Te Deum."
He performed his music around the world, giving improvisational organ and piano concerts in such venues as Paris's Notre Dame, London's Royal Festival Hall, and the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.
He was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by France in 1991.