Obituary: Composer Carmen Petra Basacopol Dies at 97

By Francisco Salazar

Romanian composer, pianist, musicologist, and academic teacher Carmen Petra Basacopol has died at the age of 97. 

Born on Sept. 5, 1926, to a family of artists. Her mother, Clementina, was a graduate of the Timișoara Municipal Conservatory, and Petra Basacopol studied with her at the age of five.

Basacopol went on to receive a diploma during a national music festival and went on to study at the University of Bucharest. She graduated in 1949 and then enrolled at the Bucharest Conservatory of Music.

Petra Basacopol debuted as a composer with a series of rondos and suites before moving on to sonatas and symphonies. She would win awards at the 3rd World Festival of Youth and Students in East Berlin, as well as the George Enescu prize of the Romanian Academy. She also became a teaching assistant at the Bucharest Conservatory in 1962, before being a part of the committee of the Union of the Composers and Musicologists of Romania.

Petra Basacopol went on to receive her Ph.D. in musicology from the Sorbonne University in Paris and then returned to Bucharest, teaching musical analysis and harmony at the Conservatory from 1976 to 2003. She went on to compose opera, ballet, chamber music, concertos, song cycles, choral music, and instrumental works.

During her lifetime, Basacopol was awarded the George Enescu Prize of the Romanian Composers Academy in 1980, a knighthood in the Order of Cultural Merit, and the UCMR’s Grand Prize for her life’s achievements.

She died on Oct. 15, 2023.