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RAK, STEPAN
(b. Ukraine, USSR - 1945)

Stepán Rak was born in a village in the Ukraine during the closing stages of World War Two, but the precise date is obscure. Advancing Soviet troops took him to Czechoslovakia, where he was adopted by the Rak family. He studied at the Fine Arts School in Prague, after which he went on to study guitar at the Prague Conservatory from 1965 to 1970. He also studied composition at the Prague Academy of Arts in 1975.

It was during his student period that Stepán Rak began to establish himself as a talented performer and an individual composer. In 1973 his symphonic composition Hiroshima won second place in the Czechoslovakian National Competition for Young Composers. In the following year his song Until, based on the lyrics of the poet V. Nezval, was placed among the winning compositions. In 1975 he was invited to teach in Finland at the Jyväskylä Conservatory. He maintained this position until 1980.

Rak's may innovative compositions for the guitar have been admired by guitarists everywhere. He has appeared at many international guitar events and made several recordings in Czechoslovakia with the Prague Marimba Trio and as a soloist on the UK record labels Chandos and Nimbus.

[this biography is taken from The Classical Guitar - Its Evolution, Players and Personalities since 1800 by Maurice J. Summerfield - Ashley Mark Publishing Company, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom]

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