Claude Coppens studied with Marcel Maas at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, where his diplomas included the higher diploma in piano. Later he went on to Paris for further study with Marguerite Long and Jacques Février. In 1960 he was awarded a doctoral degree in law from the Free University in Brussels. He was a laureate in the International Piano competition in Paris (1955), the Queen Elisabeth competition (1956) and the International Piano competition in Rio de Janeiro (1957). He premiered the first of Villa Lobos piano concertos, with the composer conducting. As a performing musician, he has specialised in the contemporary piano repertoire. During the 14-day-long festival of contemporary music at the Heizel in Brussels during Expo ’58 he made his acquaintance with the protagonists of the musical avant-garde, and this completely changed his musical career. He is self-taught as a composer. Coppens teaches at the Royal Conservatory in Ghent, and is well known as an idiosyncratic musician and pedagogue.