Viktor Kopatchinsky was born in Moldova (formerly part of the Soviet Union). He studied at the Conservatoire in the capital Chisinau (Kishinev) and while still studying he became a member as a soloist of the renowned folk music ensemble ‘Flueras’ at the Modavian Philharmonic.
He played numerous concerts as solo cimbalom player with various ensembles, chamber orchestras and symphony orchestras. He made recordings for radio and television (as well as films) and toured as soloist with his ensemble in many European countries, in Asia, South America and North Africa.
In 1979 he was awarded a medal by the Moldavian government for outstanding services to art and music. At that time he also founded the chamber orchestra ‘Rapsodia’ at the Moldavian Philharmonic and became their artistic director and soloist. Later he got a position with the National Academic Ensemble for Folk Dance ‘JOC’.
In 1984 he returned to the ensemble ‘Rapsodia’.
Viktor Kopatchinsky has always shown great interest in contemporary music. Moldavian composers have, in collaboration, dedicated many compositions to him.
Because of his unfavourable political statements he was refused permission to tour abroad for ten years. In 1989 he fled to Austria and became an Austrian citizen in 1992.
In Vienna composers became interested in his rare instrument and he played it in a new concerto for oboe and cimbalom with chamber orchestra by Francis Burt, commissioned by the festival ‘Wien Modern’ and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies at the Musikverein in Vienna. He also played in the contemporary opera ‘Die Wände’ (The Walls) by Adriana Hölszky under Ulf Schirmer at the Theater an der Wien, the opera ‘Renard’ and Ragtime by Stravinsky at the Landestheater Salzburg with members of the Mozarteum Orchestra, and in Kodaly’s ‘Hary Janos’ with the Vienna Philharmonic under Georg Solti.
He also played solo concerts of pieces and arrangements by, among others, Albeniz, Tarrega, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Debussy, John Cage, and Kurtag.
He also performs with jazz ensembles and in concerts with composition students of the Vienna Academy.