The Croatian composer, Davorin Kempf, studied at the Music Academy in Zagreb, where he graduated in piano (Stjepan Radić) in 1971, in conducting (Igor Gjadrov) in 1972, and in composition (Stjepan Šulek) in 1973. He continued his studies in composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart during 1975-1976 (Milko Kelemen, Erhard Karkoschka), and at the Musikhochschule Köln (Cologne) during 1976-1977 (Mauricio Kagel, Joachim Blume, Hans-Ulrich Humpert). He received his Master of Arts degree in composition from the University of Iowa, IA City, USA, in 1990 (Donald Martin Jenni, Kenneth Gaburo). He earned his Ph.D degree at the Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Philosophie und Geisteswissenschaften, in 2006 (Albrecht Riethmüller).
Davorin Kempf has been a full professor at the University of Zagreb Academy of Music since 1995, and a lifetime member and deputy governor of the American Biographical Institute Research Association, Raleigh, NC, since 1989. From 1996 to 2004 he was artistic manager of the Požega Organ Evenings.
His compositions have been performed at concerts and music festivals in Croatia and abroad (Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Slovakia, France, England, USA, Canada, Japan, Russia, Ukraine etc.), as well as over various radio and television broadcasts. His doctoral dissertation Symmetrie und Variation als kompositorische Prinzipien. Interdisziplinäre Aspekte was published on-line by the Free University of Berlin in 2008. In 2010 it was published by Books on Demand, Norderstedt, BoD Classic: He has created music broadcasts for Croatian Radio and articles in music and musicological journals (International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, Arti Musices). He has given lectures on music at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb, Croatia, at the universities in Iowa City, IA, USA (1984, 1991), Graz, Austria (1994), and Ljubljana, Slovenia (2000, 2002, and 2005), as well as at the ABI/IBC international congresses in San Francisco, CA, USA (1996), Dublin, Ireland (2004), and Washington, DC, USA (2007).
The mixture of train, traditional and more innovative, constitutes a characteristic trait of the work of Davorin Kempf. Among his more remarkable works, are compositions that associate classical and electronic instruments. The electro-acoustic parts were mostly realized at the Lewis Studio of the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The most famous of them are certainly Synthesis for room bodies and electronic (1979) and Range for orchestrates and electronic instruments (1985), and, in another vein, Contrapunctus I'S, for string quartet (1986), as well as some other electro-acoustic works. In his piano compositions Kempf is inspired by classical composers as J.S. Bach and Scriabin. Among them should be mentioned Prelude and Fugue - Fantasy (Homhage a Bach) (2000) and the piano piece Hommage à Skriabin (2003).
In 1986 Davorin Kempf won the Josip Slavenski Annual Award (Vjesnik, Zagreb), and the Vladimir Nazor Annual Award (Zagreb). He has also been recognized by the American Biographical Institute: Man of the Year 1990, International Award of Recognition (1991), Twenty-Five Years Achievement Award (1992).