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He was born in Sveti Ivan Zelina in 1938. He graduated at the Zagreb Academy of Music in the class of Svetislav Stancic and won a master's degree at the Santa Cecilia Music Academy in Rome with Carlo Zecchi. He also studied with Guido Agosti, Renzo Silvestri and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli in Rome, Arezzo, Siena, Bergamo and Lugano.
He founded the piano department at the Music Academy in Skopje (Republic of Macedonia) from 1971. He teaches at the Music Academy of the University in Zagreb where he raised a few generations of young pianists such as Pedja Muzijevic, Katarina Krpan, Srdjan Caldarovic, Lana Genc, Martina Filjak, Maksim Mrvica, Bruno Vlahek and many others. In his pedagogical work, he combines elements of Stancic's Zagreb Piano School and the heritage of the Italian school, especially Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli's. He is an active promoter of music by Croatian composers, which holds a special place in his repertoire. Krpan has collaborated with many conductors and has had appearances in all the major music centres in Croatia and Europe as well as in the USA, Russia, Iran, India, North and South Korea, Turkey and Thailand.
He is an author of a TV series dedicated to Croatian piano music, editor of many Croatian composers' works, and author of specialized articles in national and international music magazines. He recorded numerous solo and chamber music works for radio and television as well as 20 LPs and 15 CDs for different labels.
As a chamber musician, he is active as a member of Trio Orlando and forms a piano duo with his daughter Katarina Krpan. He is the founder of the Croatian section of the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) and its two international competitions in Osijek and Zagreb (EPTA - International Piano Competition Svetislav Stančić).
He is a juror at international piano competitions and regularly holds master classes in his country and abroad.
- "Pianist Vladimir Krpan to perform in concert". Reading Eagle. 23 October 1987.
- Gavin Phipps (16 April 2004). "Mrvica to dazzle on the ivories". Tapei Times. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
- Theodore W. Libbey (11 October 1981). "Debuts in Review; Three Solisti, Troupe From Yugoslavia". New York Times. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
- Cicak, Rajko (8 October 2009). "Orlando Trio Gives Excellent Concert in Beli Manastir". Glas Slavonije (in Croatian).
- Bošnjak, Narcisa (1 April 2009). "Delighful Concert by Vladimir and Katarina Krpan". Glas Slavonije (in Croatian).