Dejan Despić, composer, music writer, theoretician and pedagogue, was born in Belgrade, where he finished primary/secondary school and secondary music school. He studied composition with Marko Tajčević and conducting with Mihailo Vukdragović at the Belgrade Academy of Music, graduating in 1955. Between 1956 and 1965 he taught theoretical subjects at the Mokranjac Music School, and from 1965 to his retirement (1995) at the Belgrade Academy of Music (today the Faculty of Music). He was elected corresponding (1985) and full member (1994) of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Since 1999 Despić is secretary of the Department of Fine Arts and Music.
Beside composing, in which he accomplished approximately 230 opuses (many of them in variants), he wrote numerous scientific–theoretical papers and text–books. The most significant are: three–part scientific study on (classic) tonality (The Theory of Tonality, The Perception of Tonality, The Contrasts of Tonality), text–books meant for students of secondary music schools (The Basis of Music Science, Musical Instruments, Introduction to Contemporary Composing), and students of music faculties (Theory of Music, Music Styles, Harmonic Analysis, Harmony with Harmonic Analysis, Melody, Two–Part Writing, Polyphony, Polyphonic Arrangements, Musical Instruments), as well as translations of the books (Ctirad Kohoutek: Technika kompozicii v muzyke XX věka, Федор Дудка: Основы нотной графики). He is a collaborate of various journals and radio programmes, and writer of voluminous monographs such as The Days of Mokranjac (25 years), Belgrade Music Festival – BEMUS (30 years), Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra (75 years) and The ‘Mokranjac’ Music School (100 years).