Robert Heppener was born in Amsterdam in 1925. He died on August 25, 2009 in Bergen.
He studied piano with Jan Odé and Johan van den Boogert at the Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam and composition with Bertus van Lier.
After having taught theory for several years at the Muzieklyceum in Amsterdam, he became teacher in the theory of music and composition and instrumentation at the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatorium. Later he taught composition at the Conservatory of Music in Maastricht.
Heppener has written chamber music, orchestral music, vocal music and music for film and theatre. Amongst his compositions for orchestral music are Eglogues (1963) and Boog (1988). Important vocal works are Cantico delle Creature di San Francesco d'Assisi (1952), for voice and string orchestra, Canti carnascialeschi (1966), Del iubilo del core (1974) and Nachklaenge (1977), for choir.
In 1969 he received the Fontein-Tuynhout Prize for Canti carnascialeschi, in 1974 the Willem Pijper Prize for Four songs on poems by Ezra Pound (1970) and in 1993 the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize for Im Gestein (1992). In 1996 he was awarded the Johan Wagenaar Prize for his complete oeuvre and in 2000 the Visser-Neerlandia Prize.