A career as a classical prodigy took a sudden turn in 1967 when Thomas Koppel formed the rock group Savage Rose with his brother Anders. In the years before he turned to rock music, Thomas Koppel was considered one of the most promising young classical composers and a talented pianist in Denmark. Koppel wrote a symphony and several string quartets when he was still a teenager, and at the age of 19 he had his opera The Story of a Mother performed at the Royal Theatre. At that young age he had also made a name as a virtuoso pianist. Thomas Koppel studied piano and composition with his father, Herman D. Koppel (1908–1998), who was also both a pianist and composer. Thomas Koppel broke with his classical background in the 1960s and committed himself to Savage Rose. The core of the group has always been Thomas Koppel and his wife, the singer Anisette. The group was very successful in the 1990s, and in this same period Thomas Koppel began to write again classical compositions.