Ipavec studied music and medicine in Vienna and Graz and settled there as a doctor and surgeon. In Graz, he worked as a primary school at the surgery department of the newly constructed Anna Children's Hospital.
As a composer, he is considered one of the most important representatives of the Slovenian music in the 19th century. His songs ( on texts by Prešeren, Anton Aškerc, Oton Župančič, Josip Murn and others) earned him the reputation of " Slovenian Schubert's". In addition to the four major cantatas he composed also a Slovenian operettas as well as the first Slovenian opera Teharski plemici, which was premiered in 1892 in the theater of Ljubljana.
After 1900, Ipavec retired from public musical life. He died just over a year after the death of his younger brother Gustav Ipavec and four days before his 80th birthday. His older brother Alojz Ipavec became known as a composer.
- The cage, music for the play by August von Kotzebue, 1862
- Ticnik ( The Birdcage, libretto by Mihael Lendovšek after Koetzebue ), operetta, 1864
- Teharski plemici ( The nobles of Teharje, libretto by Anton Funtek ), opera, 1890-91