Balokovic, Zlatko
Belinic, Robert
Britvic, Sasa
Brkanovic, Ivan
Brkanovic, Zeljko
Cencic, Max Emanuel
Cosetto, Emil
Cvejic, Biserka
Despalj, Valter
Dugan, Franjo
Dukic, Zoran
Filjak, Martina
Gekic, Kemal
Gotovac, Jakov
Hauser, Stjepan
Horvat, Milan
Huml, Vaclav
Ivanovic, Dejan
Janigro, Antonio
Jelic, Vinko
Josic, Dino
Jurinac, Srebrenka Sena
Kasman, Josip
Kelemen, Milko
Klepac, Rudolf
Klobucar, Andjelko
Klobucar, Berislav
Kolitsch, Vlado
Kossjanenko, Wladimir
Krpan, Vladimir
Kuljeric, Igor
Kunc-Milanov, Zinka
Leskovar, Monika
Little Stars (Zvjezdice)
Livljanic, Katarina
Lorkovic, Melita
Lorkovic, Radoslav
Macan, Antonio
Magdic, Josip
Matacic, Lovro, von
Martinis, Dragica (Carla)
Matz, Rudolph
Miletic, Miroslav
Milinkovic, Djurdja
Mrvica, Maksim
Ninic, Tonko
Obrovac, Tamara
Odak, Krsto
Pattiera, Tino
Parac, Frane
Pejacevic, Dora
Penzar, Mario
Perica, Petar
Petrovic, Bosko
Pogorelic, Ivo
Pogorelic, Lovro
Pospis-Baldani, Ruza
von Preradovic, Paula
Puliti, Gabriello
Putar-Gold, Nada
Ruzdjak, Vladimir
Sljivac, Zdravko
Slavenska, Mia
Spiller, Ljerko
Stipisic, Ljubo
Sutej, Vjekoslav
Svecenski, Louis
Trnina, Milka
Trukovic, Milan
Vejzovic, Dunja
Vidakovic, Albe
Vidovic, Ana
Vidovic, Ivana Marija
Vidovic, Viktor
Vlatkovic, Radovan
Zonic, Edin Dino
Zvjezdice (Little Stars)
Zupanovic, Lovro
 

Croatian Classical Music, 20th-21st centuries

Darko Zubrinic, Zagreb (1995)

An age is known by its music
Croatian proverb (see [Kuhac])

 

Franjo Dugan (1874-1948), studied mathematics and physics, and was outstanding organ player and composer, the Zagreb Cathedral organist since 1910.

It is maybe worth mentioning that the German pianist Alfred Brendel, at that time 10 years old, met Franjo Dugan in Zagreb, who gave him lessons that he found extremely useful. He also appeared at a children's theatre in Zagreb. In Dugan's textbook Music Acoustics (in Croatian), published poshumously,

Franjo Dugan st., Glazbena akustika, Kiklos - Krug knjige, Zagreb, 2014., ISBN 978-953-56937-6-5 (302 str.)
(information at  kiklos.hr@hotmail.com )

one can find the following surprising and little known fact (see pp. 279-295, in the appendix to the book written by Veljko Lipovšćak, Franjo Dugan st. - prvo javno snimanje za gramofonske ploče u Europi):

The first publicly registered gramophone record in Europe was produced in Croatia's capital Zagreb in 1927, and it was the third such registration in the world (USA, New York in 1925 and 1926); the concert of Croatian Christmas carols with Franjo Dugan as the organist in the Zagreb Cathedral (stuffed with 2000 listenders), has been electronically transferred  to the Dvorana Istra (Istria Hall in Zagreb) for several hundred additional listeners, and registered for the Edison - Bell - Penkala Co. in Zagreb.

The verses for the Austrian national anthem "Land der Berge, Land am Strome", were written by Paula von Preradovic (1887-1951), Austrian writer and poetess, grand-daughter of the Croatian poet Petar Preradovic (1818-1872), with the music of W.A. Mozart.

Paula von Preardovic

Verses by Paula von Preradovic (music by W.A. Mozart)

See the Paula Preradovic's handwriting of music (by Mozart) and verses of Austrian anthem.

Land der Berge, Land am Strome,
Land der Äcker, Land der Döme,
Land der Hämmer, zukunftsreich.
Heimat bist du grosser Söhne,
Volk begnadet für das Schöne,
Vielgerühmtes Österreich,
Vielgerühmtes Österreich!

Heiss umfehdet, wild umstritten,
Liegst dem Erdteil du inmitten
Einem starken Herzen gleich.
Hast seit Frühen Ahnentagen
Hoher Sendung last getragen,
Vielgeprüftes Österreich, Vielgeprüftes Österreich.

Mutig in die neuen Zeiten,
Frei und gläubig sieh uns schreiten,
Arbeitsfroh und hoffnungsreich.
Einig lass in Brüderchören,
Vaterland, dir Treue schwören,
Vielgeliebtes Österreich, Vielgeliebtes Österreich.

Land of mountains, land on the river,
Land of fields, land of cathedrals,
Land of hammers, rich in outlook.
You are the native home of great sons,
A people uniquely gifted for the beautiful,
Much applauded Austria.

Fiercely embattled, ferociously contested,
You lie at the center of the globe,
Like a strong heart.
Since the days of your early ancestors
You have borne the burden of a sublime calling,
Much-tried Austria.

Courageously we stride
Into the new times, free and devout,
Industrious and of firm heart.
In unison choruses of brotherhood
We pledge our allegiance to thee,
Fatherland,
Much-loved Austria.

Paula von Preradovic on Austrian postage stamp, issued in 1996

She wrote a lot about Croatia, its people, history and nature, for example "Königslegende" in 1950, "Pave und Pero" in 1940, and "Dalmatinische Sonette" in 1933.

  • It is interesting that Paula von Preradovic's verses were chosen among as many as 1800 entries submitted for the Austrian national anthem in 1947.
  • When Paula von Preradovic died in 1951, the Wiener Sanger Knaben (The Vienna Boy Choir) sang the Austrian national anthem on the funeral, with her verses.
  • Paula von Preradovic: Gesamelte Werke, Verlag Fritz Molden (her son), Wien, 1967.
  • Austrian Bundespresident Dr. Thomas Klestil: ...Ich glaube, die knappste Beschreibung der Geschichte und der Zukunft unseres Landes verdanken wir nach wie vor Paula von Preradovic, der Dichterin unserer Bundeshymne. Dort heisst es - mit dem Blick über tausend Jahre hinweg - in der zweiten Strophe: "Heiss umfehdet, wild umstritten liegst dem Erdteil Du inmitten - einem starken Herzen gleich!" So ist es - und so muss es bleiben. (1996)

Petar Perica (1881-1944) wrote verses for two sacral songs still extremely popular among the Croats: Do nebesa nek se ori (in 1900, at the age of 19) and Rajska Djevo (in 1904, at the age of 23). In 1901 he entered the Society of Jesus. Killed without trial by communist partisans in 1944 on the islet of Daksa near Dubrovnik.
Many thanks to Br. Ivo Domazet SJ for the photo.

Vaclav Huml is distinguished Croatian violinist and pedagogue of the Czech origin (Beroun, Bohemia, 1880 - Zagreb, Croatia, 1953). He studied in Prague with Otokar Sevcik, and concerted in Lavov. Since 1903 he was working and living in Zagreb as a teacher of violin and chamber music at the Croatian Music Institute School. From 1921 until his death he was a professor at the Music Academy. Besides that he performed as a soloist and as a member of chamber ensembles, and was a co-founder and the first violin of the Zagreb Quartet in 1919.

During his pedagogical career he educated more than 200 violinists, so he is regarded as a founder of the Zagreb Violinistic School. Among his students are Vlado Kolic and Zlatko Balokovic. In memory of the Huml's work and activity the Croatian Music Institute founded an award in 1953 bearing his name for the best graduates of string instruments at the Music Academy in Zagreb. From 1977, in Zagreb, every four years, the International Vaclav Huml Violin Competition is holding on. Source.

Vlado Kolitsch (Vlado Kolić, 1899-1979), born in Zagreb, was a renowned violin pedagogue. His studied at the Zagreb Conservatory under Vaclav Huml. His musical debut in the USA was in 1925, at Cargnegie Hall in New York, playing a violin which had been used by Mozart in 1786. Vlado Kolitsch became a professor at the Academy of Music in Los Angeles, USA.

Vlado Kolitsch (Kolić), Croatian violinist. Photo by the courtesy of the Library of Congress, USA; many thanks to Vladimir Novak, Zagreb.

He is inventor of the Kolitsch shoulderest, patented [PDF, click on the photo below ] in 1936 (a previous version of the violin shoulder rest has been patented by another Croatian in 1930, also from Zagreb: Mirko Medakovic, [PDF]). The Kolitsch shoulderest is manufactured in many countries.

Vlado Kolitsch was in possession of a Mozart's violin.

FOILS OLD VIOLIN THEFT (PRESTO, June 27, 1925.)

New York Ticket Agent Saves Instrument Said to Have Been Used by Mozart. The alertness of a ticket agent in the northbound station of the Ninth Avenue elevated at Fourteenth street New York, last week balked the theft of two violins belonging to Vlado Kolitsch, Croatian violin ist, who made his debut at Carnegie Hall this season. One of the violins is said to have been used by Mozart in 1786 and is valued by its owner at $17,000.
Kolitsch, accompanied by his secretary and a friend, was returning from a concert to the Hotel des Artistes at 1 West Sixty-seventh street. It was near midnight when they reached the elevated platform and no train was in sight. The violins, in one case, were laid upon a bench. When a train rolled into the station the men got aboard, forgetting the violins. At the next station Kolitsch notified the agent of his loss. The agent, in turn, notified the Fourteenth street agent. When he left the phone the agent saw a man carrying a violin case walk briskly toward the exit turnstiles. "Just a minute," exclaimed the agent. "Where did you get that violin case?" The man ignored the question and went on. The agent threatened to call a policeman and the man dropped the case and fled. When Kolitsch arrived a few minutes later his violins were waiting for him.

Once when Vlado Kolitsch met Zinka Kunc-Milanov, she reminded him that they have met 25 years ago in a Zagreb church when she, as a little girl singing in the church choir, held a candle for him who was a boy violinist, so he could warm up his fingers before playing in the cold church. Information by the courtesy of Vladimir Novak, Zagreb.

Rudolph Matz (1901-1988) is perhaps the greatest cello theoretician in the world (opinion expressed by Leonard Rose). He wrote manuals for cellists that even today are considered among the best for young cellists throughout the world. Matz studied cello, composition and conducting at the Zagreb Academy of Music, and became professor of cello at the University of Zagreb in 1950, where he stayed until his retirement in 1972. He wrote about 300 vocal and instrumental compositions, about 100 of them for cello. He is the author of the monumental 32 volume Prve godine violoncella in Croatian (1948-1962), translated into English as First Years of Violoncello. He also wrote the widely used For Young Hands, 54 Short Etudes.

Rudolf Matz, photo from Physicians Singers of Zagreb

Rudolph Matz was a top Croatian sportsman. As a sprinter he won the first place in the Prague in 1921, beating also German sprinters. He was a record holder in Croatia on 100 (for 11 years!), 200, 4x100, and 400 m. He stressed that the work of a music educator is similar to that of a trainer.

Cello of Rudolf Matz, Zagreb

Matz served as a jury member at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1966, 1970 and 1974, and at Gaspar Cassado's competition in Florence in 1973. Matz was also a pioneer in establishing the field of music therapy as a profession in Croatia. He founded among other the Zagreb Chamber Orchestra, predecessor of the Zagreb Soloists (I Solisti di Zagreb). Since 1996 an annual International Competition Rudolph Matz is held in Dubrovnik organized by Croatian String Teachers' Association. A monograph published in honour of Matz has been written by an american musicologist:

Margery Enix: Rudolf Matz - Cellist, Teacher, Composer, Dominis Music, Ottawa 1996

Rudolf and Margita Matz, Zagreb, around 1950

University of North Carolina, Greensboro, USA, keeps archival material:

Rudolf and Margita Matz Memorial Collection will be set up in their appartment in Zagreb, Mesnicka 15, which once famed for its encounters with musicians and intimate concerts. In 1967 Matz was visited by a celebrated cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Rudolf Matz composed the melody of the anthem of the cultural society Napredak (Advancement) in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ljerko Spiller (1908-2008) was a famous Croatian and Argentiean violinist, of the Jewish origin. He graduated the study of violine from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. In 1930 he started to lecture at the Paris École Normale de Musique. In 1935 he was one of the winners of the prestigious Warsaw Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition. On the eve of WWII he moved to Argentina, where he continued his very fruitful activity. Spiller is the author of one of the best violin textbooks for children (Kinder lernen Geige spielen, published by PAN in Zürich, Switzerland). He frequently played Croatian composers, like Ivan Mane Jarnovic, Franjo Dugan, Milko Kelemen, Krsto Odak, etc. In 1997 he obtained the Order of Danica Hrvatska (The Order of Croatian Morning Star) from president Franjo Tudjman. More information by Zlatko Stahuljak, in Croatian.

Any admirer of classical music certainly knows the Zagreb Soloists, conducted by maestro Tonko Ninic (until 1997).

Maestro Antonio Janigro (photo from www.zg-solisti.hr) Maestro Tonko Ninic (photo from www.zg-solisti.hr)

The Zagreb Soloists were founded in 1954 by a famous Italian violoncellist Antonio Janigro (1918-1989). International Cello Competition "Antonio Janigro" is organized in his honour in Zagreb.

The Zagreb Soloists (photo from www.zg-solisti.hr)
The Zagreb Soloists (photo from www.zg-solisti.hr)

In the last 50 years they had more than 3500 concerts, among others in the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall (London), in Carnegie Hall (New York), Musikverein (Vienna), in Mozarteum (Salzburg), in Hercules (Münichen), in Tonhalle (Zürich), in Teatro Real (Madrid), in Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), in Salle Pleyel (Paris), in Santa Cecilia (Rome), in Cajkovski concert hall (Moscow), in Opera House (Sydney), in Festival Hall (Osaka), in Coliseo (Buenos Aires), in Victoria Hall (Singapur). They also had solemn concerts at the General Assembly of the UN.

During the Croatian War of Independence the Zagreb Soloists gave about seventy benefit concerts (to raise founds for Dubrovnik, destroyed schools of music in Croatia, then for the destroyed building of the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek, Children' s Hospital in Zagreb, devastated Croatian churches and monuments). They also played a series of concerts to celebrate the newly-independet Republic of Croatia. Source: Hispania Clasica.

  • The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra
  • The Zagreb String Quartet, founded in 1919, which performed about 5,000 concerts until the end of 20th century, many of them throughout the world.

    The Zagreb Quartet (photo from www.zagrebquartet.org)

  • Dora Pejacevic (1885-1923) is the first important female composer in Croatia; in her short life she left behind her a rich opus of 58 pieces; she was portrayed among others by Maximilian Vanka (see below). Her works have been played already during her lifetime in Dresden, München, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and in her native Nasice in Croatia. A regular Memorial of Dora Pejacevic is held in Nasice.

    Dora Pejacevic (1885-1923), Croatian composer (portrait by Maxo Vanka)

    Dora Pejacevic: Allegro, [wma] 9.2 MB,
    live performance in the chapel of Prandau - Normann palace, Valpovo, 2005,
    Mirta Pletersek-Blaskovic (violin) and Petra Gilmung (piano), with kind permission

  • Krsto Odak (1888-1961), important Croatian composer of sacral music, in particular church music inspired with old Croatian glagolitic texts.
  • the violinist Zlatko Balokovic (1895-1965); he was in possession of Guarneri's famous violin "the King" from 1735 (one of the last violins built by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, "the King" was named in honour of King Joseph of Hapsburg, estimated to nine million dollars); he donated "the King" to his beloved city of Zagreb in 1964;

    Zlatko Balokovic with the King (photo from perso.wanadoo.fr/lelotusdeze/Visiteur.htm)

    Guarneri's King donated by Balokovic to his beloved Zagreb in 1964 (photo from www.conradstrings.com)

    Guarneri's famous violin "the King" from 1735 ,
    kept in Zagreb

    Zlatko Balokovic: Don't do to others what you don't want to be done to you (Croatian proverb; photo from perso.wanadoo.fr/lelotusdeze/Visiteur.htm)

    Zlatko Balokovic with the King (photo from perso.wanadoo.fr/lelotusdeze/Visiteur.htm)
    Balokovic's series of concerts in Kopehnagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, Dortmund, The Hague, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Paris, 1928-1929.

    Zlatko Balokovic with the King (photo from perso.wanadoo.fr/lelotusdeze/Visiteur.htm)
    During the WWII he was the president of the American Croatian Congress (in New York), and president of the Committee of All Nationalities, which organized humanitarian help in many coutries. In 1966 his widow Joyce Bourdon Balokovic founded Zlatko and Joyce Balokovic Scholarship from which HAZU allocates stipends for gifted Croatian students to study at Harvard University

  • Lovro von Matacic, one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century (1899-1985), started his career in 1919 as conductor of orchestras in Osijek, Novi Sad, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Riga, and in Zagreb in 1932. From 1942-1945 he was conductor of the Vienna Opera. After 1945 he was imprisoned by the Yugoslav communist regime, and together with Croatian painter Kristian Krekovic sentenced to confiscation of all movable and immovable property. In 1950's he became organizer of Festivals in Dubrovnik and Split. In 1956 Matacic moved to Germany to conduct East Berlin Opera and the famous Dresden Staatskapelle, then conducted at Bayreuth in 1959, and from 1961 to 1966 was Gereralmuikdirektor in Frankfurt. He was also guest conductor in Vienna Opera, Milan Scala, in Chicago, Naples, Palermo, Rome, London, Cleveland, Tokyo, Prague, etc., and was elected the honorary director of the Japanese Orchestra in Tokyo. From 1970 to 1980 he was conductor and artistic director of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, and almost simultaneously from 1973 to 1979 had the same role in the Monte Carlo Orchestra.

    Lovro pl. Matacic

    Lovro Matacic is the laureate of
    • the Bruckner Medal and of the International Bruckner Society, recipient of the Bruckner Ring from Viennese Symphonic Orchestra (one among only a few of the most outstanding conductors),
    • recipient of the Smetana Medal from the Czech government and Janacek Medal,
    • Hans von Bellow Medal from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,
    • medal for artistic work from the Prince Rainer of Monaco,
    • the Cross of the First Order for Science and Art from the president of Republic of Austria,
    • and of numerous recognitions in Croatia.
    Under his baton great performances were accomplished (and recorded by Columbia Records) by Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrakh, Enrico Caruso, Beniamin Giglio, Maria Callas, Herbert von Karajan, Bruno Walter, Arthur Rubinstein and others. Lovro Matacic founded a fund for specialization of young conductors. One of predecessors of his noble family participated in the defense of Siget under the leadership of legendary Nikola Subic Zrinski in 1566.
  • Boris Papandopulo (1906-1991), distinguished Croatian composer and conductor
  • opera singers
    • Josip Kasman (1850-1925), born on the island of Losinj, baritone, and the first Croat that had opportunity to sing in the New York Metropolitan (in 1883)
    • Milka Trnina (or Ternina, 1863-1941); according to Giacomo Puccini, author of the famous opera Tosca, she was the best "Tosca" that he had opportunity to listen to (on the London première in 1900); see Milka Ternina at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; only in Convent Garden in London Milka had 56 performances between 1895 and 1906. Also, she was the first Tosca in Great Britain and in the United States.

      Milka Trnina

      She sang at the ceremony of coronation of the Russian Tsar Nikolai II. One of the waterfalls of the Plitivice Lakes (a famous National Park in Croatia) is named after Trnina in 1898. For more information see the following monograph:

      Nada Premerl: Milka Ternina and the Royal Opera House (in English and Croatian), Muzej Grada Zagreba, Zagreb 2006. ISBN 953-6942-24-0



      1898 Charter from the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb conferring honorary membership to Milka Trnina (source [Premerl, p 86]), containing the Croatian Coat of Arms

      Did You know that the name of the famous MILKA chocolate, Switzerland, had been given in honour to Milka Trnina, Croatian opera diva?

      Saviez vous
      que le célébre chocolat porte le nom de "Milka" en l'honneur de Milka Trnina, chanteuse d'opéra originaire d'Ivanic Grad en Croatie. Le fondateur de la marque étant un admirateur de la diva croate, il décida de donner son nom, Milka, a son entreprise et son chocolat.

      Milka (TRNINA) Chocolate

    • Maja Strozzi-Pecic (1881-1962), Thomas Mann wrote about her in his Dr. Faustus ("...she is probably the best soprano of both hemispheres"), while Igor Stravinski devoted his four compositions to her.
    • Zinka Kunc-Milanov (1906-1989)

      Zinka Kunc-Milanov (photo from bassocantante.com)

      Zinka Kunc-Milanov (photo from goclassic.co.kr)

    • Djurdja Milinkovic (1913-1986)
    • Rudolf Klepac (1913-1994), famous Croatian bassoon (fagott) player ("Rubinstein on bassoon"), professor at Mozarteum in the city of Salzburg, Austria, honorary citizen of Salzburg
    • Srebrenka Sena Jurinac (1921-2011)

      Srebrenka Sena Jurinac

    • Dragica Martinis (b. Balic, 1922-2010)

      "I need the most beautiful voice in the world. Where is it?" - Herbert von Karajan, Vienna 1951.

      "Dragica Martinis. Here." - Rudolf Bing, New York.


    • Nada Puttar - Gold (1923)
    • Biserka Cvejic (b. Katusic) (1923), laureate of the French Legion of Honor in 2001
    • Ruza Pospis-Baldani (1942)
    • Dunja Vejzovic (1943)

      Dunja Vejzovic

    • Vladimir Ruzdjak (1922-1987)

    For more information see Croatian Opera Singers 1945 - 2002 (in Croatian).

    A famous opera singer Tino Pattiera (1890-1966) was born in the lovely town of Cavtat near Dubrovnik. His career started in Croatia, in the Opera of Osijek, where he sang as baritone. Pattiera was teaching singing in the Prague and in Vienna (Academy of Drama and Music). He is buried in his native town of Cavtat.

    Tino Pattiera

  • A distinguished Croatian composer Ivan Brkanovic (1906-1987) was born near the town of Kotor in Boka kotorska. He studied at the Music Academy in Zagreb. Among others he was a director of The Zagreb Philharmony and professor at the University of Sarajevo. He composed Bokeljsko kolo, Konavosko pirovanje, opera Zlato Zadra (Gold of Zadar), etc.
  • Milan Horvat (1916-2014), distinguished Croatian conductor, collaborated with world's most famous orchestras. He conducted the National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin, Symphony Orchestra ORF in Vienna, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. He has PhD in Law.
  • Andjelko Klobucar (1931), organ player and church music composer, played throughout Europe, including the church of Notre Dame in Paris, Westminster Abbey in London, Basilica of St. Maria degli Angeli in Assisi.
  • Berislav Klobucar (1924), one of the greatest Croatian conductors, born in Zagreb, student of Lovro pl. Matacic, started his impressive career leading the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • He conducted the Vienna State Opera for more than forty years (1133 performances in 56 operas!).
    • During ten years Klobucar directed Symphonic Orchestra and the Opera in Graz, Austria.
    • During nine years he was director of the Opera of Stockholm, Sweden.
    • During six years Berislav Klobucar was director of Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra in Nice, France.
    He conducted in the Milano Scala, in the New York Metropolitan, and on prestigious festivals like those in Bayreuth and Salzburg. His extensive repertoire contains of as many as 115 opera titles, and his most favorite authors are Beethoven, Wagner, and Richard Strauss. The above data are based on an article by Nenad Turkalj published in Hrvatsko Slovo, 5. November 2004, p. 19.

    Berislav Klobucar

  • Zeljko Brkanovic is distinguished Croatian composer of contemporary music. He composed the "Diptych for bayan and camera orchestra" which has been played by the Soloists of the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra in Moscow. It was composed in 2006 upon the request of a famous bayan virtuoso Vitalij Muntjan (Russia - Croatia), who was also the first one to play the piece.
  • Miroslav Miletic, viola player, founded the Pro Arte string quartet in Zagreb, which in 1970's was among 10 best string quartets in the world. Among his numerous students was Hiroshi Hirano, violist from Japan (Tokyo). As a composer he promoted Croatian folklore and church music (in particular from the island of Hvar). He considers the Croatian folklore music the most beautiful and the richest in the world. In 1975, accompanied by the Leningrad Philharmonic, he played his Viola concert. Maestro Miletic collaborated also with K. Stockhausen on electronic music. He has his works published at Schott, Berben, Meckverlag, Pizzicatto etc, and an LP issued in the USA.
  • Milan Turkovic, one of the few internationally known bassoon soloists, originates from an Austro-Croatian family. He is a member of the Ensemble Wien-Berlin (a woodwind quintet he formed together with principal players of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic), the Concentus Musicus of Vienna, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York.
  • Vjekoslav Sutej (1951), a renowned conductor (for four consecutive years conducted the Viennese Symphonic Orchestra during Christmas concerts held in Vienna, with the participation of such famous singers like Jose Carreras - concert in Arena di Verona in 1995, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, the event being transmitted worldwide), from 1990 to 1993 musical director of Teatro La Fencie in Venice, conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Sevilla (Spain) from 1990 to 1996, and the Houston opera orchestra (the USA) from 1992 to 1997, conducted Carmen in Arena di Verona,

    Vjekoslav Sutej

  • Academic choir Ivan Goran Kovacic
  • Lyra, excellent choir of the Jewish Community in Zagreb, winner of many international competitions (including the one held in Yerusalem in August 1996 on the occasion of 3000 years of the city), conducted by Emil Cosetto. He has very nicely arranged numerous folk songs from various parts of Croatia for choir singing.
    Mr Cosetto is also known to have rearranged a beautiful Croatian song Fala (Thank you) as a funeral song on the occasion of Tito's death in 1980, thus distorting its original message.
  • Collegium pro Musica Sacra has won silver medal at the fourth International competition of church choirs "Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina" held in Jerusalem, on the occasion of 3000 years of existence of this ancient city. The Collegium has been founded in 1970.

    Collegium pro Music Sacra in HGZ, Zagreb, 2008

  • Akademski zbor bazilike srca Isusova (academic choir), conducted by Robert Homen, with its 100 singers, has won the first place at VI Concorso internazionale di Musica Sacra "Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina" held in Rome in Chiesa di Sant' Ignazio in 1988, in the category of mixed choirs.
  • Cesarice, a small women's choir founded in 1993 (students of University of Zagreb), with repertoire mostly related to Dalmatian folk songs, and conducted by Bojan Pogrmilovic, has won the first place on prestigiousIX Concorso Internationale do Canto Corale 1998, held in Verona, Italy. During the XI Concorso Internationale held in 2000, among 24 participating choirs from Europe and Australia, the Croats occupied four first places: Dalmatinke from Split and Blajke from Blato on the island of Korcula (women's choirs), Luka from Ploce and Vokalisti Salone from Solin (men's choirs). This is already fifth consecutive win of Croatian choirs on this prestigious international competition in Verona.

    Cesarice

Melita Lorkovic (1907-1987) was an internationally known classical pianist... Her successes were tempered by the years shortly after the war [1945] when her husband Radoslav Lorkovic Sr. was shot by Tito's communist regime. Following a devastating period of being thrown out on the street with two children and losing her position at the University [of Zagreb], she survived in a small flat teaching neighborhood kids piano lessons... At a concert in Belgrade Tito himself attended the performance and was so impressed that he went backstage and asked if there were any personal favors he could grant Ms. Lorkovic. Melita responded, "Yes. Could you tell me where you shot my husband?" ...

Source: Radoslav Lorkovic, grandson of killed Radoslav Lorkovic Sr. Mr. Radoslav Lorkovic Jr, a contemporary USA musician, was born in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1958. A detailed description of his activities is available on his web site: Radoslav Lorković.

Melita Lorkovic was professor at the Music Academy in Zagreb (1929-1945), at the Music Academy in Belgrade (1948-1960), and at the National onservatory in Kairo (1960-1972).

Ref. Radovan Lorkovic; Melita Lorkovic (1907-1987) Pozajici | Lorkovici | Melita i ja, Zagreb, 2012., s popratnim CD-om, ISBN 978-95-7168-06-3

Radovan Lorkovic (1932), professor of violin in Basle in Switzerland and concert master, conducted a concert ensemble Musica Viva - Basel. See his article writen in Croatian: Sjecanja na neke nastupe i djelovanje hrvatskih glazbenika u Svicarskoj.

Artists of international reputation:

  • the violoncellist Valter Despalj (1947), with violinist Maja Despalj-Begovic founder of private music school for exceptionally gifted children, see STRINGS ONLY!, Zadar, Croatia (Despalj School of Music) . Maestro Despalje founded the CELLOMANIA project in Zagreb in 1991.

    Photo from the 4th Dubrovnik Festival

  • the violoncellist Monika Leskovar (1981), winner of the prestigious Tchaikovsky competition in Japan for 1995 (a student of maestro Valter Despalj), the third prize at the 1997 Rostropovic competition in Paris, the second prize at the 1998 Eurovision contest for young instrumentalists, winner of the 1999 Roberto Caruana competition in Milano, Italy, the second prize at the famous ARD competition in 2001.

    Monika Leskovar

    Monika Leskovar

  • Luka Šulić (1987) shared the First Prize at the prestigious Witold Lutoslawski International Cello Competition held in 2009 in Warsaw. Its honorary president during his lifetime was legendary Mstislav Rostropovich. With Stjepan Hauser, he created duo of global fame, 2 CELLOS.

    Luka also won special prize for the best performance of Lutoslawski's Sacher Variations.
  • Dražen Domjanić is Croatian pianist born in the town of Čakovec, living with his family in Liechtenstein. He is artistic director of Musik & Jugend (Music and Youth) which organized many master classes and concerts aiming to help young musicians from Central Europe, with emphasis on Croatia.
  • the violoncellist Stjepan Hauser (born in 1986; photo from croatia.org), is a member of the Greenwich Trio founded in 2005. With Luka Sulic, he created duo of global fame, 2 CELLOS.

  • the pianist Vladimir Krpan (1938), president of EPTA (European Association of Piano Teachers) during many years,
  • the pianist Ivo Pogorelic (1958),

    Ivo Pogorelic

  • the pianist Lovro Pogorelic (1970), Ivo's brother,
  • the pianist Kemal Gekic,
  • Radovan Vlatkovic (1962), distinguished horn soloist, playing in the Philharmonic Orchestra of Berlin,

    Radovan Vlatkovic

  • the Zagreb guitar trio: Darko Petrinjak, Istvan Römer, Goran Listes,
  • Viktor Vidovic (1973) and Ana Vidovic (1980), brilliant guitarists (brother and sister); Ana has won the 1998 International Guitarist Competition "Francisco Tarrega" in Benicasim, Spain, among forty competitors up to the age 32, see Toutes les qualités d'une jeune virtuose at Societé luxembourgeoise de guitare classique. She also won first prizes at "Albert Augustinum International Competition" in Bath, England, at the "Ferdinando Sor Competition" in Rome. She had concerts in London, Paris, Vienna, Salzburg, Rome, Budapest, Warsaw, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, Tronto, San Francisco, Houston, Austin, Dallas, St Luis. Ana entered the Music Academy in Zagreb at the age of 13, as its youngest-ever student. Listen to her numerous recitals.

    Watch and listen to Ana's concert in the Kennedy Center
    in Washington DC, 2004.

    Ana Vidovic

    Ana Vidovic

  • Zoran Dukic (1969), a Croatian classical guitarist, a student of maestro Darko Petrinjak in his native Zagreb, is one of the most prominent players of the new generation. He won an amazing number of prizes, more than any other guitarist in the world. Here are some of them (source www.gitarrist.net):
    • First Prize "International Guitar Competition" in Mettmann, Germany 1991.
    • First Prize "Andrés Segovia" Int. Guitar Competition in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1991.
    • First Prize "Dakar International Guitar Competition" in Senegal, 1992.
    • First Prize "Guerrero International Guitar Competition" in Madrid, Spain, 1992 - plus the special jury prize for the best interpretation of Spanish music).
    • First Prize "20th International Guitar Competition" in Vina del Mar, Chile, 1993 - plus the Prize of the Public
    • First Prize "20th Francisco Tárrega Int. Guitar Competition" in Benicasim, Spain, 1994 - plus received the Prize of the Public
    • First Prize "International Guitar Competition Printemps de la Guitarre" Belgium, 1994 - plus the Special Prize from the "Belgian Composer's Association"
    • First Prize "Andrés Segovia International Guitar Competition" in Granada, Spain, 1996 the only guitarist to win both of the "Andrés Segovia" competitions - Granada & Palma
    • First Prize "De Bonis International Guitar Competition" in Cosenza, Italy, 1997 - plus the Prize of Public
    • First Prize "Manuel Maria Ponce International Guitar Competition" in Tredrez-France, 1996
    He had solo concerts in more than 30 countries on all five continents. He is teaching at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, Holland, Hochschule für Musik in Aachen, Germany and at the Escuela Superior de Musica de Barcelona, Spain.
  • Robert Belinic (1982) has been acclaimed in the New York press as "a consummate musician of grace and stature who turns mere notes into magic." Croatian guitarist Robert Belinic was the sole winner of the 2001 Young Concert Artists European Auditions in Leipzig, Germany. In 2002, he became the first guitarist to win the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York. He is recipient of the Fergus New Artist Prize, Princeton University Concert Prize and the Beracasa Foundation Prize .

    Robert Belinic

  • Maksim Mrvica, a young pianist born in 1975 in Sibenik, who has won the Nicolai Rubinstein International Competition of Pianists in Paris in 1999, and the International Pianist Competition Pontoise in Paris in 2001 (his second name - Mrvica - means "crumb" in Croatian language!). He was at the age of 15 when bombs fell almost constantly on his native city of Šibenik. Maksim remembers "There were more than 1000 grenades a day. At one point there were seven whole days when we stayed in the basement and didn�t see the sun. "But you got used to it: you had to go on living."


    MAKSIM Mrvica The World Premiere Performance. Rachmaninoff-Rimsky-Korsakoff: Flight of the Bumble Bee.

    ... For Maksim, living meant playing the piano. He would meet his teacher Marija Sekso in the basement of Šibenik's music school and forget the war, losing himself in the music for hours at a time. ... As well as grenades, there was the constant threat of being attacked by Serbian snipers - any time spent outside was a danger. For three years the whole family slept each night on the concrete floor of the shelter in their basement. They occasionally were able to escape to a house on one of the islands off Šibenik's coast, but although he was away from the bombs, being away from his piano was tortuous for Maksim and, despite the dangers, he always welcomed the family�s return to the city. For more details see here.

    Maksim Mrvica

  • in jazz - a vibraphonist Bosko Petrovic (1935).

    Bosko Petrovic

Mia Slavenska (born in Slavonski Brod, 1914-2002), became ballerina of the Zagreb Opera (1930-33), studied also in Vienna, and joined the Paris Opera in 1933. In London she danced with Anton Dolin before joining the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo (1938-42). She later formed her own company, Ballet Variante. In 1953 she established the Slavenska-Franklin Ballet company with Frederic Franklin. In 1950's she was prima ballerina of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She had the main female role in the ballet film "A Streetcar Named Desire". By the end of her career she was teaching in Los Angeles, California. Slavenska starred in a wonderful French film, La Mort du Cygne (Ballerina, 1938).

Mia Slavenska

Mia Slavenska on the London stage
www.slavenskadancepreservation.org

The Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which puts on dramatic, music and ballet art, was founded in 1950. A special attention is devoted to the plays of Marin Drzic and William Shakespeare. Especially famous is the Hamlet performance on the old tower of Lovrijenac. Due to its exceptional ambience, offering enormously powerful aesthetic experiences, it is regarded to be the best stage for Hamlet in Europe.

The Osor Musical Evenings (Osorske glazbene veceri ) have been founded in 1976 by Mr Danijel Marusic, a well known Croatian film producer (known for having produced "Nase malo misto"). Osor is a beutiful and very old stone town at the joint of two islands - Cres and Losinj. The music evenings take place each year in July and August with classical repertoire, including masterpieces of Croatian masters, old and new.

Musical Evenings in Donat, a summer festival in Zadar which began in 1961, include performances of medieval, renaissance and baroque music. A large number of outstanding European ensembles participated with masterpieces not only from their own country, but also with Croatian musical heritage (Skjavetic, Lukacic, Bosanac and others). See Dr Katarina Livljanic: A Sketch on a Fulfilled Wish, PDF, in Croatian and English.

International Violin Competition Vaclav Huml, Zagreb, Croatia

The well known musical ``The Canterbury Tales'', which played in London for quite a long time, was directed by Vlado Habunek, an outstanding name in theatrical life of Croatia.

An important cultural manifestation held in Zagreb is the Music Biennale, devoted to contemporary, experimental and avant-garde music. It has already a long tradition: in 1995 we had the 18th Biennale. Let us mention only a few names:

  • Milko Kelemen, professor of composition in Stuttgart, who founded the Biennale; his Requiem for Vukovar, Osijek, Dubrovnik, Sarajevo,... has been performed in the music hall of the G. Pompidou Centre in Paris in March 1995 by the 2e 2m Orchestra (conducted by Paul Mefano).

    Milko Kelemen (photo from the above web)Milko Kelemen in front of the ruins of the Catholic church in Vocin destroyed during Greater Serbian agression on Croatia in 1991 (photo from www.viroviticko-podravska-zupanija.hr)

  • Josip Magdic (1937), whose masterpieces attract attention of the European cultural audience in the recent years: some of them are devoted to the study of sounds of war he experienced during three and a half year's Greater Serbian siege of Sarajevo (April 1992- November 1995), capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also created a music caricature about the UNPROFOR eternal and unforgettable statement: We do not know who is shooting.
  • Igor Kuljeric (1938-2006), distinguished Croatian composer and conductor, known for his volcanic energy, finding inspiration among others in very old Croatian glagolitic heritage. We cite his reflections about Croatian music: Pluralism and rich diversity of Croatian musical heritage - from the oldest, almost archetypal times till contemporary musical art - are rare in world's proportions. It is particularly valuable for us and I am firmly convinced that we should not neglect, not to say renounce, any layer of this national heritage. Renouncing would mean disrespect of our predecessors, and it would not be forgiven by our descendants... (source)

The Sea Organ in the city of Zadar is a unique musical and architectural object conceived in 2005 by Croatian architect Nikola Basic, with assistance of Ivan Stamać, an expert in audio engineering. The sea waves produce spontaneous, random music by means of tubes built under a set of large marble steps along the coast.

Many tourists come to listen to this musique aleatoire, and enjoy unforgettable sunset with a view to nearby islands. In 2006 the Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia, obtained the European Prize for Urban Public Area in Barcelona.

Several masters of classical music which belong to younger generation are:

  • Sasa Britvic and Mario Penzar (laureate of the 1989 Flor Peeters International Organ Competition in Mechelen, Belgium) founded in 1999 in Zagreb the Croatian Baroque Ensemble which specialized in Baroque music.
  • An outstanding Croatian composer is Frano Parac. I can recommend you to enjoy his music.

International Festival ORGANUM HISTRIAE UMAG

Epidaurus Festival in Cavtat has been founded by Croatian pianist Ivana Marija Vidović.

Croatian cultural society Napredak (Progress) from Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia - Herzegovina, has a nice mixed choir called Trebevic. During the 1992-95 ferocious bombing of the city of Sarajevo, they gave numerous concert in the ruined city (in conditions that are difficult to describe), as well as 30 concerts in France, including Notre Dame in Paris. Napredak also organized very successful postwar international concerts in Sarajevo, starting from 1998.

Katarina Livljanic founded a French international Dialogos Ensemble in Paris in 1996. This vocal ensemble has singers from Norway, Venezuela, Bulgaria, Sweden, France and Croatia, specialized for Middle Age music and liturgical tradition among Mediterranean cultures. Their program includes also old Croatian glagolitic singing from Istria and very archaic singing from the island of Hvar. The glagolitic chant from medieval Croatia has been performed and recorded with great musicological interest.

Photos from www.ensemble-dialogos.org

In 1999 a CD Terra Adriatica was issued, under the title Chants sacrés des terres croates et italiennes au Moyen-Age, Dialogos Ensemble/Katarina Livljanic, Paris, ED 13107. The ensemble has won prestigious awards of French critiques like Diapason d'or and Monde de la Musique.

Example: Puce moj [mp3], that is, Popule meus, from Poljica.

Katarina Livljanich is lecturing Middle Age music at Sorbonne in Paris. In 1998 she founded a department for interpretation of Gregorian coral at the University of Limerick, Ireland, which is one of very rare in the world. Since 2002 she is artistic adviser of the Festival of Early Music in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Katarina Livljanic Dialogos Ensemble, directed by Katarina Livljanic

Véritable révélation de l'année, l'album Terra adriatica a été largement salué par la critique et a notamment été élu "Diapason d'or" et "Choc du Monde de la Musique" en 1999.

Postal address: Compagnie Dialogos 137 avenue de Choisy 75013 Paris - France Tel/fax: +33. 1. 45.53.40.00 E-mail: dialogos@wanadoo.fr

Regarding the glagolitic chant in Croatia see also Following the Cross - Lenten chants from the island of Hvar, Croatia, by Nenad Bach Music Ltd., New York.

Croatian neurophysiologist Ante Padjen living in Canada, McGill, formed the orchestra I Medici McGill's musicians, playing viola. Half of the orchestra is composed of physicians, medical students and researchers. Padjen became a McGill professor of pharmacology via studies in Scotland and a stint at the National Institutes of Health in Washington. "I became interested in human destiny," said Padjen, who believes music contains a balance that also applies to science. "You can't appreciate the parts without the whole - not the fingering, not the rhythm, not the notes." In a similar vein, he says, research on cells or molecules is meaningless without a larger context. Padjen contends that children are hard-wired to learn music as well as language. Medical school applicants should play an instrument as a prerequisite for enrollment, he said, "because music is the great expander." In the interest of linking science and music, I Medici concerts include lectures on the relationship between music and the brain.

The non-profit I Medici got off the ground as Padjen's string quartet 30 years ago. "My sanity valve," says Padjen, who officially formed the orchestra in 1989.

Festival of Early Music, Croatia, conceived in 2004, has been opened by Katarina Livljanic and her Dialogos ensemble, Paris, by performing La Vision Tondale in the famous Euphrasius Basilica in Porec. The organizer of the festival is Udruga Prosoli "Sveta glazba"/ Associazzione Prosoli Musica Sacra (Association Prosoli "Sacred Music"), Zagreb. Directors of the festival are Alojzije Prosoli (Croatia), Francis Biggi (Italia) i Avery Gosfield (USA). The festival is traditionally held in Istrian towns, mostly in Dvigrad, a small mediaeval town abandoned in 1630 because of the plague and malaria. One of the aims of the festival is to renew the town.

Simone Young, a famous Australian conductor, has Croatian roots on her mother's side. She was the first woman in her generation to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic; the first woman to lead the Komische Opera in Berlin, the NHK in Tokyo, the renowned all-male Vienna Philharmonic. From 2001 to 2003 she was chief conductor of Opera Australia in Sydney. She also conducted The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in 2000.

Simone Young

Simone Young, photo from The Courier Mail, Australia

...So her success, then, is 10 per cent inspiration, 90 per cent perspiration? "Yeah. Otherwise you're just not going to get there." Young's percentages are probably more even than that. The daughter of an Australian schoolteacher-turned-lawyer ("Dad's a very strong man; one day when he was already quite old he just decided to swap careers") and a Croatian-born dressmaker ("Mum struggled to learn English in the 60s; Dad took Croatian evening classes"), her earliest musical memories involve tinkering on an ancient piano at her grandmother's house, aged three. Source.

Jama Jandrokovic, American soprano married to a Croat, for her Zagreb appearance chose also three songs by Dora Pejačević (Dear Mother, My Angel ; I Believe, My Dear, and The Scream ).

Martina Filjak is distinguished Croatian pianist of younger generation, winner of the prestigious Cleveland International Piano Competition in 2009. For more information see here.

Edin Dino Zonic, born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a winner of Golden Karma National Awards for 2006. He founded Unity Through Music, a nonprofit organization. As composer, conductor and cultural ambassador, Maestro Zonic is dedicated to continuing the expansion of peace and unity through music, music that bridges cultural, national and religious barriers to bring the universal message of peace.

Wladimir Kossjanenko, associate professor at the Academy of Music of the University of Split, founded The Virtuosos of Split chamber orchestra in 2013.

Let us mention a young Bosnian Croat Dejan Ivanovic from the town of Tuzla (born in 1976), who took part in the prestigious International competition for classical guitar in Madrid in 1998 as a representative of Croatia, and won the first prize and the special prize.

Antonio Macan, born in 1988 in Frankfurt am Main, started to play piano at the age of four. He is now a young and very perspective pianist.

We recommend you to visit nice web pages of maestro Josip degl' Ivellio (church music), and also www.slavulj.hr.

Brodosplit male choir from the city of Split is conducted by Vlado Sunko, distinguished Croatian conductor and composer. The coir became the world champion at the 5th World Choir Games, Graz 2008, in the category of male chamber choirs. It is especially known for beautiful interpretations of spiritual songs of Christian inspiration from Croatian and international repertoire.

Cantus Ansambl, ensemble composed of two quintets (string and wind quintet) was founded in Zagreb in 2001.

Hrvatsko Drustvo Crkvenih Glazbenika (Croatian Society of Church Musicians)

Zvjezdice

Zvjezdice (Little Stars), all girls' choir, founded in 1985 in Zagreb, conducted by Mr. Zdravko Sljivac, became two-times world champions of the Llangollen International Music Festival of choir music (Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod), Llangollen, Wales, UK, in 2001, and Outstanding Prize at Sligo Choral Festival in Ireland. They are often compared with the Vienna Boys Choir. Little Stars were elected as Cultural Ambassadors of the European Union Parliament. They had very successful concerts in Norway (Oslo, Stavanger), France (Paris, Nantes, Auxerre), Italy (Milano, Riva del Garda), Switzerland (Zürich), Germany (Füssen), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo), Austria (Salzburg), USA (New York, Pittsburgh, Dayton, Northern Kentucky, Cincinatti, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Chicago), etc. You can listen to their singing of Croatian Christmas Songs. Maestro Zdravko Sljivac conducted also the World Children Choir in Paris.

Max Emanuel Cencic, Croatian singing prodigy, is gifted with the most beautiful countertenor voice of our time. He was a member of the Vienna Boys' Choir, subsequently pursuing a solo career. He was awarded as the best new singer of the year 2003 by "Opernwelt" magazine. His performance of Andromeda Liberata in Tokyo was named the best concert of the year 2005 in Japan. Since 2007 Max EmanueI Cencic is recording with the top-label EMI/Virgin Classics.

Examples of Croatian Christmas carols :

  • Radujte se narodi (Rejoice, peoples) [mp3]
  • Svim na Zemlji mir veselje (Peace and joy to all on the Earth) [mp3]

Accordcase is important equipment for every cellist, guitarist, hornest etc. The best, ultralight (3-5 kg) accordcases have been designed using carbon fibre technology by Mr. Robert Schenk in Pula, Croatia.

These cases are used by many outstanding musicians, like Mstislav Rostropovic, Yo-Yo Ma, Valter Despalj, Sting, Carlos Santana, Al Di Meola, to name just a few. Many thanks to Mr. Nenad Bach for this information.


References related to Croatian music:


Croatian Classical Music, 11th-19th centuries

Croatian Folk and Pop Music

Bunjevci Croats in Backa


 

Croatia - overview of its History, Culture and Science