Sombor Music Festival (SOMUS), the first of its kind in Serbia and older brother of BEMUS, NOMUS and NIMUS, was founded in the fall of 1961 at the iniative of the pianist Dusan Trbojevic ( 1925-2011) and Dragoslav Mitrovic, the principal of the Music School „Petar Konjovic“ in Sombor. Since 1962, always in April, a well-known native artists were present at the Sombor musical scene: pianists Olivera Djurdjevic, Darinka Mihailovic, Andreja Preger, bass Miroslav Cangalovic, soprano Ljiljana Molnar, violinists Aleksandar Pavlovic and Tripo Simonuti. Among many orchestras, the most memorable is the concert of the Belgrade Philharmonic conducted by maestro Zivojin Zdravkovic. Along with native musicians, there were foreign guests performing solo or with chamber orchestras: Lubov Timofeeva (Russia), Vladimir Krainev (Russia), Igor Lazko (Russia), Jerome Lowenthal (USA).
Enlightenment as the guiding idea of Dusan Trbojevic, was extremely advanced for the 60s of the last century, and it is still used today in the greatest world music institutions. Rapproaching classical music to the audience was the purpose of numerous educational manifestations that followed the main festival program: master-classes, artists visits to grammar schools and high-schools, where by presenting the repertoire and the ways of listening to the music, they prepared students for the evening concerts. Diverse approaches to classical music and the authority of Dusan Trbojevic made Sombor, in those years at end of April, a center of musical scene in the three regions: Serbia, Croatia and Hungary. In those days, Sombor had its own philharmonic orchestra that actively participated in the festival’s program.
Unfortunately, as all manifestations that rely too much on the enthusiasm of an individual, Sombor Musical Festival started to lose its splendor once professor Trbojevic, due to his professional, artistic and pedagogical obligations, handed the organization of the Festival to the Music School and the City of Sombor. The festival shut down in the 80s of the last century.
NEW SOMUS IN YEAR 2012
The festival was born again fifty years after its original founding, at the iniative of the pianist Mihajlo Zurkovic and with the help of the Cultural Center of Sombor and the City of Sombor. With five concert nights, in April as before, new SOMUS combined diverse musical styles and concert practices in the context of the contemporary festival trends.
The first renewed festival was opened by the conductor Darinka Matic-Marovic and inaugurated by the pianist Rita Kinka, a student of professor Trbojevic. She performed, among other works, a composition „Echos“ by Vasilije Mokranjac, dedicated to Dusan Trbojevic. Already from that first season, festival showed signs of maturity: besides Rita Kinka performed Stefan Milenkovic, string quartet „Amas“ from Sarajevo, choir and orchestra „Orfelin“ from Novi Sad, choir „Marry Gospel“, chamber-music theater from Novi Sad, which performed the operetta „The Opera Rehearsal“ by Gustav Albert Lortzing.
In the second edition, in 2013, participated Aleksandar Madzar, choirs „Collegium Musicum“ and „Viva Vox“, quintet „Rocher“, italian pianist Moira Michellini and harpist Floraleda Sacchi, as well as Serbian National Theater from Novi Sad, which performed „Carmina Burana“, and Belgrade Youth Philharmonic Orchestra „Borislav Pascan“ . Already at that point, SOMUS turned towards the young artists: the winners of the Belgrade Chopin Festival performed at the series of concerts „Podium for the Young“ . That year the festival opened Ivan Tasovac, director of the Belgrade Philharmonic.
In its third edition, opened by Rambo Amadeus, the festival played host to Sergio Marchegiani (Italy), Kemal Gekic ( USA), Edin Karamazov (BiH), Jazz octet Big Band RTS, spanish piano duet Lama and Cabruja. Starting with that year 2014, SOMUS program includes master class that was then given by piano professor Jokuthon Mihailovic.
SOMUS 2015 was proud to host the well-known artists such as Nemanja Radulovic, Mateja Marinkovic, Mate Bekavac, Albert Mamriev, Lidija Bizjak, Katarina Jovanovic, Ljubisa Jovanovic and also Camerata Academica from Novi Sad and AKUD Lola from Belgrade. SOMUS introduced two new additions : concert series for the very young with „The Carnival of the Animals“ and the evening dedicated to serbian contemporary composers, which that year honoured Ivana Stefanovic.
SOMUS 2016. continues with the novelties introduced last year: a cycle for the youngest with “Peter and the Wolf” and the evening dedicated to Serbian contemporary composers, which last year presented the theater music by Isidora Žebeljan. Somus 2016 opened the door to young pianists from around the world, who had the honor to work with one of the world’s largest educator and pianist Jacques Rouvier at the music school “Petar Konjović” and with whom they performed at the Sombor theater. Somus 2016 opened with the concert of the Belgrade Philharmonic quartet with clarinetist Ognjen Popovic. Other participants included the pianist Joana Treciak, the Camerata Academica Orchestra from Novi Sad with soloists Lidija and Sanja Bizjak and Ratimir Martinovic. The evening of guitar and clarinet with Zoran Krajisnik and Aleksandar Tasic featured the young and talented guitarist Valentina Krempatić from Sombor, and a grand jazz festival finale was a memorable evening with maestro Bojan Z and Julien Lourau.
The seventh edition of SOMUS opened with the recital of the pianist Jacques Rouvier, who himself, unofficially announced it to be his last solo performance. In the continuation of SOMUS 2017, performers included soprano Katarina Jovanović, pianist Dejan Sinadinović, pianist Mihajlo Zurković, cellist Marko Miletić, chamber orchestra “Camerata Academica” from Novi Sad and Polish artist Ana Miernik, Rafal Žurakovski and Maciej Zolotovski.
After a brilliant and very original program with Katarina Jovanovic and Dejan Sinadinovic, two memorable evenings at SOMUS were provided by young artists from Kronberg Academy (Willi Hagen, David Castro-Balbi, Matthias Rosa and Ela van Puke) together with the clarinetist Mate Bekavac and the pianist Lidija Bizjak and raised the Sombor audience to their feet!
In the “Child’s Play” cycle, the youngest listeners had the opportunity to hear the music of Francis Poulenc and together with the actress Milica Janeski, pianists Milica Marković and Danijela Olači, participate in “The Story of the Little Elephant Babar”.
At the concert dedicated to serbian contemporary composers, we presented the role of poetry in the music of Dejan Despić and successfully continued the series “Our Authors” established two years earlier.
Every day during festival, the famous piano professor and pianist Jacques Rouvier held piano masterclasses at the music school “Petar Konjović”.
SOMUS 2017 magnificently closed with the performance of the Symphony Orchestra of the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad and violinist Stefan Milenković in the grandiose building of the Carmelite church.
SOMUS 2018 opened a new concert space by “changing” the hall in Sokolski Dom into an extraordinary concert space for choral music with guest performances of the choir “Dekor” from Ljubljana, which has received unanimously great reviews of the music critics from the Belgrade Radio Second Program.
Certainly one of the most important moments of the festival is the return of legendary Irena Grafenauer to the Serbian scene after many years. Her performance of Mozart’s Quartet in the City Hall will remain one of the lasting memories of our festival.
Mate Bekavac also brought together fantastic musicians (W. Hagen, M.Hickey, G.Kovalev, Z.Shen, S.Canon-Valencia, I.Karizna) and offered a number of musical discoveries to the Sombor audience with works by Schoenberg and Goljiov and an unforgettable performance of The Memory of Florence by Tchaikovsky.
Another evening filled with top-notch modern repertoire was offered by the pianist duo Lidija and Sanja Bizjak together with the percussion duo M.Grubišić-D.Karlečik with the premiere of the composition “Hydra” by Jug K.Marković, the works by A.Kopel and Nebojša J. Živković, Debussy and Ravel, and above all, the monumental Bartok’s sonatas for two pianos and percussions.
Two nights of “off” character were unforgettable for a variety of music gourmets: the first Sombor concert of “The King of Čačak” with the piano improvisation of Marko Marić and the closing of the festival with our most popular piano jazz duo Zulfikarpašić-Hadžimanov.
In addition to the third master class Jacques Rouvier, the pianist night J.Treciak-M.Sobula and the new play for children “Toy Box” at Debussy’;s music, with which SOMUS marked Debussy’s jubilee, along with the unforgettable overall visual design of the festival by our Milan Janić, full concert halls and outstanding critics of the festival in the most important national media that follow the classic scene, SOMUS 2018 has set a level that will oblige us in the future!