ALEKSANDAR MADŽAR, pianist (Serbia)
Aleksandar Madzar was born in Belgrade in 1968. He started playing the piano under the guidance of Gordana Malinovic at the age of six, and later studied in Novi Sad, Belgrade, Moscow and Brussels, with Arbo Valdma, Elisso Virsaladze and Daniel Blumenthal.
He won prizes in Geneva, Leeds, the “Busoni” and “Umberto Micheli” competitions and gave his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Ivan Fischer in 1990. He has since then been performing regularly all over Europe, enjoying a rich and varied career in recital, concertos (with André Previn, Marcello Viotti, Paavo Järvi, Andris Nelsons) and chamber
music, occasionally also touring North and South America, South Africa and the Far East and Australia.
Aleksandar is a frequent guest of the Wigmore Hall in London, the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, the
Brussels “Bozar”, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, as well as the Conservatorio in Milan; the Delft, Lockenhaus, Peasmarsh and Juventus (Cambrai) summer festivals. His regular chamber music partners
include, among others, the Takács Quartet, Anthony Marwood, Nicolas Altstaedt, Vilde Frang, and the
soprano Juliane Banse.
He recently toured Germany, Italy and the Netherlands with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, and
was chosen by Zubin Mehta as soloist for the 60th anniversary of the maestro’s collaboration with the Belgrade Philharmonic.
Aleksandar Madzar teaches at the Royal Flemish Conservatoire in Brussels, and frequently gives
masterclasses in other colleges.
ADRIAN BRENDEL, cellist (United Kingdom)
Creative innovation and musical versatility rank high among the list of attributes cultivated by Adrian Brendel. The cellist, raised in the great central European tradition of music making, has forged strong and lasting partnerships with many fine artists and appeared with them at the world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls. His love for contemporary music arose during his teens when he discovered works by Kurtág, Kagel and Ligeti; it has flourished since with landmark commissions and pioneering collaborations with such diverse composers as Thomas Adès, Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Eötvös and György Kurtág. The breadth of Adrian’s musical passions also encompasses jazz and world music and influenced his decision to join the Nash Ensemble in 2014.
As a tireless champion of new music, Adrian always seeks to include contemporary work in his programmes. He recently concluded a three-year project with Birtwistle that delivered the world premieres of the song cycle Bogenstrich and Trio for violin, cello and piano, works which he has recorded for the ECM label. Other significant world premieres include York Hoeller’s Mouvements for cello and piano and Cello Concerto, the latter presented alongside Zimmermann’s Canto di speranza with the NDR Sinfonieorchester in Hamburg. Born in London in 1976, Adrian studied cello with William Pleeth and soon shared his teacher’s profound attachment to chamber music. He later received lessons from Alexander Baillie and Frans Helmerson in London and Cologne, and participated in masterclasses with Kurtág, Ferenc Rados, members of the Alban Berg Quartet and with his father, Alfred Brendel. A critically acclaimed recording of Beethoven’s cello sonatas with his father is available on Philips.
Adrian’s presence on the international stage is closely bound to his work as a recitalist and chamber musician. His duo partners include Aleksandar Madžar, Imogen Cooper, Till Fellner, Tim Horton, Kit Armstrong and Christian Ihle Hadland, while he also performs regularly with, among others, Henning Kraggerud, Lisa Batiashvili, Lars-Anders Tomter, Andrej Bielow, Katharine Gowers and Alasdair Beatson. As a concerto soloist, he has appeared with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and many orchestras throughout Germany and Eastern Europe. His annual visit to the International Musicians’ Seminar in Prussia Cove, founded by Sándor Végh as a perfect environment for music-making, holds great personal and artistic importance. Until 2017 Adrian was artistic director of the Plush Festival held every summer since 1995 in Dorset. Its programme is devoted to classical and contemporary chamber music, lieder recitals, modern jazz, folk and world music concerts and has featured over 100 contemporary works and 200 leading artists and emerging musicians from around the world. Artists who have performed at Plush include Radu Lupu, Mark Padmore, Paul Lewis, Louis Lortie, Miklos Perenyi, Anthony Marwood and Lawrence Power.
BOJAN ZULFIKARPAŠIĆ, pianist (Serbia/France)
Multiple award-winning pianist Bojan Z (for Zulfikarpasic) was born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia in 1968 and grew up in an environment where music was a widespread, daily activity. Starting classical piano lessons at the age of 5, he found himself in the Belgrade rock scene as a teenager, obtained a scholarship at the age of 18 to study jazz with Clare Fischer in the US, to be awarded ‘Best Young Jazz Musician of Yugoslavia’ a few years later. At the age of 20 he left his hometown and settled in Paris, where he established himself as an inevitable element of the French and European jazz scene.
More than three decades later, he has an impressive record to his name. Apart from being a much sought-after sideman, collaborating with outstanding names like Henri Texier, Michel Portal, Julien Lourau and Karim Ziad, Bojan Z has made ten albums under his own name. Six of them were released on Label Bleu, covering a wide range of styles and formations. The first three, two quartets and his multi- ethnical project “Koreni,” resulted in Z’s status as the pioneer who brought Balkan influences into the world jazz. They were followed by his successful first solo album “Solobsession” and two trio albums on which he collaborated with contemporary jazz greats from the American scene, Ari Hoenig, Nasheet Waits, Scott Colley, Ben Perowsky etc…
His later works have been released on Emarcy/Universal, among which his acclaimed and award winning
second piano solo album entitled “Soul Shelter”, released in February 2012, on which he plays both his
beloved Fazioli piano and the customized crazy Fender Rhodes, also known as ‘xenophone’, that
became one of his trademarks.
Recently Z also has been producing and arranging albums for other musicians, like Michel Portal’s award
winning albums “MP85” and “Bailador” (featuring Jack Dejohnette, Scott Colley and Ambrose Akinmusire) and Bosnian singer Amira Medunjanin’s albums “Amulette”, “Silk&Stone”, “Damar”, “Ascending” and “For Her and Him”, all award winning and ground breaking albums…
Z has a very personal and recognisable sense of style, and sound, both on his instruments and in his music, somehow always escaping classification. He harmoniously blends and twists his colourful and huge musical baggage, ranging from his thorough classical music schooling, through Brazilian music and
The Beatles to Balkan folklore, blues and jazz.
Bojan Z, not afraid to wander off the beaten tracks, always pushing boundaries forward, yet never losing his taste for melody and song form, definitely counts as one of the most remarkably individual
and lasting talents of the world’s jazz scene.
CHAMBER ORCHESTRA “FB BANDA” (Slovenia)
Kamerni orkestar provokativnog naziva “FB banda” sastavljen je od najeminentnijih muzičara Ljubljanske filharmonije, RTV simfoničara i Mariborske opere.
“FB banda je grupa mladih muzičara, koji uz rutinski rad u matičnim orkestrima ipak žele drugačiji kontakt sa muzikom u kome nema sindikata i administrativnih pravila koja guše iskreno i predano bavljenje muzikom. Jedini cilj im je: učiti i davati, biti u međusobnom kontaktu i muzikom dirnuti publiku – sa takvim odnosom interpretirati klasičnu muziku iz drugog ugla, bez uobičajene patine, takozvane ozbiljne muzike. Provetreno sa osmehom i suzama na licu…”
MATE BEKAVAC, clarinetist (Slovenia)
Mate Bekavac is recognised as one of the great clarinetists of his generation, despite of his “commercial shyness”. Wherever he
appears, he is hailed among collegues and critics as the “secret favorite”, a full-blooded musician and a virtuoso who risks and isn’t
spoiled by current fashion tendencies of music industry. A devoted, silent seeker with a special, subtly nuanced sound beyond bright or dark, french or german clarinet stereotype tendencies (he is perhaps the only one who ever gained perfection in both systems), always in favor of musical expression and sincere transmission of written or hidden musical texts.
His repertoire ranges from baroque adaptations, classical, romantic and contemporary clarinet repertoire, as well as jazz and klezmer influenced pieces. He gained his wide international acclaim by his single time performance of his own arrangement of the Carmen Fantasy, which is documented on YouTube.
He was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1977 and received his first musical education with F.Trzan and D.Brlek in native Ljubljana. He continueted his studies at University of Graz with B.Kovacs, then took his MA degree at Salzburg Mozarteum with A.Brandhofer. He also studied in profesional studies program at Juilliard School of Music in New York under C.Neidich and in “cycle de perfectionement” at Paris
Conservatory (CNSM) with Michel Arrignon. He has won the Mozarteum 1992 award, the Eurovision Jury award in Warsaw 1994, Grand prix of the Yamaha competition in Vienna 1994 and competitions in Lisabon (1994), Seville(1995), Belgrade(1997). He was also finalist of YCA competition on New York 1996. He appeared as soloist with chamber orchestras Franz Liszt, Cappela Istropolitana, Camerata Israel, Moscow soloists Salzburg soloists, Munich soloists and Zagreb soloists, Orchester der Philharmonie der Nationen, Saarlandischen Rundfunk, Orchester der Oper in Frankfurt, Symphonie Orchester Basel and all slovenian orchestras.
His special devotion, love and central part of his musical career is chamber music, played with Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Lyn Harrell, Heinz Holliger, Irena Grafenauer, Kuss-Philharmonia Berlin-, Arriaga-, Minguet and Doric string quartets, Elena Baskhirova, Khatia Buniatishvili, Katia Skanavi, Patricia Kopachinskaja, Sol Gabeta, Alina Ibragimova, Frans Helmerson, Nicolas Altstaedt, Claudio Bohorques, Maxim Rysanov, Antoine Tamestit, members of Orchester der Bayerischen Rundfunk, MET-orchestra New York and London Symphony orchestra. He collaborated with conductors M. Jansons, B.Haitink, N.Harnoncourt, K.Masur, Z. Mehta, C.Davies, N.Jaervi, C.Mackerras, C.Hogwood, M.Perahia, I.Perlman. Frequently he is guest at festivals in Lockenhaus, Jerusalem, Les Museiques in Basel, Rheingau Musik Festival, Ludwigsburger Festspiele, Dubrovnik, Lucerne and Munich. As an orchestral musician he played solo clarinet in Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
He tends to enjoy most of his time away from daily tumult in slovenian mountains, studying, researching, developing new insights and ways of musical understanding as well as discovering nature and passionately cooking on open fire for his friends and himself.
MAIREAD HICKEY, violinist (Ireland)
Celebrated Irish violinist Mairéad Hickey is acclaimed for her captivating expression, soaring tone and fearless virtuosity. Her natural ability to communicate sincerely, with beauty and integrity, entrances audiences worldwide.
As a soloist Mairéad has performed with the RTÉ Irish National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Irish National Concert Orchestra, Hessicher Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester, Württembergisches Kammerorchester, Philharmonisches, Staatsorchester Mainz, Kremerata Baltica, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe , Camerata Ireland and with conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach in some of the major halls around the world. Her Carnegie Hall debut was described as ‘…magical, penetrating to the heart and soul of the music.’ (New York Epoch Times)
Mairéad is the concertmaster of the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire.
A passionate chamber musician, Mairéad has performed with Sir András Schiff, Barry Douglas, Tabea Zimmermann, Renaud Capuçon, Mate Bekavac, Irena Grafenauer, Alexander Lonquich, Steven Isserlis, Christian Tetzlaff, Boris Berezovsky, Kirill Gernstein, Paul Neubauer, Andrés Díaz, Pieter Wispelway, Michel Lethiec, Marc Coppey, Dmitry Sitkovetsky and the Vanbrugh Quartet among many others.
Mairéad has been invited to perform at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Westport Festival of Chamber Music, the Clandeboye Music Festival, the Rheingau Festival, Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, Mantova Chamber Music Festival, Grachtenfestival Amsterdam, Rolandseck Festival and Chamber Music Connects the World. Her love of chamber music led her to co-found the Ortús Chamber Music Festival in 2016 in her native Cork, of which she is Artistic Director.
Mairéad was Irish NCH Young Musician of the Year 2010 – 2012. As well as winning prizes at renowned Irish competitions, she won third prize as well as a Special Prize for the best interpretation of a virtuoso work at the 2016 International Louis Spohr Competition and first prize in the Jeunesses Musicales Violin Competition, Romania 2012. In 2017 she was awarded a Special Prize in the Berliner International Music Competition and the Manhattan International Music Competition. She was awarded the André Hoffmann prize at the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad in January 2022 for her interpretation of the world premiere performance of Wolfgang Rhim’s ‘Episode’.
Born in 1996, Mairéad began playing the violin at the age of three with Jyrki Pietila. From 2003 to 2014 she studied with Adrian Petcu at the CIT Cork School of Music, Ireland and spent a year in France studying at the Conservatoire de Nantes with Constantin Serban. In 2020 she graduated with a Masters in Performance from Kronberg Academy where she studied with Mihaela Martin, sponsored by the Hilmar Kopper Stipendium. Mairéad has taken masterclasses and worked intensely with artists such as András Schiff, Rita Wagner, Ferenc Rados, Gidon Kremer, Dora Schwarzberg, Elena Bashkirova, Hugh Maguire, Vadim Repin, Mariana Sirbu, Ana Chumachenco, Vadim Gluzman, Steven Isserlis, Yossi Zivoni, Mauricio Fuks, Gabor Takács-Nagy, Christoph Eschenbach, Marc Danel and Ivry Gitlis among others.
Mairéad also plays traditional Irish music and has won eight world Irish fiddle titles. Mairéad currently plays a 1702 Giovanni Tononi violin.
PER RUNDBERG, pianist (Sweden)
Per RUNDBERG, b. 1971 in Skelleftea, Sweden, studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm with Prof. Staffan Scheja and with Seta Tanyel at the “Yehudi Menuhin School“ in
Stoke d’ Abernon in England. He continues his studies at the „University of Music Mozarteum“ in Salzburg with Prof. Karl – Heinz Kämmerling risulting 1995 in a diploma with honours and he studies as well at the „Ècole Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot“ in Paris, the „Franz Liszt – Akademie“ Budapest, in Rome and with Murray Perahia.
Rundberg frequently gives concerts all over Europe and in the USA and performed at major concert halls such as the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Wien, Konserthuset and Berwaldhallen Stockholm. As a soloist he performed with various orchestras including the Camerata Salzburg with Sir Roger Norrington, the Mozarteum Orchester with Ivor Bolton and Johannes Kalitzke, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Morávska Filharmonie, Czech Republic Filharmonie, dem Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra Finnland and the Umea Symphonyorchestra. He often was invited to perform at major festivals like the Salzburg Festival, Schleswig – Holstein Festival, Feldkirch Festival, Nuovi Spazi Musicali and Festival di Nuova Consonanza and Festival di Pasqua in Rome, Bilbao 2001 and Aspekte Salzburg.
Per Rundberg recorded CDs on various labels like Accent Music, Polymnia Records and KcClassics and performed in several radio and TV – transmissions. His dedication to contemporary music led to many first performances and close work with some of the most prominent composers of our time like Arvo Pärt, Franco Donatoni, Beat Furrer, Giya Kancheli, George Crumb und Klaus Ager.
IVAN JEVTIĆ, composer (Serbia)
Ivan Jevtic was born in Belgrade. He won honours and postgraduate degrees from the Academy of Music in that city in the composition class of Stanojlo Rajičić (1973). He took advanced classes with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory and with Professor Alfred Uhl in Vienna. He has been the laureate of several international composition competitions, and his works have been performed by eminent musicians ( including Maurice André, André Navarra, Gerard Caussé, André Henry, Gene Pokorny, Manfredo Schmiedt, Pascal Gallet, Eric Fritz, Stephen Burns, , Roberto Gatto, Roberto Duarte, Eric Aubier, Radovan Vlatković, Thierry Escaich, , Mira Yevtich, Irena Grafenauer, Xenia Jankovich, Aleksandar Madzar, Marielle Nordman, Svetlana Tirmenstajn, Mladen Djordjević, Bernard Soustrot Bojan Sudjić, Guy Touvron…), all over Europe, in North and South America, Russia, Japan and China. He has sat on several international juries where his compositions have been selected as set pieces ( Paris, Narbonne, Lunéville, Belgrade, Arles and Geneva).
From 1997 to 1999 he taught composition and orchestration at the Federal University of Pelotas (R.S) in Brasil.
Ivan Jevtic composed more than 100 works, notably chamber music, concertante compositions (more than twenty concertos for various instruments) and symphonic works. His compositons have been published in Paris by the famous Editions A. Leduc, G. Billaudot and Chant du Monde, as well as by the Swiss Editions Bim. His music can be heard on over 20 CDs edited in Serbia, France, Germany, Sweden, USA, Japan…
In 2003 he was elected member of the Serbian Academy of the Sciences and Fine arts- SANU in Belgrade.
ZORAN KRAJIŠNIK, guitarist
At the mere age of sixteen, guitarist Zoran Krajisnik (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1968), recorded his first solo LP record for Diskton-Sarajevo. He completed his Master’s Degree at theFaculty of Music, University of Arts in Belgrade under the direction of Professor V. Ogrizovic. Mr. Krajisnik has received advanced training in masterclasses directed by R. Aussel, C. Cotsiolis, D. Russell, L. Ze and M. de Santi. From 1996, he attended the famous “Soloist-Class” of Professor L. Trier at the Royal Music Conservatory in Copenhagen (Denmark).
Mr. Krajisnik has performed in solo recitals as well as with symphonic orchestras throughout Europe (Russia, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Italy, Montenegro,Luxemburg, Denmark, UK, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Croatia, Hungary…) as well as in the USA. He performed at the renowned GuitarArt festival in Belgrade, at festivals NOMUS, KotorArt, Sarajevska zima, and many others. At the Young Artists Festival in Bayreuth, Germany (2002) he performed a solo guitar part from Mahler’s Seventh Symphony. Mr. Krajisnik has recorded several CD’s including a collaboration with flutist Laura Levai Aksin (Alba del Dia), as well as a solo CD Horizons. He is the founder of GuitarFest in Banja Luka, one of the cofounders of Serbian Association of Classical Guitarists and actively performs both as a soloist, with orchestra, and with his duo partner, clarinetist Aleksandar Tasic with whom he released a CD Ben ritmato e deciso.
Mr. Krajisnik has been presented with numerous awards, among them International Competition awards in Volos, Greece (1981, 1986, 1988); Recanati, Italy (1982, 1983, 1984); a special award for the most successful participant in Livorno, Italy (1984); second award in the M. Giuliani competition in Bari, Italy (1990); as well as the second award (the first was not awarded) in the F. Sor competition in Rome (1995).
Mr. Krajisnik is the professor of guitar at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad. In the beginning of the 2012/13 academic year Mr. Krajisnik was appointed as the Dean of the Academy of Arts – University of Novi Sad, Serbia for the mandate period of three years.
LAURA LEVAI AKSIN, flutist (Serbia)
Laura Levai Aksin is a professor of flute at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad and solo flutist of the Vojvodina Symphony Orchestra.
She graduated and received her master’s degree from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad in the class of prof. Marijan Egić. She specialized in Paris in the classes of prof. Patrick Gallois and prof. Claude Lefebvre where she gained “1er prix de superieur” and “1er prix d’exellence à l’unanimité du jury”. She improved her knowledge during numerous master classes held by renowned soloists and pedagogues, such as Aurèle Nicolet, Jacques Castagnet, etc. She was awarded the competition of Music Artists of Yugoslavia in Zagreb. At the 6th
International Tribune of the Composers in Belgrade, she was awarded with the First Prize for the interpretation of contemporary works.
She performed as a soloist with a number of Orchestras in Serbia and abroad. She gave a number of recitals and chamber concerts in Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Portugal, Greece, Israel, Spain.
She performed at numerous prestigious artistic manifestations, Nomus, Bemus, Music Biennale in Zagreb, Yugoslav Tribune of Composers in Opatija, Festivals in Subotica and Sombor, Summer Festivals in Herceg Novi, Budva and Kotor, Flutes Festival in Belgrade and the Belgrade Summer Festival, then in Zagreb (“Europhonija”), Turin (“Sabato Serra”), at festivals in Paris and Avignon, Patras and Afitos (Greece), the Festival of Modern Arts in Berlin, the European Avant-Garde Festival in Leipzig, flute festivals in Bekes (Hungary) and Zagorje ob Sava (Slovenia), Days of New Music in Split, at the Summer Music Academy (YMSA) in Debrecen (Hungary) and at the Croatian Flute Academy in Karlovac.
Laura Levai Aksin is solo flautist of the Vojvodina Symphony Orchestra, and she played in the same position in the Opera Orchestra of the Serbian National Theater and the Ensemble for New Music “Musica viva". During her stay in France she was a member Ensemble “Tickmayer Formatio” and “Theatre Jel” and Orléans Flute Orchestra. She is a member of the chamber trio with Rita Kinka and Marko Josifoski, Trio “Density” and Wind Quintet “Synergia 5”, a duo with guitarist Zoran Krajišnik and the NS Chamber Ensemble.
The publishing houses Recommended Records from London, EOS from Graz, Visio Mundi and SKC from Novi Sad published compact discs with her performances. She has given a large number of master classes and served as a jury member at numerous domestic and international competitions and festivals.
MIHAJLO ZURKOVIĆ, pianist (Serbia)
Mihajlo Zurković was born in Sombor, Serbia where he started playing piano. At the age of 14, being given a full scholarship, he became a student of the “Zero Year” (for outstanding young talents) at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, in the class of Jokuthon Mihailović. He graduated and later obtained a Master’s of Arts degree at the Academy of Arts in the same class. At present, Zurković is on doctoral studying program at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad under Biljana Gorunović mentoring and also employed as a Associate professor for piano.
He won numerous awards at national and international competitions and among them the most important are: Top Prize at the International Competition “Petar Konjović” (Belgrade, 1995), First Prize at the European Piano Competition (Moncalieri – Italy, 1995), Third Prize at the International Competition “Frederic Chopin” (Novi Sad, 1997), Finalist of the Dinu Lipatti Competition (Bucharest – Romania, 2002), First Prize at the International Forum (Kiev – Ukraine, 2009).
He had his first solo concert at the age of 12 and since then he has played over 500 recitals, chamber music concerts and appeared many times as a soloist with different orchestras. His performances have led him round Europe (Italy, France, Romania, Hungary, Russia, France, Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia), China, Japan and USA.
He participated in the project “Operation 40 Fingers” within he had a concert tour in Italy in the concert season 2007/08.
In December 2009, he had debut recitals in prestigious halls of New York : two concerts in Bechstein Concert Hall and a concert in Symphony Space. In March 2010, he proceeded his concert activity with the recitals in Russia, playing in very important halls of St. Petersburg such as: Small Hall of Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, The Great Hall of Mussorgsky College (within the festival dedicated to Frederic Chopin) and in one of the most prestigious halls in St. Petersburg – Sheremetev Castle.
In the concert season 2013/14 he took a part in project of Irish dance company “Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre” playing “Petrushka” and “The Rite of Spring” of I. Stravinsky on festivals in Germany and Ireland .
He has recorded for Swiss Radio, Radio Vaticana, Radio Television of Montenegro, MTV2- Hungarian National Television and Serbian National Television.
In 2009, Zurkovic recorded LIVE CD produced by “Laza Kostic” Cultural Centre (Sombor) and the Academy of Arts (Novi Sad) with pieces by Schubert, Scriabin, Brahms and Chopin.
In 2012, he refounded « SOMUS » music festival in his home town and became its artistic director.
« …For its part, Misha Zurković sported nothing short of amazing piano skills. His is to be considered in all respect a superior talent, unconditionally capable of expressiveness and clarity of the sound and should be considered, without any fear of exaggeration, one of the biggest names in the piano world… »
Alessandro Samsa, Recensioni di musica classica, 2014
« We were overwhelmed with the approach that is at once intimate and extrovert, with an aesthetic palette of finely differentiated tone colors, tumultuous emotions, impeccable virtuosity, and at the same time seemingly simple and easy surrender which musicality was never questioned. Zurkovic’s interpretation captivates from the beginning to the end with its beauty and exciting musical flow, minutely formed details and stylistic persuasiveness. »
Marija Adamov, Dnevnik 2016.
MINA BOŠNJAK, conductor (Serbia)
Mina graduated choral and orchestral conducting at the Faculty of Music, Belgrade University of Arts, in the class of Professor Stanko Sepic. She finished secondary school in Zemun (Kosta Manojlovic Music School) at the piano department. She started her conductor studies at the age of 18. During her university days she worked as conductor and assistant for many choirs, including Academic Artists Association “Lola”, Artists Association “Branko Cvetkovic” and
mixed choir “Odjek” from Zemun. She had numerous performances with “Odjek” both in Serbia and abroad.
In 2016 Mina became a professor of vocational music subjects in Petar Konjovic Music School, as well as the school choir and orchestra conductor. She collaborated with maestro Eraldo Salmieri in 2018, and also worked as an assistant conductor for the opera Carmen at the Operosa Opera Festival in Montenegro. The same year she began her specialization at the European Conducting Academy in Vincenza, where she attended masterclasses of maestro Julius Kalmar (University of Vienna) and Sigmund Thorp (University of Oslo) and collaborated with the Filharmonia Veneta Orchestra (under the mentorship of Romolo Gessi). In 2021/2022 she successfully completed her Master courses with maestro Alexander Polianichko (Russia),
Charles Olivieri-Munroe (Canada) and Uros Lajovic (Slovenia), while working with Macedonian and Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra.
LIDIJA KNAJP, flutist (Serbia)
Lidija acquired her music skills and education in Josip Slavenski Music School in Novi Sad, in
the class of Professor Djurdjica Gudelj. After graduating from Isidor Bajic Secondary School of Music in the class of Radmila Rakin-Martinovic, she enrolled “Hochschule für Musik” in Munich in the class of Klaus Schochow. She graduated in 1994, and in 1997 got her Master’s
degree with distinction under the mentorship of the same professor. She spent the following year specializing at “Mozarteum” in Salzburg with the renowned professor Irena Grafenauer. She also
attended Maestro courses by eminent professors such as: Aurele Nicolet, Peter-Lukas Graf, Paul Meisen, Herbert Kleemeyer and others. She won first prizes as a solo performer at the Federal Competition in Ljubljana (Slovenia) in 1988 and for chamber music in Belgrade in 1990. She won the second prize at the International Carl Maria von Weber Competition in 1992. Lidija made several recordings for RTV and RTS radio and television, as well as recordings for German national television WDR. She gave numerous solo concerts in these cities: Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Ravensburg, Bonn, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Landshut (Germany), Aix-en-Provence, Bandol, Marseille (France), Liège (Belgium), London (UK), Zagreb (Croatia), Novi Sad, Belgrade (Serbia), Denver and Chicago (USA). She has performed as a soloist at Tollwood
Festival in Munich for many years, playing The Magic Flute and The Abduction from the Seraglio by Mozart. Other notable shows include her performances with “Art con Vent” wind quartet, flute quartet “Ladon”, concerts across Europe with pianist Anna Gourari and harpist Silke Aichhorn. Lidija is currently a flute teacher in Petar Konjovic Music School in Sombor.
She obtained a doctor’s degree at The Faculty of Music (University of Arts) in Belgrade in 2018, in the class of Professor Ljubisa Jovanovic. Her doctoral thesis was “Izazovi savremene interpretacije autentičnih kompozicija za flautu J. S. Baha” (“Challenges of contemporary interpretation of authentic flute pieces by J. S. Bach”). She received a Bruno Brun award the same year, for most successful student during final doctoral academic studies in performing arts.
MILICA MAJSTORAC, soprano (Serbia)
Born in Odzaci, Serbia, finished her graduate education and MA studies in solo singing in Novi Sad (Serbia) at the Academy of Arts in the class of Doctor Milica Stojadinovic. Her teaching days began in 2010, when she started working as a vocal coach at the Musical Education Centre “Carpe diem” in Novi Sad. In 2014 she became a teacher of solo singing at Petar Konjovic Music School in Sombor (in a separate class in Odzaci).
Her pedagogical work was highly recognized and led to numerous prizes at the republic and international competitions.
Milica has been a jury member for “Mita Topalovic” International Competition in Pancevo since 2016.
During her studies she was a choir soloist in two choirs (“Sveti Nikolaj”- the choir of The Eparchy of Srem and “Milenko”- a choir from Cerevic). Milica was a member of the choir “Milenko” until maestro Georgije Maksimovic passed away. Since her employment in Music
School in Sombor, she has performed as a soloist in the school choir and orchestra concerts and also had numerous other appearances as a solo artist.
NIKOLA MALIDŽAN, accordionist (Serbia)
He was born in 1986 in Novi Sad. At the age of eight he started playing the accordion in Isidor Bajic Music School in his hometown, where he finished Secondary Music School in 2005 in the class of Professor Goran Penic. After secondary school, he enrolled the Faculty of Philology and
Arts in Kragujevac. After his third year of studies, he got “The Student of the Year” award. The award was given by the Academic Council of Teaching, Science and Art, as he was the best student in his entire department (Department of Music Art). During his final year of studies, he won a scholarship provided by “The Fund for Young Talents” as one of top 1000 students in Serbia. He graduated with top marks in Kragujevac in 2009, in the class of Professor Vojin Vasovic.
Throughout his academic studies, he took part in numerous competitions and festivals, both as a soloist and a member of chamber ensembles, and won many awards. His most notable prizes were: 1 st prize at the International Competition for Accordion and Chamber Ensembles (duet with Aleksandra Lecic- flute) in Moravske Toplice (Slovenia), 1 st prize at the International Accordion Competition in Pula (Croatia) in the category of chamber ensembles (duet with Aleksandra Lecic- flute), “Davorin Jenko” International Competition for Wind Instruments and Chamber Ensembles in Belgrade (duet with Aleksandra Lecic)- Laureates, 1 st prize at the International Accordion Competition in Pula (Croatia) in the category of soloists, 1 st prize at “Zvezdane staze” competition in Kragujevac (Serbia) and 1 st prize at the Republic Competition of Students of Music and Ballet Schools of Serbia in Belgrade (category-accordion).
Seeking higher specialization, Nikola starts studying for his Master’s degree at “Hochschule für Musik” in a German town Würzburg. During his studies in Germany, he was awarded a scholarship funded by the Free State of Bavaria for graduates of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European states (BAYHOST) from Regensburg. He took part in several important projects. The most significant one was a project named “Days of new music” (“Tage den Neuen Musik”) where Nikola performed a piece of Andras Hamary called “Memento”. He also took part in the debut performance of Johannes Grosz’s (young German composer) piece called “Lapaigascaa”.
Nikola ended his Master studies in Würzburg with a grand concert in 2012, when he received top marks (in the class of Professor Stefan Hussong). He attended seminars by numerous eminent professors such as: Jurij Siskin, Mika Vayrynen, Janos Balint (flute, seminar for chamber music), Veli Kujala etc.
He is currently employed as an accordion teacher at Petar Konjovic Music School in Sombor.
MARKO RADOJKOVIĆ, guitarist (Serbia)
Born in Nis in 1994. He finished his primary and secondary music school in Nis, graduated from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad and got his Master’s degree at the Faculty of Music. During his studies, he won numerous awards both in Serbia and abroad. He had his solo concerts in his hometown Nis, Belgrade (at the Italian Cultural Centre and in the Crypt of St. Mark’s Church) and Norway- Mosjøen.
He actively performed in all concerts organized by Petar Konjovic Music School and also received prizes for his pedagogical work with students. Marko’s aim is to specialize in the field of music, not only as a solo and chamber musician, but also as a pedagogue.
He has been experimenting with various music genres. He has been a teacher in Kikinda (Slobodan Malbaski Music School), Sombor (Petar Konjovic Music School) and Nis- since September 2022 (Music School Nis).
ANA ZELIĆ, violoncellist (Serbia)
Born in 2000, she finished her primary and secondary music education in Sombor (Petar Konjovic Music School) in the class of Professor Aleksandra Djuric-Paljenkas. She is currently in year 4 at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad (in the class of Professor Marko Miletic). During her high school years she won prizes in the International String Competitions in Backa Topola and Sremska Mitrovica, as well as awards in the Republic Competition in Belgrade.
She gave an all-night concert with a piano trio in Sulmona (Italy). Ana also took part in a project called “Vivaldijevim tragovima” (“In the footsteps of Vivaldi”) in 2017 and played with Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018. As a member of an orchestra, she played with the Chamber
Orchestra of Kikinda in 2021, took part in the international project of Philharmonic Orchestra called “Za nove mostove” (“For new bridges” in 2022, as well as in the project “Sounds of change” which she demonstrated in Ljubljana (Slovenia). She is a member of the Academy of Arts Orchestra.
PETAR KONJOVIC MUSIC SCHOOL ORCHESTRA
Petar Konjovic Music School Orchestra was introduced in 2001, when a teacher at that time (now late) Tereza Zili assembled a small non-standard orchestra named “Amadeus”. Driven by interesting arrangements, inspired performances, great musicality and spirit, the Orchestra won the hearts of the audience followed by first prizes at the Republic Competition and Festival of Music and Ballet Schools of Serbia.
Since 2010, the Orchestra was conducted by Professor Gregor Zagorc. The orchestra had numerous performances under Gregor’s guidance, best of which was the crown of his labour- 1st prize at the International Orchestra Competition in Neerpelt, Belgium, on 2 May 2011. Gregor currently works in Slovenia, where he guides a highly successful Tamburica Orchestra.
Professor Mina Bosnjak has been running the Orchestra (now known as Petar Konjovic Music School Orchestra) since 2016. The Orchestra consists of best students of primary and secondary music school. Their main task is the organization of concerts for a wide audience. Among the most notable ones were the concerts held in honour of Laza Kostic, twice in Sombor and once in Laza Kostic Grammar School in Novi Sad; and traditional New Year’s concerts, as well as open-air End of Year concerts. The Orchestra is an essential part of all cultural events of the city of Sombor. Their main goal is, on the one hand, to develop highly professional musicians with extensive orchestral experience, but on the other hand to promote classical music and instruments of the orchestra. Quality of their performance is great, in spite of relatively “small” age of some performers and school instruments they use which are mainly in poor condition.
SONJA ŠARIĆ, soprano (Serbia)
Born in Serbia, Sonja Šarić studied with prof.Snežana Stamenković at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Mannheim (Germany). 2021 she was awarded on Eva Marton International Singing Competition with 1st Prize and Audience Award. 2022 she made her debut as Bellini`s Norma at National theatre in Belgrade, also as Verdi`s Aida at the Landestheater Linz and in Serbian National theatre in Novi Sad. 2019 she was awarded with Austrian Music Theatre Prize for Best Junior Singer as Leonora in Verdi`s Il Trovatore at Oper Graz, which she sung later at National Theater Mannheim, Landestheater Linz and HNK Zagreb. Šarić made her debut as Gerhilde in Wagner`s Die Walküre at Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with Radio
Filharmonisch Orkest and maestro Jaap van Zweden in November 2019. In the same year she was awarded with 2 nd Prize, audience award and DECCA Prize at Elizabeth Connell Prize singing competition in Sydney. 2017 Šarić was awarded The Grand Prix and the Gold Medaille of the 40th Maria Callas Singing Competition in Athen. From 2016 to 2019 as a member of the opera studio at Oper Graz, she debuted i.a. as Leonora (Il Trovatore), Contessa Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Madame Cortese (Il viaggio a Reims), Nedda (Pagliacci). 2015 she made her debut as Maria Stuarda in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda at the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava. At the Baden-Baden Easter Festival 2015, she took part in the new production of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier (Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle). 2011 Šaric made
her opera debut as Contessa Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro at E.T.A. Hoffmann Theater Bamberg. Her concert repertoire includes Verdi’s Messa da Requiem Beethoven’s Symphony N° 9, B Minor Mass and Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Šarić took part at Georg Solti Accademia (2019) and Lied Academy of international Music Festival Heidelberger Frühling (2013), followed by recital 2015 in Heidelberg.
STRAHINJA ĐOKIĆ, pianist (Serbia)
Strahinja Djokic is a piano accompanist and an opera singer. He was born in Novi Sad in 1991. where he finished the piano studies in elementary music school Isidor Bajic in the class of Dragana Popovic Maric. He started working as a piano accompanist in the Serbian National theater in season 2011/2012. In year 2014 he finished his studies in opera singing at secondary music school Isidor Bajic in the class of Senka Nedeljkovic.
As a soloist he was a member of Opera studio at National theater in Belgrade from 2013 to 2015, where he is still engaged. Among many awards he has been a winner of Republic competition for young singers (years 2011. and 2013.) in Belgrade. He made а debut at National theater (Belgrade) and Serbian National theater (Novi Sad) as Il Carceriere in opera Tosca in year 2014. At music school Isidor Bajic he was a piano accompanist in 2015/16. From 2016 to 2018 he had a scolarship of fond Raina Kabaivanska at the Institute Vecchi-Tonelli (Corso di tecnica vocale e interpretazione) in Modena (Italy) and had a debut in Bulgaria, at Sofia Opera and Ballet in operas Turandot (Timur, December 2016) and Norma (Oroveso, October 2017). In September 2017 he completed master’s degree at piano department at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad in class of Biljana Gorunovic. He made role debuts in Serbian National theater (Novi Sad) in La bohème (Colline, December 2018) and Il trovatore (Ferrando, January 2019). During 2019 he has been a member of the Accademia del Belcanto – Fondation Paolo Grassi (Martina Franca, Italy). From March 2019 he is working as a piano accompanist in singing department at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad. In December 2019 he won a first prize and the prize for the best bass, at the competition Nikolai Ghiaurov (Modena, Italy). In September 2020 he won an diploma Miroslav Cangalovic for outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2021 he won two competitions Ghena Dimitrova (Pleven, Bulgaria) and Lazar
Jovanovic (Belgrade, Serbia). At the beginning of season 2021/2022 he makes his debut in Aida (Il re, Ramfis). Taking part in the project Cross opera (collaboration between Serbian National theater, Teatro Comunale di Modena and Landesteater Linz) he makes his debut in theaters in Modena (Italy) and Linz (Austria). At the 8th international competition Vera Kovac Vitkai he won Grand prix. In January 2022 he makes his debut as Leporello in Don Giovanni (Belgrade, Serbia) and in June (as part of the project
Buongiorno a casa Pavarotti) as Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore.