Celebaration of Slovenian Music

29 March 2018

Slovenian Music Days combines contemporary musical creativity and interpretation, building on the foundations of Slovenia's musical heritage. At the same time it encourages reflection and the search for new routes into music, presents new discoveries, offers exciting alternative views and invites a confrontation of opinions. This year's 33rd Slovenian Music Days runs from 12 to 19 April and hosts numerous acclaimed Slovene artists. This celebration of Slovene music begins with an evening of ballet to mark the 100th anniversary of the opening of the National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Ljubljana, featuring the creations of choreographers who have artistically enriched Slovene ballet in the past. It is followed by a concert/dance event with performers Cortesía and Musica Cubicularis, dedicated to the composer Isaac Posch and the 400th anniversary of the publication of a collection of his dance suites. Thirteen compositions for the piano will receive their premiere performance on Slovene Composers' Night on 14 April, while the following day, on 15 April, the Slovenian Percussion Project will join forces with contemporary music ensemble MD7 to pay homage to composer Milan Stibilj. Pianist Nina Prešiček will perform at Mini Teater for the Concert Atelier of the Slovene Composers' Society on 16 April. The following concert evening, on 17 April, will be dedicated to works by Slavko Osterc. On 18 April, the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Krečič will give the premiere concert performance of Svete's opera Antigone, while on 19 April the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra under Simon Dvoršak and invited soloists will bring Slovenian Music Days to a close. Before the final concert, a commemorative plaque dedicated to the Czech conductor Václav Talich, who appeared with the newly founded Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra in the Union Hall in 1908 and 1912, will be ceremonially unveiled.

Ballet 100

With the premiere performance of a triptych of ballets, dedicated to the centenary of the Ljubljana Opera's professional ballet company, the opening evening aims to shine a spotlight on some of the choreographers who have artistically enriched Slovene ballet in the past. The musicians will be conducted by Marko Gašperšič, a long-serving conductor with the Slovene National Opera and Ballet in Ljubljana, in his last appearance before his retirement.

(12 April at 7.30 p.m., SNG Opera & Ballet Ljubljana)

Isaac Posch and his Contemporaries

(Cortesía and Musica Cubicularis)

While many choreographers take music not originally composed for dance and use it for their creations, a great deal of music has been written over the course of history specifically to be danced to. One example of such "functional music" is the collection Musicalische Ehrenfreudt ("Joyful Musical Festivity") by the early baroque composer Isaac Posch (c. 1591–1622/23), to which Slovenian Music Days is devoting particular attention to mark the 400th anniversary of the collection's first printing.

(13 April at 6.00 p.m., Hribar Hall, Ljubljana Castle)

Slovene Composers' Night

This year a full thirteen compositions for piano will receive their premiere performances at the traditional Slovene Composers' Night organised in conjunction with the Society of Slovene Composers. They are the work of Slovene composers of different generations, profiles, experience, creative views and musical languages.

(14 April at 7.00 p.m., Knights' Hall, Križanke)

Hommage à Milan Stibilj

The fourth concert is devoted to Milan Stibilj (1929–2014), together with Primož Kuret a prime mover behind the founding of the Slovenian Music Days. His name is also linked to this year's jubilee celebrant – the Opera and Ballet of the Slovene National Theatre in Ljubljana – since he spent a decade as a violinist in the opera company orchestra. An evening of percussion will be provided by a unique group of Academy-trained percussionists collectively known as the Slovenian Percussion Project (SToP), who have performed extensively both at home in Slovenia and abroad since the group's founding in 1999. The percussionists will be joined by members of the acclaimed contemporary music ensemble MD7.

(15 April at 7.30 p.m., Slavko Osterc Hall at the Slovenian Philharmonic Hall)

Concert Atelier of the Slovene Composers' Society

Slovenian Music Days offers us the chance to discover the contemporary piano sound and its connection with electronic music, which is rarely heard. This evening of piano music is also part of the Concert Atelier of the Society of Slovene Composers. For the last three years the latter has been under the artistic direction of the internationally recognised composer Nina Šenk (b. 1982). The fundamental principle guiding the selection of substantial compositions for the Concert Atelier has been heightened, under Šenk's leadership, by the concept of interweaving older contemporary Slovene and foreign works with new Slovene works, in order to facilitate a reflection and echo of the contemporary sonorities of recent decades from different areas. The works will be interpreted by the acclaimed pianist Nina Prešiček.

(16 April at 7.30 p.m., Mini Teater)

Slavko Osterc: From the Comic Opera, Quatre pièces symphoniques

On 9 November 2018 precisely 90 years will have passed since the premiere performance at the Ljubljana Opera of the one-act From the Comic Opera by Slavko Osterc (1895–1941), the most advanced Slovene opera ever performed up to that time. The concert programme also includes Osterc's Quatre pièces symphoniques (Four Symphonic Pieces), conceived as a stand-alone cyclical composition in four movements. This symphonic "suite", written in 1939 and first performed the following year, and Osterc's minute opera will be performed by the Maribor Opera, part of the Slovene National Theatre in Maribor, the principal operatic institution in Slovenia alongside the Ljubljana Opera. The orchestra will be conducted by Simon Robinson, for many years the resident conductor of the Slovene National Theatre in Maribor and a regular guest conductor with numerous European symphony orchestras.

(17 April at 7.30 p.m., Old Hall of the Slovene National Theatre, Maribor)

Tomaž Svete: Antigone*

(*Concert performance of the opera)

To mark the centenary of the founding of Ljubljana's opera company, the 33rd Slovenian Music Days will host the premiere performance of the opera Antigone, a work completed in 2014 by Tomaž Svete (b. 1956), the most prominent contemporary Slovene opera composer. The soloists, the chorus (the mixed choir of the Glasbena Matica) and the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Simon Krečič, active in the opera world since 2013 as the artistic director of the Maribor Opera at the Slovene National Theatre Maribor.

(18 April at 7.30 p.m., Marjan Kozina Hall at the Slovenian Philharmonic Hall)

Hommage à Václav Talich

The final concert of the 33rd Slovenian Music Days will honour the memory of the Czech maestro Václav Talich (1883–1961), one of the most important conductors ever to work in Slovenia. Tonight's concert by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra under Simon Dvoršak, a frequent conductor of musical theatre, takes place in the Union Hall, which was the largest concert hall in Ljubljana when Talich was working in Slovenia and where the first Slovenian Philharmonic performed symphonic concerts under Talich's baton.

(19 April 2018, 7.30 pm, Union Hall, Grand Hotel Union)

International Musicology Symposium

This year's International Musicology Symposium will once again be conducted by Dr Jernej Weiss. It will focus on the role of national opera theatres in the 20th and 21st centuries and coincides with the centenary of the opening of the National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Ljubljana. The International Musicological Symposium is an opportunity to disseminate knowledge about Slovene music within the broader European context. A look back at history provides evidence of a rich heritage and, even more, of a creativity that has constantly alternated between tradition and radical approaches.

(16–18 April, Knights' Hall, Križanke)


Exhibition of paintings by Mira Ličen Krmpotić – My Istria: Colourful visions in a gestural style

The presentation of the programme of the 33rd Slovenian Music Days coincides with the opening of an exhibition of works by the Pula-born painter Mira Ličen Krmpotić. The exhibition is curated by Nelida Nemec.

(20 March at 12.00 p.m., Knights' Hall, Križanke)

M. Košir, P. Bedjanič: Valerija Heybal, the forgotten Slovene prima donna

(Presentation of monograph and exhibition)

The book focuses on the artistic journey of the Slovene soprano Valerija Heybal. As well as an exact chronological description of her career, this artistic biography contains notes on all her important colleagues, portraits, a discography, descriptions of opera houses at home and around Europe where she had longer engagements or was a frequent guest, either alone or with opera companies from Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade and Maribor. The book also contains a list of all her performances in operas, concerts and recitals. The exhibition illustrates all the significant events in the life of the famous Kamnik-born soprano.

(17 April, 5.00–6.30 p.m., Glazer Hall, Maribor University Library)

Unveiling of commemorative plaque and opening of exhibition dedicated to Václav Talich

The exhibition reveals some hitherto more or less hidden connections between the Czech lands and Slovenia. Václav Talich was one of the greatest Czech conductors of the twentieth century and had close connections with the principal musical institutions in Slovenia. At the invitation of the Glasbena Matica music society he worked in Ljubljana from 1908 to 1912 and left important traces in the musical life of the country, particularly in institutions such as the Provincial Theatre (today's Opera) and the Slovenian Philharmonic. It was under Talich's direction that the latter performed for the first time under its new name of Slovenska filharmonija, although only for four years.

(19 April 2018, 6.30 pm, Union Hall, Grand Hotel Union)

Thank you for taking the time to discover the Ljubljana Festival programme.