The last Biennale day: Croatian composers in Lauba

Ivan Končić (Dubrovnik, 1988)

Ivan Končić (Dubrovnik, 1988)

After elementary and high-school music education at the Luka Sorkočević Art School in Dubrovnik, he enrolled at the Music Academy in Zagreb from which he graduated in classical composition in the class of Željko Brkanović in 2013 (the symphony Elements premiered by the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014).

As a student, he participated in student projects “Fus nota” and “HR project” with his String Quintet and Impression for percussion and strings. Other significant performances include Stream, a composition for string orchestra dedicated to the Zagreb Youth Chamber Orchestra performed at the Music Paths in the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall in 2011. At the same event, the Music Paths quintet premiered his Fantastic Suite in 2014. Both compositions are regularly performed by these ensembles.

At the Franz Josef Reinl Stiftung international composers’ competition in 2011 he won the third prize for the composition Varied Motifs (the first prize was not awarded) for string quartet and performed by the Munich Arcis Ensemble in Gasteig.

He received the Dean of the Music Academy award for this exceptional accomplishment in 2010/2011. In 2012/2013, he received the Rector’s Award for the score The Raven – his diploma composition.

He was a composer for The Misunderstanding by Albert Camus directed by Dario Harjaček at the Marin Držić Theatre in Dubrovnik.

Some of the recent pieces include Cognition for voice and chamber orchestra, In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming and The randomness of the wind. He received the scholarship for young composers by the Rudolf and Margita Matz Foundation in 2012. He is a professor of music theory at the Brkanović Music School and an assistant at the Music Academy in Zagreb. His music was performed in Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Osor, Split, Opatija, Novi Sad, Ljubljana, Munich, Milan etc.

Tomislav Oliver (Zagreb, 1987)

Tomislav Oliver (Zagreb, 1987)

He graduated in musicology (in 2009), and then in composition (2011), under Professor Marko Ruždjak, from the Music Academy in Zagreb.

He was a Rotary Club Zagreb scholar and in 2010 he received financial support from the Croatian Composers’ Society “Rudolf and Margita Matz” Foundation for young composers. In 2011, his composition Obsidienne for chamber ensemble earned him the University of Zagreb’s Rector’s Award and in 2012 also the Stjepan Šulek Awardof the Croatian Composers’ Society.

In 2015, he received the Josip Štolcer Slavenski Award of the city of Čakovec for his dance suite for chamber ensemble Complex Poetry (In’ei Raisan). He has written compositions for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, instruments with electronics and for symphony orchestra.

He attended workshops at the International Summer Academy Prague–Vienna–Budapest held by Nigel Osborne and Michael Wendeberg (where he won an award for his composition III: Dancers to a Discordant System) as well as a composers seminar International Week in Ljubljana held by Klaus Ager and Gyula Fekete.

From 2011 he works as an assistant at the Department of Composition and Music Theory of the University of Zagreb’s Music Academy.

In 2015, he enrolled in postgraduate studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg in the class of Stephan Winkler.

Davor Branimir Vincze (Zagreb, 1983)

Davor Branimir Vincze (Zagreb, 1983)

He earned a degree in composing in Graz and Stuttgart and afterwards completed a one-year program for electronic composition at IRCAM in Paris.

His pieces were performed by many renown ensembles, such as Klangforum Wien, JACK Quartet, Neue Vocalsolisten, Ictus, Talea, Ensemble Modern, ensemble recherché, Ensemble InterContemporain, Slovenian Philharmonic Contrabass Quartet and many others at festivals such as Darmstadt, Impuls, Présences, MATA, Manifeste, MBZ etc. He won numerous awards and fellowships, including the Alain Louvier Prize (Boulogne-Billancourt Contemporary Music Composition Competition) and the ‘pre-art’ competition for young composers in Switzerland.

Apart from pieces for chamber ensembles, ensembles and electronic orchestras, he also created installations and works he personally performs.

At the moment, he is studying composition at Stanford University under Brian Ferneyhough and conducting under Paul Phillips. He is preparing a new piece for No Borders Orchestra that will be performed during their summer tour and recorded under the prestigious Universal Music label. This year, Davor has been chosen for academic exchange with Chicago University, where he lives and works. His pieces are published by Maison ONA in Paris.

Silvio Foretić (Split, 1940)

Silvio Foretić (Split, 1940)

Born into a family of an opera tenor, Foretić spent the childhood in Sarajevo and Osijek.

After his first attempts in composing, he enrolled in the Music Academy Zagreb in 1959 to study composition under Milko Kelemen. During his studies, he worked as a journalist, orchestral musician, ballet and opera rehearsal pianist, opera conductor, full-time pianist and conductor at the Satirical Theatre Jazavac (today: Kerempuh).

In 1963, he founded the Ensemble for Contemporary Music, whose provocative and political activities were often scandalous.

In 1966, he moved to Cologne to study composition at the Cologne University of Music under Professor Bernd Alois Zimmerman and electronic music under Herbert Eimert. He received his master’s degree under Karlheinz Stockhausen and assisted Mauricio Kagel.

From 1974 to 2006 he taught at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen and Duisburg. There he founded the Fin de siècle – Fin de millénaire Ensemble in 1983, which performed around 50 concerts of contemporary music during the twelve-year period. He is one of the founders and a long-time president of the Croatian Cultural Society Colona Croatica in Cologne. For several years, he presided the Cologne Society for New Music.

He is active as a composer, text author and performer (conductor, pianist, and singer) mostly of his own pieces.

Davorin Kempf (Virje, 1947)

Davorin Kempf (Virje, 1947)

He graduated in composition in 1973 (Stjepan Šulek), piano and conducting from the Zagreb Music Academy. He continued his studies in composition (as a DAAD scholarship holder) at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Stuttgart (Milko Kelemen, Erhard Karkoschka) from 1975 to 1976, and at the Musikhochschule Köln (Mauricio Kagel, Joachim Blume, Hans - Ulrich Humpert) from 1976 to 1977. He obtained his MA in composition/music from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA (Fulbright scholarship) in 1990 (Donald Martin Jenni, Kenneth Gaburo). He received a PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Philosophie und Geisteswissenschaften (Albrecht Riethmüller) in 2006.

He was a professor at the Department of Composition and Music Theory of the Zagreb Music Academy, where he worked as a full professor from 1995 until his retirement in 2017. He was the Artistic Director of the Požega Organ Evenings (1996-2004), the first composer-in-residence of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra (2012-2014), the President of the Jury of the Croatian New Note International Composing Competition in 2013 and 2014.

His compositions have been performed at concerts and music festivals in Croatia and abroad (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Serbia, France, England, Belgium, USA, Mexico, Japan, Russia, Ireland etc.) and have been played on various radio and TV programs. Awards (selection): annual Josip Štolcer Slavenski Award (1986), two annual Vladimir Nazor Awards (1986 and 2012), Porin Lifetime Achievement Award (2016), Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Award (2016), Lifetime Achievement Award of the City of Požega (2017); International Award of Recognition of the American Biographical Institute (1991). He has been a full member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts since 2018.

Antun Tomislav Šaban (Zagreb, 1971)

Antun Tomislav Šaban (Zagreb, 1971)

He is a composer of classical and jazz music whose works were performed by leading orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists in his home country, as well as in numerous European countries, Australia, and the USA. He is also a conductor and a music producer in various musical setups on concert stages and in recording studios. He publishes his works as sheet music, sound and video recordings through his family-owned company Fonart.

Tomislav studied music in his native Zagreb, in Miami (USA) and Vienna (Austria), where he obtained a Master’s Degree in classical composition in 1998. He was awarded several prizes for his symphonic and jazz compositions, as well as for his activities in the recording industry. His transcription of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for two pianos was released on a CD by EMI Classic in 2001 and rated among the bestselling classical albums in several European countries.

He has been the Secretary General of the Croatian Composers’ Society (HDS) since 2001. Between 2000 and 2013 he worked as the artistic director of HDS’s jazz projects, producing around 200 concerts with musicians ranging from jazz legends to emerging artists and crossover projects.

He is one of the founding members of the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA). In 2013 and 2016 he was elected Vice-President of the ECSA and the chairman of its committee for classical/arts music. He is also active in the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and has been a member of the Executive Committee of its International Council of Music Authors (CIAM) since 2007.