Festival's history through the MBZ Stories

Festival's history through the MBZ Stories

Thanks to the international festival of contemporary music, the Music Biennale Zagreb, in April of every odd year, our capital is transformed into a cultural center which attracts art lovers and contemporary music lovers from the region and Europe. In 2021, during the festival week from 17 to 25 April, this transformation will take place for the 31st time, 60 years after the very first festival was held in 1961 when it was founded by Croatian composer and avant-garde artist Milko Kelemen. It has been one of the most important Croatian music festivals and one of the oldest contemporary music festivals in the world, and has been led by composers Stanko Horvat, Igor Kuljerić, Ivo Josipović, Berislav Šipuš and Krešimir Seletković.

Since the very beginning, the Music Biennale Zagreb has been a research and creative platform for contemporary art, primarily music, as well as a podium on which the best and most important names of the world scene have been presented during those 60 years. Luciano Berio, John Cage, Peter Maxwell Davies, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luigi Nono, Mauricio Kagel, Witold Lutosławski, Bruno Maderna, Igor Stravinsky – these are just some of the great names presented to the Croatian audience during those six biennale decades.  

On its 60th anniversary, through 20 MBZ Stories, 17 short documentaries about its beginnings, impact, memories, festival secrets and anecdotes (available on the festival’s YouTube channel), the Music Biennale Zagreb will give us a glimpse into some of those first festival editions, guest appearances of great composers and performers, stories of some of the most important national participants and thus provide the opportunity to review and reinterpret the history of one of the most important music events in Croatia.

The MBZ Stories are a conceptual creation of the Festival’s head producer Nina Čalopek, and their authors are the Festival’s permanent associates, musicologists Petra Pavić and Dina Puhovski. The Festival’s female team is led by a renowned Croatian composer Margareta Ferek Petrić, who, as the artistic director of the next two editions of the MBZ, will also define the program of the 2021 Festival and its grand 60th jubilee celebration.