Since its founding in 1961, the Music Biennale Zagreb has been a place where trends and innovations in contemporary music have been presented and mixed. In this way, our composers have had the opportunity to follow the latest global trends, but also to take an active part in them: the Festival served as a stepping stone of sorts for them. The MBZ selectors have always been passionate about representing national music and have taken great care to equally include the pieces by national composers in the program, so that they are interpreted by national and foreign musicians.
Twenty three premieres
That tradition has continued to this very day. The Festival, which celebrates its 60th anniversary, will present up to 39 works by Croatian composers of contemporary music of all generations, while 23 pieces by national authors will be presented for the first time.
In its jubilee, 31st edition, the Music Biennale Zagreb will pay a special tribute to its founder, the great composer, writer and teacher Milko Kelemen (1924–2018) by performing four of his compositions. The first, the anthological Concertante Improvisations (1955), will be performed during the opening ceremony by the Zagreb Soloists. As part of the pre-Biennale program, the exhibition devoted to Kelemen – Kelemen’s Salutation to the World by Srđan Đuričić and Elvira Grbac – will also take place.
We will also hear pieces by composers who are no longer with us, but whose work is deeply imbedded in the fabric of the MBZ. Milo Cipra (1906–1985), one of the pioneers of Croatian contemporary music, replaced in the third phase of his composing the national, that is neoclassical, style with more modern music techniques such as dodecaphony and aleatory, paving the way for freer expression of younger generations of composers. 
After studying under Pierre Schaeffer, Croatian-French composer Ivo Malec (1925–2019) became one of the most important members of the Groupe des recherches musicales and one of the leading European authors of contemporary music. Stanko Horvat (1930–2006) developed a very individual musical expression in which contemporary musical trends were attributed an almost romantic atmosphere. Željko Brkanović (1937–2018) composed music that was contemporary in structure, although formally founded on tradition, without avoiding the musical archaisms. In his pieces, Igor Kuljerić (1938–2006) reinterpreted folk material and heritage in contemporary musical expression, but was also interested in the possibilities offered by improvisation. In his very personal, almost introverted opus, Marko Ruždjak (1946–2012) showed exceptional poetics and a tendency towards static nature and silence. 
The living authors do not need to be presented in a special way, for they will do so themselves. Silvio Foretić, Ruben Radica, Frano Parać, Sanda Majurec, Krešimir Seletković, Mirela Ivičević, Antun Tomislav Šaban, Davor Branimir Vincze, Ivana Kiš, Tomislav Fačini and Davor Bobić will present their older pieces. 
The following is a list of works by Croatian composers that will be presented for the first time at the 31st MBZ:
Bojan Gagić: Two Seconds
Ivan Josip Skender: Introductory Fanfare
Krešimir Klarić – Lovro Stipčević: Any Search For the Meaning Is....
Ana Horvat – Iva Ćurić: Keep Calm and Fidget On, interactive sound installation
Gordan Tudor: concerto scosso
Ivana Kuljerić Bilić: Scarlet Woman Looking to the Left
Alen and Nenad Sinkauz: Sinking Toilet Water Level
Davorin Kempf: Sanctificetur nomen Tuum
Marko Slaviček: Metamórphōsis III
Helena Skljarov: Solo, for ensemble, conductor and chess 
Frano Đurović: Concerto for piano and electronics
Tena Ivana Borić: Toy Story
Višeslav Laboš: A-plauzibilno, installation
Ivan Violić: GD for Paetzold flute and electronics
Ivana Kiš: Jedan/One
Dubravko Detoni: Miniatures, for piccolo
Maja Rivić: Dwelling in Time
Tihomir Ranogajec: Dance of Madness
Matko Brekalo: Gaul
Mladen Tarbuk: To A. C.
Boris Jakopović: Alliages II
Marko Markuš: Traumtagebuch
Berislav Šipuš: The Final termezzo