Croatian compositions in South Africa

This year, from November 24 to December 3, the World New Music Days were organized by the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) in three cities of the South African Republic (Johannesburg, Cape Town and Soweto). The 100th anniversary of the first such festival, held in Salzburg in 1923, was especially marked in the program, since then it has changed venues every year, but always gathers the world's elite of contemporary classical music. As more distant locations, from a European point of view, such as China and New Zealand have become established in the past years, it is only logical for Africa to follow a hundred years later. This is the first ISCM festival on the African continent and the third in the southern hemisphere. It was organized by the South African non-profit organization for contemporary music NewMusicSA, led by artistic director Lukas Ligeti, composer and percussionist, son of the famous Hungarian composer György Ligeti, who lives and teaches at the university in Pretoria, South Africa.
 
During ten days, the festival brought together hundreds of composers, performers, and other music professionals from all over the world, for a series of concerts, workshops, conferences, and various multimedia activities. Along with the mentioned anniversary, the focus was, as always, on the creativity of the ISCM members' countries, with a special overview of the live creativity of experimental and innovative music in Africa.
 
Two compositions by young Croatian composers passed the strict international selection of the program. One was selected from among the proposals sent to ISCM by the jury at the Croatian Composers' Society (Berislav Šipuš, Iva Lovrec Štefanović, and Vanja Lisjak), it is the composition MI for piano and electronics by Ana Horvat, and the other was selected from a multitude of individual applications from composers around the world – composition Rush Hour for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion by Tihomir Ranogajec.
 
Ranogajec's Rush Hour was the first on the program; On November 27 at 20:00 at the Keorapetse William Kgositsile Theater at the University of Johannesburg, his composition was performed by the Hungarian ensemble UMZE, whose artistic director is Gregory Vajda. The composer commented on the occasion: "Honestly, I never thought that my music could reach the south of Africa and be performed at the World New Music Days. It is a great thing for Croatian creativity that the two of us, my colleague Ana Horvat and I, had performances of our compositions on a continent where European art music is not primarily in focus. I look forward optimistically and try to create as many new compositions as possible for performance in Croatia and elsewhere. We'll see…”
 
Composition MI for piano and electronics by Ana Horvat was performed at the concert of the Spanish ensemble Vertixa Sonora, on December 2 at 2:30 p.m. at the Youngblood Gallery in Cape Town. Horvat enthusiastically concluded: "The special feature of this year's WNMD program is precisely the symbiosis of European music and African culture. Particularly impressive compositions were those that combined European and African culture and heritage, created for that occasion. I'm certainly glad that my composition came to life in that context and contributed to the merging of those two cultures, I believe successfully, because as I see it, ISCM just singled it out in its announcements as being noted on the program."
 
Congratulations to the authors, with special support to all authors who are considering applying independently to future festival editions.