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Concert Portraits and Remembrance

Commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Jewish Community Belgrade

27. January 2018.

One of the most important part of the Rossi Fest program is a concert Portraits and Remembrance, organized on the occasion of marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day, in the Hall of Jewish Community Belgrade.

The concert was preceded by an Open call for young composers, with the same name, where the works of five young composers - Damjan Jovičin (BIH / SRB), Jug Konstantin Marković (SRB), Tamar Melanie Shalit (ISR), Stefan Naerac (SRB) and Vladica Mikićević (SRB) - were chosen for Rossi Fest 2018 Program.

The program of the Portraits and Remembrance Concert consisted of works contemporary Serbian composers` works, such as Aleksandar Vujić, Aleksandar Simić, and Rafailo Blam, as well as the works of XIX and XX-century European composers, such as Sergei Prokofiev and Louis Lewandowski, which were inspired by or written on Jewish themes.

The concert was organized in cooperation with the following participants: Jewish Chamber Orchestra, Baruch Brothers Choir, Laidslav Mezei (Vcl), Duško Nikolić (Vl), Marko Kovač (Pf), Nikola Đurica (Cl), sopranos - Milena Damnjanović and Mina Gligorić, tenor Roberto Jachini, and conductors - Stefan Zekić, Dijana Cvetković, and Đorđe Perović.

Damjan Jovičin
(1995, Belgrade)

was born in 1995 in Belgrade. He finished his primary and secondary education in Prijedor, and is currently studying Master studies in composition at Faculty of Music in Belgrade in class of prof. Zoran Erić. He received commission from 49. Belgrade Music Festival (2017), as well as first prizes in composition at International student piano competition in Niš (2015), International pianist competition in Smederevo(2016), Festival Isidor Bajić in Novi Sad (2016). He participated international courses and seminars: Time of Music 2017(Finland), Soundmine 2017 (Belgium) Walden Creative Musicians Retreat  2016 (Dublin, New Hampshire, USA) , Days of Vlado S. Milošević (Banja Luka, Republic of Srpska), Showroom of Contemporary Sound 2015 (Zagreb, Croatia), Trstenice Symposium 2015 (Trstenice, Czech Republic) Ruidalsud 2015 ( Novi Sad, Serbia) i BEMUS 2017 (Belgrade, Serbia). He attended master classes held by: Michael Daugherty, Mark Applebaum, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Osnat Netzer, Wim Hendrickx, Renee Favande See, Nicholas DeMaison, Caroline Malonee, Alessio Sabella, Wolfgang Heiniger, Jeff Beer, Ivo Medek and Dimitris Andrikopoulos. Notable performances of Damjan’s compositions were given by : Orchestra of the RTS Serbian Broadcasting Corporation, Hermes ensemble, Choir of the RTS Serbian Broadcasting Corporation, Mivos quartet, Manojlović quartet, Zagreb Flute Ensemble, String Orchestra of Faculty of Music in Belgrade, Belgrade Guitar Duo and numerous soloists. His music is for now performed in USA, Belgium, Finland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

Psalm, for soprano solo (poetry by Paul Celan)

Paul Celan was born in 1920 (Cernăuţi, Romania) as Paul Antschel into a family of German Jews. In 1941, after the German troops had marched into his hometown, he was taken and pressed into labour on building roads. A year later, his parents were sent to internment camp Mikhailovka. His father died of typhus, and his mother was shot after being exhausted by forced labour. This will later become the main motif in his poetry. Celan himself was also imprisoned in the work camp in Tabarest until 1943, when he managed to escape. Celan’s writings gained recognition across Europe in 1952, when he published the poetry collection Poppy and Memory (Mohn und Gedächtnis) that contains  the poem Death Fugue (Todesfuge), and the theme - how to write poetry after Auschwitz - which was together with Adorno’s works discussed a lot in post-war  Germany, emanated from the theme in this Celan’s poem. His wishes moved towards a correspondence / a tie between language and reality, within an individual’s private history, towards remaking the language out of its roots in direction of The same theme is present in Celan’s Psalm, the poem that is being studied at Yad Vashem - The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, and in which the author was initiated, by his own and his people’s painful history, to (re) discover the secret of the Divine. Music of the composition was formed through poetry’s philosophical and emotional  experience.

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Jug Konstantin Marković
(1987, Belgrade)

is a Serbian, Belgrade based composer. He believes in non-cerebral, impulsive, passion driven composing. Jug was born in Belgrade where he graduated at the Faculty of Philosophy and afterwards at the Faculty of Music Art in Belgrade. Apart from his principal teachers Vlastimir Trajković and Zoran Erić, he has been tutored multiple times by the British composer Michael Finnissy. In addition, he had attended masterclasses with renowned composers such as Enno Poppe, Georges Aperghis, Mark Andre, John Corigliano, Fabien Levy, Raphael Cendo, Jorge Sanchez-Chiong. He was a composer in residency at Snape Maltings, UK (supported by ENOA and Aldeburgh Music) in December 2017 where he was tutored by Mr. Finnissy on his piece incidAnces. His music was performed within important music festivals in Europe such as Donaueschinger Musiktage and Festival d'Aix-en- Provence. Marković is the winner of the TENSO young composers award 2017 and winner of the 3rd Anton Matasovsky Composers Competition in Vienna, for his piece Egon (Austria, 2017). He was also awarded the 1st prize at the Hong Kong International Percussion Convention Competition (China, 2016) for piece Hydra, the Special Prize at Busan Maru International Competition (South Korea,   2016) and Josip Slavenski prize (Serbia, 2015) for piece Magistralen. He attended Impuls Academy for Contemporary Music in Graz (2017), the 47th Darmstadt Summer Course, ManiFeste academy (Ircam 2017), TENSO young composers workshop 2017 (The Professional Network of European Chamber Choirs), Britten Pears Young Artists Program (2017) and Music Academy Donaueschingen (2014) and is a frequent participant of residency programs and workshops organized by ENOA (European Network of Opera Academies). His works were performed by ensembles such as: St. George Strings, Latvian Radio Choir, Construction Site New Music Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra of Serbian Broadcasting Corporation.  His current projects include the development of the chamber opera Eurydice in the Underworld, based on the play/short story by Kathy Acker and supported by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Nirvana, for mixed choir

The composition for choir "Nirvana"was composed, based on the text of the same name, written by the great Serbian poet, Vladimir Petković Dis. His poetry and the overall character of his life and work are closely related to the concept of war - tribulation and misery that it brings. The poem "Nirvana" follows the subject of Portrait and Remembrance", unequivocally paying respect to the victims of war.

Stefan Naerac
(1992, Beograd)

studied accordion in elementary and high school of music Dr Vojislav Vučković. He continued his education at Faculty of Music in Belgrade, firstly at Department for Ethnomusicology and later he was enrolled at Composition department in class of professors Zoran Erić and Branka Popović, where he currently pursues the final year of his Bachelor studies. Naerac  also shows his interest in different genres including film music. His classical works are regularly being performed at festivals of the young composers (Koma, Festum), and they are also at the repertoire of numerous solo concerts. His composition for choir, Pepela, is presented as part of the paper Escalator to Parnassus at European University of Cyprus in Nicosia on the congress of musicologists and music theorists Modus, Modi, Modality in September 2017. This paper, written by Vladan Gecin, Vladica Mikićević and Nikola Komatović, studies how the youngest generation of Serbian composers approaches to Byzantine and Ancient Greek heritage.

Pugna interior, for chamber string orchestra

was written in 2017, during Naerac’s third year of Bachelor studies. Its literal translation from Latin language means “the inner combat”, between good and evil, what is a kind of homage to victims of war (evil) in this world. A dualism is evident in musical, formal and dramatic planes of composition. The beginning of this work is calm, what is disturbed by the second theme and rough atmosphere in the middle. Third part brings the conflict of all materials, but this time with the atmosphere from the beginning and plenty lyrical moments. At the end, intrigue and uncertainty dominate. Was good or evil triumphant? Was evil transformed? And finally – are we aware what is good and what is evil?

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Tamar Melani Šalit
(1990, Jerusalem)

is an Israeli  composer currently pursuing her B.Mus. in composition at the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance. Born in Jerusalem, Tamar is a descendant of Holocaust survivors from Germany, Hungary and Poland. Tamar has been writing and performing from a young age, including singing in children choirs and studying voice at the Yellow Submarine Music High School in Jerusalem.  Her chamber, choral, and orchestral music was performed by various ensembles at the Jerusalem Academy, where she studies at the Cross-Disciplinary Composition division. In 2015-2016 Tamar lived in Rio De Janeiro, where she researched the Afro-Brazilian popular culture through folk music and Capoeira, including singing , writing arrangements for concerts,  movement and percussion performances. In 2016 Tamar started studying composition with professor Haim Permont at the JAMD.  Since then, her compositions and arrangements were performed at the Sounds of the Desert festival (Tslilim Ba-Midbar) by Meitar ensemble, at a national conference and workshop of Israeli folk songs at Bar-Ilan University, and at the JAMD's project Composers Following Memories. In addition to her studies at the JAMD, she participated in workshops in Israel, Crete (Hudetzzi), and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Tamar's music is influenced by a wide range of genre including traditional and contemporary western music, Afro-Brazilian, Mediterranean and Israeli popular music.

Porcelaine, for women choir and string quintet
(text: Terezija Wineorska)

is based on my acquaintance with a special and strong lady - Miss Terezia Wineorska. We met at the Jerusalem Academys' project "Composers Following Memories" and the strong connection lasts until today. Terezia told me her life story through photos, maps and histories. Our special relation inspired my writing , and I chose several of her memories from the Holocaust to base on: "...To get porridge in white, clean porcelain dishes. After eating, for so long, things that are barely food, out of broken pieces of dishes that we found in the trash. Upon liberation I felt such happiness. Thankfully, I will never experience such powerful happiness again ­..." "...We, the girls, would go to work outside the camp (in Plaszow). When we returned we would wait for the Nazis to count us before entering the camp. One day in the winter, when we returned, there was heavy rain and the guards didn't want to go out. We waited there, shivering in the cold,lined up for the counting, and the tears mingled with the rain in silence..." "...And there was this song that I made up, and we would sing, the girls: Was it worth it?  To go through this world?  Was it worth it?  To know that violent soldier?  Was it worth it?  Porcelain is dedicated to Terezia, with love.

Vladica Mikićević
(1994, Kragujevac)

studied piano at primary music school Kosta Manojlović and Music Theory Departement at high music school “Mokranjac” in Belgrade. She is currently pursuing the final year ofher Bachelor studies at Department of Composition in Faculty of Music in Belgrade in the class of Prof. TatjanaMiloševićMijanović, as well as the graduate year at Department of Music Pedagogy in the same institution. She participated at numerous national and international competitions, where she obtained numerous prizes, such are two laureates at Composer’s competition for the best piano work (Smederevo 2016 and 2017) as well as three second awards at Competition for comparative piano (Niš 2015, 2016, Novi Sad 2017). Mikićević participated at the Workshop for new music organized by prof. Branka Parlić. She cooperated with professorYinamLeef (who is currently holding the position of Jerusalim academy dean). Her compositions are being performed at numerous festivals and concerts, such are KoMA (Concert of Young Authors, Belgrade 2015, 2016, 2017); FESTUM (Festival of University students of Arts, Belgrade 2014, 2015, 2016); KozArs (Gradiška 2017); Summer Art Academy (Belgrade 2016); Concert at King Petar’s House (Belgrade 2015), “Scent of creation” (Belgrade 2017), etc. Mikićević was alsoa finalist of the international composer’s competition dedicated to Antonin Dvorak for two times (IADCC, Prague 2016, 2017). She was a contributor to paper Escalator to Parnassus, which was presented at the conference Modus-Modi-Modality in Nicosia, Cyprus in September 2017, which researches possible influences of Ancient Greek and Byzantine music on Serbian composers of 20th and 21st century. Mikićević was a years-long member of different choirs, such are Children Choir of Radio Television of Serbia, Academic Choir Lola, Academic Choir Collegium Musicum, etc. She is member of Serbian Composer’s Association.

Pictures of memories from Danube Street Elegie
for solo soprano, violin and piano

takes us back to WWII period, time in which my predecessors lived, to whom the lyrics and music are dedicated. Highlight of composition are sadness and pain for the family lost, warmth of home, careless childless that was destroyed due to war. All of that is kept in my heart, since it was conveyed to me through the word and picture. Final lyrics: I still remember, I recall, I do not forget, and they are with me here, in my living memoryrepresents my wish to have them here and now, while they live on in our memories.

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