The season welcomes one of the finest East European Chamber Music Ensembles: the Belgrade String Quartet. Founded in 2011 by musicians of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, the Quartet has been performing since then throughout Serbia and Europe especially as part of humanitarian projects. As in previous programmes, the 2015-2016 season’s schedule places as much focus as possible on Chamber Music, thus encouraging the discovery of Classical Music in a more intimate setting; recreating and modernising the European Salon Culture and underlining the immediate access to music it brings.
As part of this, the Belgrade String Quartet will be performing Beethoven’s emotional String Quartet No.10, written in 1809 under the impression of the Napoleonic wars that had reached Vienna in that year and that the composer perceived as a very existential threat to his art. With both gloomy and fantastic elements, the quartet also displays its visionary strength by announcing the human and social changes the new European order is going to bring with it. Written at a much later period, in 1891, Johannes Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B minor, that will be performed in the second part of the concert, nevertheless follows a similar vein as Beethoven’s work, displaying a melancholic mood and relying on erratic and unsteady musical grammar, meandering through different themes: a music of transition, carrying all the complexity and multiplicity chamber music can bring.
Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet No. 10, Op. 74 (Harfen Quartet)
Johannes Brahms: Clarinet Quintet Op. 115, in B minor
Note: All timings are actual start timings. We recommend guests arrive 30 minutes before the beginning of the concert to find their seats. Doors will close at the start time. No access will be granted after the doors have been shut.
Belgrade String Quartet
The musicians of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra Jelena Dragnić, Vladan Lončar, Boris Brezovac and Aleksandar Latković, founded the String Quartet within this orchestra in 2011. By giving concerts throughout Serbia and within the region, the Quartet accomplished its mission to perform chamber music outside the concert halls of the Serbian capital.
In the season 2012/13, the String Quartet gave a memorable performance of a concerto by Edwin Sculhoff with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra and their chief conductor of that time Muhai Tang. In the season 2013/14, the String Quartet and their guests appeared in a cycle of five chamber music concerts named Quartet+1, in the Belgrade Philharmonic Concert Hall. In addition to compositions for the string quartet, this cycle also included quintets with two violas, with clarinet, piano and voice.
Their performance at the Creative Europe Conference and the concert opening the Classic Fest in Pančevo were the highlights in 2014.
In June 2014, in cooperation with clarinettist Ognjen Popović, the Belgrade Philharmonic String Quartet recorded their first compact disc containing compositions by Ludvig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms.
Among their major performances in 2015, the String Quartet highlighted their concert at the Serbian Cultural Centre in Paris, their concert broadcast live from Studio 6 by the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation Digital Channel, their appearance on the European Day celebration in Belgrade, and their performance at the Abu Dhabi Classics Festival, announced for October.
Taking part in humanitarian activities, independently and in terms of the Belgrade Philharmonic social responsibility projects, are an integral part of the Quartet’s actions.
Violinist Jelena Dragnić obtained her Master’s Degree from the Faculty of Music Art in Belgrade, in the class of Prof. Dejan Mihailović. She received advanced training through courses with Christiane Hutcap and Igor Ozim. Also, as a holder of the “Walter Stauffer” Foundation grant, she completed her specialist studies in Cremona, in the class of Salvatore Accardo. Under the artistic leadership of this eminent artist, she performed as member of the Musica da camera Italiana ensemble. Dragnić also worked with violinist Liana Isakadze at the Summer Academy Mozarteum in Salzburg in 2010.
Dragnić is a member of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, taking the position of first violin tutti, as of 2006. She was concert master and long-standing member of the St. George Strings Chamber Orchestra, and also frequently performed as a soloist.
In 2010, Dragnić was invited to take part in the opera and symphony tours of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, at festivals and during concert seasons in Baden-Baden, Luxembourg, Dortmund, Essen, Frankfurt and Paris, conducted by Kent Nagano and Daniel Harding.
Violist Boris Brezovac studied the viola in Zagreb in the class of Prof. Stefano Passagio and in Belgrade in the class of Dejan Mladjenović, where he graduated. He received advanced training in Mannheim, where his mentor was Hideaki Kobayashi and in Hanover, where his mentor was Christian Paul. As soloist and chamber music artist, Brezovac performed throughout Europe in ensembles such as the Camerata Academica Novi Sad, the Hanover and Bellotti string quartets, Balkan Chamber Academy, London Chamber Group, String Quartet THC, Camerata Salzburg and Haimos Music Society. He was the viola section leader in the Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra of Serbia and member of the Symphony Orchestra of NDR in Hanover. He has been a member of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra since 1993, and the viola section leader since 2005.
Aleksandar Latković is the first cellist of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. He played as soloist in his parent orchestra and performs as a member of the Belgrade Philharmonic String Quartet. As a visiting member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, BandArt Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, he performed throughout Europe under the leadership of artists such as Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, Daniel Harding, Gordan Nikolić and Heinz Holliger. He gave recitals and chamber music concerts in concert halls such as the Salle Cortot and the Grand Amphitheatre de la Sorbonne in Paris, Vredenburg in Utrecht, Studio France 3 in Strasbourgh, in Fontainebleau, Val d’Isère, at the BEMUS and Cello Fest. Latković obtained his Master’s Degree in Belgrade, received advanced training in Paris, Brescia and Siena, where his mentors were Ivan Poparić, Sandra Belić, Manfred Stilz and Mario Brunello, as well as violinists Walter Levin and Rainer Schmidt. Latković is cello professor at the Music Academy of Cetinje. He plays on the François Caussin cello, property of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra.
Vladan Lončar, violinist has been a member of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra since 1999. He graduated the violin from the Faculty of Music Art, University of Belgrade, in the class of Prof. Dejan Mihailović and obtained his Master’s Degree from the Chamber Music Department of the same Faculty in the class of Prof. Uroš Pešić. During his University studies, Lončar won the Prize from the Merima Dragutinović Fund, awarded to the best String Department students. He gave many solo concerts and also performed as soloist with the String Masters Chamber Orchestra.
As a member of the Aurora Trio, Lončar received advanced training through many courses, where his mentors were renowned artists such as: violinist Henry Meyer, the Artemis Quartet, the Vogler Quartet and the Aberg Trio. Lončar and the Aurora Trio performed throughout Serbia, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Italy, Norway and Romania. They made recordings for Radio Belgrade and produced a CD in cooperation with the Croatian Broadcasting Corporation. He has been a member of the Belgrade Philharmonic String Quartet since its foundation in 2011, giving together many concerts throughout Serbia and within the region.
Ognjen Popović is a prominent Serbian clarinet player, having concerts in more than 40 countries, with Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, the orchestra of Radio Television Serbia, the string ensemble St. George, the Radio Orchestra of Valencia/Spain, the European Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Munich Music Academy and German Chamber Academy, and others. He is famous for classical music, but also for his performance in jazz, ethno and funk. Beside clarinet, he also plays saxophone and kaval. He won the second prize at the International competition Jeunesses musicales in Belgrade 1997, and the first prize at the Felix Mendelssohn competition in Berlin 1998.
He studied at Hochschule für Musik in Munich in the class of Ulf Rodenhauser, where he finished masterclass in 2001. Since 2002 he holds the position of solo clarinet at the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. Popović is also engaged on the position of docent at the Faculty of Music Art in Belgrade (Serbia), and at Chamber Music Villa Musica Academy in Mainz (Germany). He founded the ensemble Balkan Chamber Academy and the ethno-jazz ensemble Ognjen and Friends, with whom he performed in numerous concerts in previous 10 years in Serbia and abroad. Since 2011, he is the artistic director and founder of the chamber music festival Classic Fest in Pančevo (Serbia).