Isidora Žebeljan

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Isidora Žebeljan (Serbian pronunciation: [isidɔ̝̌ːra ʒɛ̝bɛ̝̌ʎaːn]; born 1967) is a Serbian composer, pianist and conductor.

Biography[edit]

Žebeljan was born in Belgrade, Serbia, and drew international attention with her opera Zora D. which was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation from London. It was premièred in Amsterdam in 2003, directed by David Pountney and Nicola Raab. The same production opened the 50th season of the Vienna Chamber Opera in the same year.

After the success of the opera Zora D., which had 22 performances in five European countries in just four years, Zebeljan composed The Song of a Traveller in the Night, for clarinet and string quartet as a commission of the Genesis Foundation for the opening of Bill Viola's exhibition The Passions at the National Gallery in London in 2003 (performed by the members of The Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields). From the Venice Biennale she received a commission in 2004 and wrote The Horses of Saint Mark, an illumination for orchestra, premièred in Venice in the same year. The Genesis Foundation also commissioned her to write the chamber orchestra composition The Minstrel's Dance, which Zebeljan composed for The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and this music was premiered at the Wigmore Hall in London in 2005, and it was conducted by the composer herself. As a commission of the London Brass she wrote The Ghost from the Pumpkin, which was premièred in London in 2006. Than followed the commissions from the Bregenz Festival, for the opera The Marathon, which was performed during this festival in 2008, as well in Vienna and Belgrade, and the one from The International Horn Players Society, for composition for horn and string orchestra, Dance of Wooden Sticks. Commissioned by Dutch Chamber Choir, Isidora Zebeljan wrote in 2008 the composition Latum lalo, for 12 singers. As a commission from University of Kent she wrote Polomka quartet for Brodsky Quartet, which was premiered at Gulbenkian Theatre of University of Kent, Canterbury in 2009. The most recent commission for 2009 was the one from Musiktheater im Revier (Gelsenkirchen, Germany) for a new opera, titled as Simon, the Chosen. The world première of this opera was in June 2009. The artistic committee of ISCM World New Music Days selected her composition The Horses of Saint Mark in the official programme for 2009. Her composition Il Circo was the obligatory piece for the international piano competition Jeunesses Musicales in Belgrade in 2009. John Manger, Managing Director of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields orchestra at that time, said that Isidora Zebeljan has “a genuinely original voice and truly impressive talent. The musicians of the Academy who have worked with her cannot praise her highly enough. Her professionalism and craft are amazing, and her original talent is of the first order”.

Her compositions were performed in the United Kingdom, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Serbia and the United States as well as at many music festivals. The exclusive publisher of her music is Ricordi - Universal.

Zebeljan studied composition at the Belgrade Music Academy with Vlastimir Trajković (a student of Olivier Messiaen) and since 2002 she has held the position of Professor of Composition at the Belgrade Music Academy. She has been highly acclaimed for her music and has won several significant national awards, among them the Stevan Mokranjac National Music Award in 2004. In 2006, she was elected a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Isidora Zebeljan was granted by the Civitella Ranieri Foundation fellowship for 2005. Isidora Zebeljan is also one of the most outstanding Serbian contemporary authors of music for theatre and film. So far, she has composed the music for around 40 theatre productions in all the prominent theatres in Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro. To acknowledge her artistic achievements, Ms Zebeljan has been honored three times with the Sterija Award, the most prestigious Serbian annual prize for theatre. The Yustat Biennale of Theatre Design also awarded her four times as best composer of theatre music. She has worked on several film scores, including the orchestration of Goran Bregović's music from The Time of the Gypsies, Arizona Dream, Underground (all directed by Emir Kusturica), Queen Margot (directed by Patrice Chéreau) and The Serpent’s Kiss (directed by P. Rousselot).

Reception[edit]

Describing Žebeljan's music, David Pountney wrote:

"When I was trawling through the entries for the Genesis Opera Prizes 1, amidst an absolute welter of indistinguishable representatives of what one might call 'academic modernism', Isidora Zebeljan's music struck me immediately as something original, fresh, and above all emotionally expressive - a rare commodity, but an essential one for interesting theatrical story telling." (From the booklet for the opening of the 50th season of the Vienna Chamber Opera.)

Works[edit]

  • Hero's Miseries, for mixed choir, 1985
  • Suite for Piano, 1985
  • Songs Cycle to the Verses of Miloš Crnjanski, for baritone and piano, 1986
  • Sonata, for Violin and Piano, 1986
  • Glory, for 42 female vocals, 1987
  • Deserted Village, Elegy for string orchestra, 1987
  • Umbra, for piano, 1987
  • Pep It Up, Fantasy for soprano, piano, percussion and string quintet, 1988
  • A Song for Baron Münchausen, for multiplayer, 1989
  • A Yawl on the Danube, Scene for soprano, piano, percussion and string quartet, 1990
  • Escenas picaras - sinfonia in tre movimenti, for symphony orchestra, 1990/2
  • Il circo, sketch for piano, 1993
  • Choral, for three voices and double bass, 1994
  • Girotondo, for alto saxophone, piano, double bass and darbucca, 1994
  • Three Pieces, for guitar Solo, 1998
  • Four Old Serbian Songs, for soprano and string orchestra 1999
  • Rukoveti, five songs for soprano and orchestra (or piano), 1998/2000
  • Sarabande, for flute, soprano and piano, 2001
  • Sarabande, for English horn, violin and piano, 2002
  • Three Goat’s Ears, suite for oboe, violin and piano, 2002
  • The Miracle in Shargan, Song for oboe solo, 2002
  • Girotondo, for oboe, piano, double bass and percussion, 2003
  • Zora D, opera in one act, 2003
  • Song of a Traveller in the Night, for clarinet and string quartet, 2003
  • The Miracle in Shargan, Duet for oboe and violin, 2003
  • The Horses of Saint Mark, Illumination for Orchestra, 2004
  • The Minstrel’s Dance, for chamber orchestra, 2005
  • The Ghost from the Pumpkin, for brass quintet, 2006
  • The New Songs of Lada, for soprano and string orchestra, 2006
  • Dark Velvet, for piano, 2006
  • Sarabande, for alt flute, viola and harp, 2007
  • The Miracle in Shargan, for oboe and piano, 2007
  • The Marathon (Eine Marathon Familie), opera in one act, 2007/8
  • Dance of Wooden Sticks, for horn and string orchestra, 2008
  • Latum lalo, for mixed choir (12 voices), 2008
  • Polomka Quartet, for string quartet, 2009
  • Simon, the Chosen (Simon, der Erwählte), opera in one act, 2009

Theatre music (incidental music)[edit]

  • Dubravka Ugrešić, Life is a Fairy Tale, production of the Student Cultural Centre, Belgrade, 1987, for electronic
  • Dusan Kovačević, The Professional, production of the National Theatre in Šabac, 1989, for electronic
  • Dusan Kovačević, Hilarious Tragedy, production of the National Theatre in Šabac, 1989, for electronic
  • Frank Wedekind, Spring’s Awakening, production of the National Theatre in Kragujevac, 1990, for electronic
  • Agatha Christie, The Mousetrap, production of the Belgrade Drama Theatre, 1995, for violin, alto saxophone and piano
  • Berthold Brecht, A Man Is A Man, production of the Belgrade Drama Theatre, 1996, for violin, alto saxophone, guitar, accordion, piano, drums and double bass
  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Rivals, production of the Belgrade Drama Theatre, 1997, for violin, piano, bassoon and double bass
  • Goran Marković, Speech Impediment, production of the National Theatre in Belgrade, 1997, for trumpet, piano, double bass and drums
  • Arthur Miller, All My Sons, production of the Belgrade Drama Theatre, 1998, for piano and string quartet
  • Jeremy Brack, Oliver Twist, production of the “Boško Buha” Theatre in Belgrade, 1998, for violin, clarinet, E flat clarinet, bass clarinet, piano and double bass
  • Georg Büchner, Leonce and Lena, joint production of the City Theatre Budva Festival and the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, 1998, for soprano voice, flute, oboe, viola, piano, double bass, bells (tubular) and tom-toms
  • Moliere, The School for Women, production of the Montenegro National Theatre, 1998, for male voice, violin, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano and double bass
  • Maksim Gorky, The Philistines, production of the Belgrade Drama Theatre, 1998, for string quartet
  • Ljubivoje Ršumović, Emperor Trayan Had Goat's Ears, production of the “Boško Buha” Theatre in Belgrade, 1999, for female voice, female and mixed choir, pipes, violin, flute, piano, double bass and percussion
  • Mirjana Bobić Mojsilović, Tears Are O.K., production of the National Theatre in Belgrade, 1999, for female voice, alto saxophone, violin, piano and double bass
  • Ivo Andrić / Nebojša Bradić, The Devil's Yard, production of the National Theatre in Kruševac, 1999, for female voice, mixed choir, flute, clarinet, violin, piano and double bass
  • Miodrag Karadžić, You Just Go and We Will Croak and Howl, production of the Belgrade Dramatic Theatre, 1999, for violin, accordion, clarinet, piano and double bass
  • Alexander Dumas / Stevan Koprivica, The Three Musketeers, production of the “Boško Buha” Theatre in Belgrade, 1999, for flute, trumpet, violin, guitar, piano, female voice, double bass and percussion
  • Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard, production of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, 2000, for piano and string quartet
  • Franz Xaver Kroetz, The Impuls, production of the Atelje 212 Theatre in Belgrade, 2000, techno music
  • Radoslav Pavlović, Eleven Weeks, production of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, 2000, techno music
  • Jean-Paul Sartre, Dirty Hands, production of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, 2000, for trumpet, piano, violin, viola and violoncello
  • Vida Ognjenović, Jegor’s Road, production of the City Theatre Budva Festival, Montenegro, 2000, for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, piano and double bass
  • Miroslav Krleža, Leda, production of the “Atelje 212” Theatre in Belgrade, 2001, for violin, soprano and alto saxophone, trumpet, piano, drums and double bass
  • Hugo Betti, The Crime on the Goat Island, production of the City Theatre Budva Festival, Montenegro, 2001, for electronic
  • William Shakespeare, The Tempest, production of the City Theatre Budva Festival, Montenegro, 2001, for flute, clarinet, trumpet, soprano voice, violin, violoncello, double basse, keyboards and percussions
  • Vida Ognjenović, Mileva Einstein, production of the National Theatre in Belgrade, 2001, for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, double bass and piano
  • Ljubomir Simović, The Miracle in Schargan, production of the “Atelje 212” Theatre in Belgrade, 2002, for piano, percussion and chamber orchestra
  • Martin Crimp, Country, production of the National Theatre in Belgrade, 2002, for electronic
  • Slobodan Šnajder, The Bride of the Wind, production of the National Theatre in Belgrade, 2003, for female voice, English horn, violoncello, double bass and keyboards
  • William Sheakspeare, King Lear, production of the “Atelje 212” Theatre in Belgrade, 2005, for prepared piano
  • Biljana Srbljanović, Skakavci, production of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, 2005, for soprano and electronic
  • Peter Shaffer, Amadeus, production of Croatian National Theatre[disambiguation needed] Ivan pl. Zajc, Rijeka, Croatia, 2006, for soprano and harpsichord
  • Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Three Sisters, production of the National Theatre in Belgrade, 2006, for violin and piano
  • Thomas Bernhard, Heldenplatz, production of the “Atelje 212” Theatre in Belgrade, 2006, for string quartet and piano
  • Uglješa Šajtinac, Banat, production of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, 2007, for oboe, English horn, violin, cello and piano

Film music scores[edit]

  • Maria Like You, directed by Mina Stanojević, 1986, for female voice, electric guitar, piano and drums
  • Big Small Graduation, directed by Mina Stanojević, 1990, for female and male voices, electric guitar, piano and drums
  • Don’t Know When or How or Where, documentary directed by Želimir Gvardiol, 1993, for violin, alto saxophone, piano and double bass

Orchestration for musical scores composed by Goran Bregović:

  • Time of the Gypsies, directed by Emir Kusturica, 1988
  • Arizona Dream, directed by Emir Kusturica, 1993
  • Queen Margot, directed by Patrice Chéreau, 1994
  • Underground, directed by Emir Kusturica, 1995
  • The Serpent's Kiss, directed by Philippe Rousselot, 1997

Discography[edit]

  • Anthology of 20th Century Serbian music for strings: Isidora Zebeljan, Deserted Village, 1987
  • Illuminations, Music for Theatre, B92, 2008

References[edit]

External links[edit]