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Breakthrough: Orchestras take lead in ex-Yugoslav peace bid

Last night, for the first time in 30 years of Serb-Croat conflict, the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra played in Belgrade, capital of Serbia. Later this week, the Belgrade Philharmonic will play in Zagreb and Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia. The Slovene Philharmonic has already done the tour.

The initiative has been quietly put together by the three orchestral managers, Damjan Damjanovic, Miljenko Puljic and Ivan Tasovac.  The first exchange concert last night was rapturously received. The series is titled Točka, tačka, pika, which means full stop, period, in the three languages.

Music is beginning to heal the wounds that politics made. The international community needs to give this initiative maximum support.

Here is an account in Croatian (let Google translate).

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  1. I have played twice with Sarajevo Philharmonic, last time in 1991, right before the war broke out. My close friend Alex Baev was a concertmaster of this orchestra then. Today he plays in the RSO Holland. He was lucky to get of there. But many of our fellow musicians lost their lives in Sarajevo.

  2. Rosana Martins says:

    Let us hope that Music is indeed an universal language, helping to heal a painful past!

  3. dennis marks says:

    Yes but whern will Serbs and Croats play together with Bosnians?

    • Branimir says:

      All three philharmonic orchestras’ (Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade) directors had a meeting in Sarajevo a year ago with the local gvt and cultural institutions representatives. I believe it will happen soon. It’s only the matter of logistic. I’m afraid that Sarajevo Philharmonic Orhestra is still not able to match the seasons in Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade, not so much because of the lower quality of the orchestra, but because of much lower budget. Otherwise, there are many other ways of cultural exchange going on for years in all directions in the whole region. The concert reported above was important, but it has to be noted that the cultural exchange and flow of the artists and projects so far became very regular and completely normal in the whole region.
      The concerts of the philharmonic orchestras came on the top and are very important because of the higher profile and symbolic value each ensemble has for its city and the country.

  4. Just for the record, the plan for these concerts was sealed last year, when all three above mentioned orchestra managers met in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on the occasion of a concert by the Belgrade Philharmonic in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The concert was conducted by Zubin Mehta and opened the 11th Rachlin and Friends Festival on August 27, 2011. The violinist and founder of the festival, Julian Rachlin, was featured as soloist. In addition, the Croatian soprano Maria Kuhar Sosa and the Serbian baritone Ipca Ramanovic sang (amongst other pieces) “La cidarem la mano” from Don Giovanni – a fitting piece for reconciliatory gestures.

    • Branimir says:

      That’s correct, and fair to be mentioned (it simply fell out because of the limited space for my article in print). Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in Dubrovnik, thanks to Rachlin and Mehta, was really very important and significant ouverture to the “tocka.tacka.pika” concert cycle, although it had been arranged down to all details by that time. Dubrovnik concert as the opening night of Rachlin & Friends festival gave it the best possible media attention.

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