12.03. Zvjezdice and Mia Pečnik

W.A.Mozart: Serenata notturna in D major, K239

W.A.Mozart: Piano concerto in A major, No.12, KV414
***

G.B.Pergolesi: Stabat mater, P.77
soloists: Tanja Ruždjak, soprano, Sonja Runje, alt with 
Zvjezdice Girls’ Choir

“Zvjezdice” Girls’ Choir is one of the most representative music ensembles in Zagreb and Croatia. It was founded in 1985 and forms part of the Youth Music Centre in Zagreb. The members of the choir are all outstanding students of primary and secondary schools in Zagreb.

In three decades of its existence, the choir has developed a strong cooperation with the most prominent Croatian ensembles and performers, as well as with many conductors – from both Croatia and abroad.

Let us mention some of the best-known projects the choir has participated in: the performance of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in cooperation with Zagreb soloists and magnificent Croatian artists such as Ruža Pospiš Baldani and Dunja Vejzović, Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 8 by G. Mahler, cantata Carmina Burana by C. Orff, concert performance of Wagner’s Parsifal and Zajc’s Mislav, concert performance of Boito’s Mefistopheles, oratorio The Translation of St. Domnio by J. Bajamonti, scenic oratorio The Representation of the Soul and the Body by E. de Cavalieri, music melodrama Persephone by I. Stravinsky, appearances in operas Carmen by G. Bizet, Fire by B. Bersa, Werther by J. Massenet, The Child and the Magic Spells by M. Ravel, Pagliacciby R. Leoncavallo, Mirjana by J. Mandić,La boheme by G.Puccini,Postolar from Delft by Blagoje Bersa, Hansel und Gretel by E. Humperdinck, Tosca by G.Puccini the War Requiem by Benjamin Britten, oratorioJean d’Arc au Bucher (Joan of Arc at the Stake) by A. Honegger, oratorio Fidelissima advocata Croatiae by J. Magdić, Messe in G major by F. Schubert, concert performance of the opera Hansel and Gretel by E. Humperdinck, Missa apostolica by G. Wirth, etc.

The choir has performed alongside the Zagreb Soloists, the Symphony Orchestra of the Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT), the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the Croatian Chamber Orchestra, the Zagreb Wind Trio, the Windstrings string orchestra, the Opera Orchestra of the Croatian National Theatre (HNK), the Croatian Army Symphony Wind Orchestra, the Tamburica Orchestra of the HRT, etc.

Furthermore, the choir has performed under the direction of many renowned conductors such as V.Gergiev, S.N.Mariner, P. Dešpalj, K. Ono, M. Horvat, N. Bareza, M. Belamarić, R.F. de Burgos, A. Rahbari, F. Shipway, V. Kranjčević, U.Lajovic, S.Dinić, I.Lipanović, M. Tarbuk, M. Bašić, I. Kuljerić, P. Gotovac, M. Prohaska, I.Repušić, S. Britvić, T.Bilić, I.Skender, B.Šipuš, Z. Juranić, A. Bjelinski, J. Šego, etc.

The choir’s wide range of activities inside Croatia also includes a cappella performances at the International Children’s Festival in Šibenik (1990) and Dubrovnik Summer Festival (2000). The “Zvjezdice” choir filled the audience with enthusiasm in Norway, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Russia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc.

In a series of its notable international appearances, two United States tours deserve special mention. First came the highly successful tour in 2003 (New York, Pittsburgh, Dayton, Northern Kentucky), when the choir received a major acknowledgement – with December 12 being declared the “Zvjezdice” Day in New York and December 19 the “Zvjezdice” Day in Dayton. The other equally successful tour took place respectively in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York in 2004, and included the concert in the Church of the Holy Family at the United Nations Chapel in New York under the high patronage of Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the UN. In 2006, the tour to Australia and Malaysia (Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur) followed, and the tour to Canada took place in 2008.

More recent international successes of the “Zvjezdice” include the concert at New York’s Lincoln center in 2010, as well as the concert held on Europe Day in the Milan cathedral, the participation in Croatia-Slovenia project The Symphony of a Thousand by Gustav Mahler in 2011, the tour to Saint Petersburg in 2012 and the participation in the War Requiem in 2013.

Many works by the leading Croatian composers have been dedicated to the “Zvjezdice” choir, most notably The Four Seasons by Davorin Kempf, Orion, Venus, Andromeda by Milko Kelemen and Djevojačke vede (Maiden Vedas) by Ivo Josipović.

The “Zvjezdice” choir has received many national and international awards and some of the most notable are: two awards for best performance at the International Choir Festival in Llangollen, North Wales (the International Musical Eisteddfod), the outstanding performance awards at the Sligo Choir Festival, Ireland and Stavanger, Norway, the award for the best performance of a contemporary composition at the International Youth Choir Festival Celje. Along with Dunja Vejzović, Ruža Pospiš-Baldani and Zagreb soloists, the choir received the Ivan Lukačić Award for performing Stabat Mater by G. B. Pergolesi at the Varaždin Baroque Evenings in 1991.

The choir has an impressive discography list, consisting of several hundreds of recordings, a series of independent releases such as the CD Ave Mundi Gloria, a double CD titled the Zvjezdice jubilee (released for the choir’s 15th anniversary), DVDs released respectively on the occasion of the 20th and 25th anniversary, CD: the Zvjezdice 20 years with Croatian composers, and Christmas editions produced in cooperation with the Zagreb Soloists, the Zagreb Wind Trio, the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and the Croatian Army Orchestra. The CD titled “The Greatest Christmas Hits” created in cooperation with the Zagreb Soloists and Jacques Houdekis the award winner of the Croatian discography awards Porin for the year 2010.

Since the very beginning to date the choir’s artistic leader has been maestro Zdravko Šljivac to whom it owes its success and acclaim.