Criticisms and reviews

Criticisms and reviews that testify to our artistic journey: Read what the world says about us.

The audience on their feet

And Sreten Krstić, as concertmaster of the Munich Philharmonic since 1980, was also a soloist with his young colleague Hrvoje Philips in Mozart’s Concertante Symphony in Esdur K. 364, which brought the audience to its feet at the end of the concert. The piece with perhaps the master’s most beautiful Andante movement (in addition to the clarinet concerto, of course) sounded like a flawless recording with the sparkling silky sound of Krstić’s violin and the noble muted colors of Philips’ viola. The concert performance of the soloist and the ensemble was precise and accurate, and the collaboration between the two instruments was bravura and touching. Soon, the 65th anniversary of the Zagreb Soloists, the ensemble that, together with the Zagreb Quartet, put us on the musical map of the world. And remained among the elite interpreters of chamber music.

Jagoda Martinčević, Jutarnji list, December 6, 2018.

High performance level

“The concert program was attractive as a whole and at a high-performance level and will certainly be remembered as one of the highlights in the long history of the Zagreb Soloists ensemble”.

Višnja Požgaj, December 10, 2018,

Echoes of the Zagreb Music Biennale

“The biggest surprise of the Zagreb Music Biennale, which we must highlight, are the ZAGREB SOLISTS”.

Trpimir Matasović, World of Music, May 3, 2017.

An inspired performance

of the 63rd concert season of the Zagreb soloists, guest: Aljoša Jurinić, piano, Croatian Music Institute, March 15, 2017

… The well-known, popular and relaxing three-movement Mozart’s Divertimento in D major, KV 136 was played by the Zagreb soloists fluently, inspired and equally expressively adapting to the selected fast tempos in the framework movements and the slow atmosphere of the middle Adagio.

In the second part of the concert, the Zagreb soloists confirmed in their second independent performance all the qualities of an ensemble in which the playing skills of individuals blend into the harmonious playing of a larger ensemble. For this concert, Sreten Krstić chose Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15 by Bedřich Smetana, the composer’s first significant chamber work from 1855, characterized by the meditative atmosphere of the thematic structure of all three movements, distributed throughout all sections of the strings. By deftly analyzing the melodic and harmonic components (mostly present in the piano part), Sreten Krstić achieved their optimal relationship in the tonal range of string instruments in his treatment.

Above all, the Zagreb soloists were faced with high technical requirements, which all members mastered flawlessly, achieving impressive performance in a wide range of dynamic values, so this concert of the Zagreb soloists showed all the qualities of their chamber musicianship.

Snjezana Miklaušić-Ćeran,, March 15, 2017

Presentation of concerts at the international music festival A tempo

A huge spectrum of quality

(…) with a concert in front of the Podgorica audience, he demonstrated a high professional level and confirmed the epithets that have justifiably followed this famous band for decades. (…) The impeccable cooperation of the performers led by concertmaster Krstić was evident from the very beginning of the first movement, set at a fast pace with expertly interpreted themes and an overall interpretation of Mozart’s style, with inspired dynamic nuances. The interpretation culminated in the final presto, revealing how much musicality, talent, work and discipline necessary to present the poetics of Mozart’s musical language sublimated in words – lightness and simplicity – with sound transparency and energy. Thus, with a stable rhythmic pulsation, rounded melodic phrases and good mutual cooperation, the performers presented themselves in the first composition. (…) In the second part of the concert evening, the Ensemble of Zagreb Soloists interpreted P. I. Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings”, which is often pointed out as a “reflection of the composer’s inner state”. Bearing in mind that the first movement of this (four-movement composition) represents a kind of homage to V. A. Mozart (whom Tchaikovsky called the Christ of music), they rounded off the concert in a very meaningful way. In this regard, the recognizable theme set in the first movement, after the waltz and the elegy, is faithfully interpreted in the finale, which, in a dramaturgical sense, while reminding of the genius of both artists, Mozart and Tchaikovsky, completes the initial musical thought. Stormy applause from the audience elicited the performance of two encore compositions “Allegro” from Mozart’s Concerto and a movement from “Holdberg’s Variations” by E. Grieg, with the interpretation of which the performers, once again, showed a huge range of qualities that make them one of the most renowned ensembles in the region.

Jelena Jovanović Nikolić, Pobeda, 13.04.2017.

K.J., 9. April 9, 2017 - Zagreb soloists at A tempo: See you again soon

“Zagreb soloists, which, along with concertmaster Krstić, consist of violinists Krunoslav Marić, Đana Kahriman, Davor Filips, Ivan Novinc, Ivo Jukić, then Hrvoje Filips and Marko Otmačić on violas, cellists Smiljan Mrčela and Zlatko Rucner, and double bassist Mario Ivelja, with ease, presented the program of the all-night concert, which they opened with Divertimento in D major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The interpretation, which was already at an extremely high level from the first bars, was carefully followed by the audience at the Montenegrin National Theater. This confirmed the success of the artistic ideas that Krstić spoke about”.

I have the impression that the audience clearly likes to hear this ensemble. In any case, it is a great honor for us to come to Podgorica. Here, like anywhere else, we always try to play the best we can, said Sreten Krstić after last night’s fifth concert of this year’s A tempo.

The concertmaster not only of this chamber orchestra but also of the Munich Philharmonic believes that the key to the success of the Zagreb Soloists ensemble, which even today, more than 65 years after its foundation, maintains the extremely high quality of interpretations for which it was recognized from the beginning, does not exist.

– That’s just some of my great experience and great knowledge. But not only mine. Because it’s not worth it even if I know it all, and if I don’t have anyone to share it with and make it. It’s all a matter of mutual work. Each of them individually is very good, they respond to my ideas. We always try to make the concert the best we can. The rest, in principle, is up to me. All that you hear, those artistic ideas, are somehow mine. I just hope that we succeeded in doing so – adds our interlocutor.

The Zagreb soloists, which, along with concertmaster Krstić, consist of violinists Krunoslav Marić, Đana Kahriman, Davor Filips, Ivan Novinc, Ivo Jukić, then Hrvoje Filips and Marko Otmačić on violas, cellists Smiljan Mrčela and Zlatko Rucner, and double bassist Mario Ivelja, performed with ease program of the all-night concert, which opened with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Divertimento in D major. The interpretation, which was already at an extremely high level from the first bars, was carefully followed by the audience at the Montenegrin National Theater. This confirmed the success of the artistic ideas that Krstić spoke about.

They were joined in the first part of the concert by the young Croatian pianist Aljoša Jurinić, in the performance of another Mozart work, the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A major. With his excellent interpretation, he additionally underlined the quality of the Zagreb soloists. In response to long applause from the audience, he performed Frédéric Chopin, giving only a hint of his artistic capabilities and exceptional technique.

The second part of the evening belonged to Serenade for Strings in C major by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, after which the audience saw off the end of the concert with a standing ovation. That’s why they responded with an encore and a double encore. After the part from the third movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto, which had already been performed, they also played the first movement of Edvard Grieg’s Holdberg Suite.

Hrvoje Beban. Hrvatski radio – III. program. Show: Seven days of music

With the very first piece played, the three dance movements Sarabande, Gigue and Badinerie by Arcangelo Corelli, the Zagreb soloists laid a good foundation for their second concert in the 63rd concert season. The dark string sound of the first movement led into the Gigue realized with an energetic gesture, which was then transformed in the Badineri into a harmonious bursting pizzicato of almost the entire ensemble, which accompanied the fast-paced violin melody.

The next composition was a kind of stage for virtuoso soloists; it was Antonio Vivaldi’s concerto for two violins, strings and continuo in A minor from his famous collection L’estro armonico. Concertmaster Sreten Krstić and longtime soloist Krunoslav Marić played the role of soloists. In the slow movement of a lyrical character, a good contrast was achieved, while in the third movement, the hearty and harmonious strokes of the bow again announced the sharp waves of the string sound and once again confirmed the quality of the solo performances of Krstić and Marić. (…) The performance captured attention with a fine string sound, sometimes airy and sharp, and sometimes almost oily, all in accordance with the character of the individual movement. (…)

Then followed a departure from the Italian Baroque with the performance of cellist Smiljan Mrčela as a soloist in Couperin’s suite for cello and strings Pieces en concert. Simultaneously with the arrangement of movements of different characters, Mrčela’s approach to playing was also transformed. We heard such singing, and softly played cantilenas, but also violent passages of unbridled nature. The latter were particularly impressive in the La Tromba movement; and the sonorous, mournfully intoned singing of cello and viola from the penultimate movement of Plainte, in Mrčela’s lived interpretation, in partnership with Hrvoje Philips, is also to be praised. The end of the concert marked the return of the Italian style in Concertina no. 2 in G major of doubtful authorship: Pergolesi/Ricciotti. The short three-movement work was performed with enthusiasm and a good charge from the first to the last measure, which elicited great applause from the audience and two additions: along with a Vivaldi, the anthology Bach’s Air was also played.

Presentation of the concert of the Zagreb soloists at Kolarac, broadcast on the Second Program of Radio Belgrade as part of the "Ars Sonora" show. The concert was presented by Dr. Srđan Teparić

(…) In the performance of the Zagreb soloists, this work acquired symphonic dimensions. The vigorous, energetic performance was so thanks to a well-measured, regular motor rhythm that was not deviated from in the fast movements. On the other hand, the light movement was adorned with distinct singing along with a finely constructed, flickering, chamber sound. These two characteristics of the sound of the ensemble of Zagreb soloists were actually the main characteristics of all the pieces performed at the concert. The performance of works by Krsto Odak, Vera Milanković and Boris Papandopulo was of particular interest to the audience. (…) Joy and enthusiasm are expressed through a wide variety of dynamic means, especially in the finale of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

The piece, which by its atmosphere, airy textural weaves and melodic leads, also points to the world of classicism, is very suitable for showing dazzling virtuosity, and string ensembles are very happy to perform it. In this performance, the ensemble showed a rarely seen strength of symphonic sound, but it made a striking impression in the chamber episodes of the work. Zagreb soloists are an ensemble of great potential and with interpretations of high artistic scope.

Led by Sreten Krstić, they brought the Belgrade audience to their feet and showed what it means to play safely, precisely and with many outstanding interpretive details. Three encores and the feeling of joy that overwhelmed the audience during the concert are the best indicators of everything that was said.

Branka BAN, Zagreb Soloists From Mozart and Bach to Odak and Davor Bobić, December 5, 2016

(…) From Mozart’s Divertimento, a well-known composition, the brilliant performance of the virtuoso first and third movements and the great musical performance of the Serenade for Strings in C- major by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (movements Pezzo in forma di sonatina) and the musically and dynamically developed second movement of Valsa and the sentimental musically designed third movement of Élégia). The Zagreb soloists introduced the visitors to the national performance style through a successful interpretation of Krsto Odak’s Passacaglia for strings in G minor (technically and musically excellent polyphonic variations), in contrast to the composition of Pintarichiana, a freely formed suite by B. Papandopoulos, where the ‘neo-rustic’ form Papandopoulo’s neoclassicism came to the fore in the programmatic contrasts of the Pastorella and Dudaš movements.

Maja Stanetti,, 10. October 10, 2016

The temperamental double bassist Mario Ivelja is well known to the public as a long-time member of the Zagreb Soloists ensemble, as well as from performances in other chamber ensembles or as an irreplaceable soloist in the small concert literature for double bass. (…) Playfully, Mario Ivelja’s evening, ranging from a classical chord to a jazz version, for versatile double bass players, their friends and student players, relatives, connoisseurs and acquaintances, was well deserved, revealing many faces of the instrument, met with hearty applause.

Višnja Požgaj,, 12. June 12, 2016,

the Zagreb soloists were led by the reliable concertmaster and conductor Sreten Krstić, a solid backbone and driver of an above all convincing, musical and engaging performance. All members of the ensemble were up to the task (they are not called soloists for no reason), but in this case, the impressive performances of the cellist Smiljan Mrčela and the two violists Hrvoje Philips and Marko Otmačić should be especially praised.(…)

Višnja Požgaj,, 29. 29 May 2016

At a concert in the well-attended Dverce Palace, Zagreb soloists performed in the composition of Sreten Krstić (concertmaster), Krunoslav Marić, Saki Kodama Bedić, Đana Kahriman, Mislav Pavlin and Ivan Novinc – violins, Hrvoje Philips and Marko Otmačić – violas, Smiljan Mrčela and Zlatko Rucner – cello and Mario Ivelja – double bass. Already in the first movement, the popular three-movement evergreen Suite for Strings (Sarabande – Gigue – Badinerie) by Arcangelo Corelli, the ensemble delighted with confident, compact and experienced musicianship.

Pétra Wauters

We are not surprised that Coppey is considered one of the most subtle cellists in the world of music, and at the head of the chamber ensemble, the Zagreb Soloists is the icing on the cake. The Zagreb soloists are simply magnificent and for many they were a great discovery (…) an opportunity for music lovers to once again discover an ensemble of such quality. Together, with equal ease, they performed works by Mozart, Haydn and Barber, and as an encore by Bartók. In these four compositions, the soloists were able to realize their full potential and show the dynamism of their strings (…) Mozart’s “Divertimento in D major”, a popular and well-known work, seemed as if we were listening to it for the first time. (…) (…)

Snježana Herek, Jutarnji list, 12. December 12, 2015

Among the festival delicacies, we must also include the Zagreb soloists under the direction of concertmaster Sreten Krstić, who enchanted Austrians with their virtuoso musicianship in the Austrian National Library in Vienna’s Hofburg as part of a regular concert subscription.