The Ensemble of Zagreb Soloists was founded in 1953 as part of Radio Zagreb, under the artistic direction of the famous cellist Antonij Janigro.
During almost seven decades – under the baton of equally famous concertmasters, such as Dragutin Hrdjok, Tonko Ninić, Anđelko Krpan and Borivoj Martinić-Jerčić – the Zagreb soloists reflect the quality of musicianship at an enviable level, which they regularly present on prestigious world concert stages.
Since 2012, the Ensemble has been performing with the famous violinist Sreten Krstić as its concertmaster, and at the same time concertmaster of the Munich Philharmonic.
So far, the Zagreb soloists have held almost 4,000 concerts on all continents, in the world’s largest centers and most famous concert halls such as Musikverein (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Royal Festival Hall (London), Berlin Philharmonic Hall, Tchaikowski Hall (Moscow), Santa Cecilia (Rome), Carnegie Hall (New York), Opera House (Sydney), Victoria Hall (Geneva), Teatro Real (Madrid), Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Versailles, etc.
They were regular guests at the most famous music festivals such as those in Salzburg, Prague, Edinburgh, Berlin, Bergen, Barcelona, Istanbul, Prades Ossiach, Dubrovnik and elsewhere, and many distinguished soloists played with them, for example – Henryk Szeryng, Alfred Brendel, Christian Ferras, Pierre Fournier, Leonard Rose, James Galway, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Aldo Ciccolini, Katia Ricciarelli, Lily Laskine, Zuzana Ružičkova, Mario Brunello, Isabelle Moretti, Guy Touvron, Marc Coppey, Ray Chen and many others.
The Zagreb soloists perform a repertoire that includes baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary music, with special attention focused on the actualization of earlier works, as well as the presentation of younger generations of Croatian composers.
They recorded more than seventy sound carriers for companies such as Vanguard, EMI, ASV, Eurodisc, Melodia, Hispa-vox, Pickwick and Croatia Records. Among the more recent releases, the sound carrier with the works of Ernesto Cordero stands out, which was recorded with prominent soloists – violinist Guillermo Figueroa and guitarist Pepe Romero (Naxos house, 2010), and which was also nominated for the Latin Grammy award. In June 2014, the Ensemble also released a compact disc with the works of Boris Papandopulo, with pianist Oliver Triendl, which delighted both domestic and foreign critics. A year later, with the cellist Marc Coppey, the Zagreb Soloists recorded a CD on which the three Cello Concertos were presented, published by the German record company Audite.
Zagreb soloists have been awarded many high awards and recognitions, among which stand out: the first prize in Mar del Plata (for the album Concerts of the 18th century), the Pablo Casals Medal, the Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal (for performance contemporary music), Vladimir Nazor, Milka Trnina, Josip Štolcer Slavenski awards for the best performance of a work by a Croatian composer; then the Ivan Lukačić and Jurica Murai awards of the Varaždin Baroque Evenings, Villa Manin, UNESCO, Zagreb City Award, Croatia Records Silver Compact Disc, Order of Merit of the People with Silver Rays, City of Zagreb Plaque, several Croatian Porin discography awards (in 1994 for life’s work), Silver Plaque of the Croatian Musical Youth and numerous others.
During the Homeland War, the Zagreb soloists held around seventy charity concerts (for the city of Dubrovnik, for the destroyed music schools in Croatia, the demolished HNK building in Osijek, the Zagreb Children’s Hospital, for numerous destroyed Croatian monuments, etc.), and they also performed a large number of festive concerts on the occasion of the presentation of the new Croatian state. In 2010, the Ensemble was awarded the Orlando Grand Prix award for special artistic contributions to the overall program of the Dubrovnik Summer Games.
Almost seventy years of successful activity of this renowned Croatian classical music ensemble can be thanked for numerous great musicians who, for a certain period, took the place of members of the Zagreb Soloists, and what unites all members – past, present and future – is certainly the top level and discipline in the skill they practice and endless enthusiasm and love for music, especially chamber music.