Meet Composers

Igor izjava

Igor Andrić (1996) was born in Kragujevac, where he completed primary and secondary music school. He enrolled in composition studies in 2014 at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, under professor Isidora Žebeljan. He is currently a student of doctoral academic studies at the same faculty, where he also works as an assistant at the composition department. His music has been performed at festivals and in concert halls throughout Serbia, as well as in France, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Hong Kong and Cyprus. He participated in the World Festival of Students and Youth in Sochi (Russia) in 2017, as a Serbian delegate for art and culture. In the same year, he received an order from accordionist Goran Stevanović, who premiered the accordion suite “Taraf de Haidoux” in Bremen (Germany). He had several other very successful collaborations with musical performers, of which he points out the one with violinist Dušan Joksić. As a result of this collaboration, the work “Prometheus Unraveled – a fantasy for solo violin and sixteen strings“ was created and performed at the “KoMA“ festival in 2019, then in Kragujevac, with the city chamber orchestra “Schlesinger”, and in the “Tonali” hall in Hamburg (Germany), under the conductorship of the composer Andrić. The work was also included in the RTS orchestra’s concert season. Igor was declared a student of the generation at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade in 2018.

With the composition Piano Trio no. 1, he entered the finals of the competition “Intimacy of Creativity 2019″ in Hong Kong. In the same year, he was invited to compose for few Belgrade famous ensembles such as “Belgrade Trio” and the “Collegium musicum” Academic Choir. As a result of these orders, the compositions “Piano Trio no. 2” (premiered in 2021) and “Symphony of Whispers and Screams” (performed as part of the “InterNos” project in 2020) were created. He wrote the composition “Parahelij” for cellist Nemanja Stanković in 2020, and it was included in the CD release “Traces”. Since March 2021, he has been a protégé of the Viennese publishing house “Universal Edition”, which publishes his works. At the beginning of the same year, his composition “Three New Moons” was premiered by the “Metamorphosis” ensemble.

He won the competition “Composer Slam”, which was organized by the ensemble “Orchester im Treppenhaus” based in Hanover, and on that occasion he received an order from the same ensemble to create a new composition for a chamber orchestra. Under his bow, the piano duo “Voodoo” and the “Muzikon” chamber orchestra premiered last May his Concerto for two pianos and orchestra. He is one of the score editors of the opera “Koštana” by Petar Konjović for the National Theatre in Belgrade and the Committee for the Protection of Serbian Musical Heritage of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU). He also reworked the orchestrations of the operas “Carmen” (Z. Bizet), “Iolanta” (PI. Tchaikovsky), and “Cinderella” (D. Rossini) for the Operosa festival.

Vladimir izjava

Vladimir Botev (1984) was born in Skopje, North Macedonia. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree of Jazz Guitar Performance under Professor Toni Kitanovski in 2014. He participated in many jazz and classical ensembles as a graduate student, and after completing his studies as a bassist and guitarist. From 2012 to 2014, he attended private lessons in arranging and composing for large ensembles, under professor Vladimir Nikolov. In 2007, he started working as a freelance musician (composing, arranging, score/part preparation, teaching and performing).

From 2019 until today, he wrote orchestral arrangements for The Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra and The Big Band of the Macedonian Association of Jazz Musicians and Free Artists for which he also composed a couple of original pieces. As a composer, he contributed to the repertoire of the Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra project which was realized in April, 2021 in Podgorica and Cetinje, during the festival Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro.

Faruk izjava

Faruk Mehić (2002) is a composer from Bosnia and Herzegovina, currently studying at the Academy of Arts at the University of Banja Luka. He started his music education in Elementary music school in Bihać, under prof. Melita Mehulić. After that he went to Music High School “Nusret Keskin-Braco” in Bihać (department for accordion and theory), where he graduated under prof. Adna Bajrić as a student of the generation. After completing high school successfully, he enrolled in the Academy of Arts at the University of Banja Luka where he currently studies composition in the class of prof. Tatjana Milošević Mijanovic, PhD.

He has won many awards at the competitions as a soloist – accordion player at the Orfej Festival of Classical music “Accordeus” (Sarajevo), International festival “Muzičko proleće” (Smederevo), “Skala” Classical Music Festival (Brčko), “Accordion Art Plus” (East Sarajevo). As a complementary piano player, he won second award at the Federal competition of music in Sarajevo. He composes and arranges for solo instruments, chamber ensembles and choir.

Mak Murtić izjava

Mak Murtić (1988) is a composer and saxophonist from Zagreb, Croatia. He showed the initial interest in music during his performance in various bands in the middle to late 2000s. In 2010 he moved to London to pursue his studies at Middlesex University where he established his own alternative jazz orchestra Mimika. Since then, Mimika has released three concept albums on various sociopolitical topics. During this period he worked with various London based ensembles and groups, ranging from jazz, classical, experimental and club music. In 2013, Murtic became a member of Sound and Music’s “Adopt a Composer” program which is working on a piece for the Clapham Community Choir. In the meantime, he recorded an album with the Croatian Radio Television Jazz Orchestra, written for the Septet Ad Libitum of the Zagreb Symphony. His pieces were performed by students at the Purcell School, White Flower Ensemble, Tom Atherton and other musicians. He composed music for a few short films as well as arrangements for various ensembles and an immersive theatre piece (notably ‘’Granice’’ commissioned by the Zagreb Dance Centre and “Jedna od nas”, a documentary by Djuro Gavran).

He participated in various one-off projects and collaborative projects, including One Beat Balkans (2019), Croatian Improvises Orchestra (2019), orchestral project with Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin and Wood), arrangements for Darko Rundek and the Croatian Radio Television Jazz Orchestra, piece for Sinković & Merčep percussion duo for the Zagreb Musical Biennale (2019) and others. In 2020 he has established Rika Muzika Label with Sara Al Hamad. Since 2019, Murtić is a facilitator and collaborator in the educational and artistic program One Beat Balkans.

Beside Mimika Orchestra, he actively performs with bands Antentat, Truth ≠Tribe and with Croatian Improvisers Orchestra. In 2021, he wrote a piece for Ensemble Illyrica for the Zagreb Music Biennale, as well as the music for the documentary film “Škoj ili ne…” and the piece “Telos” for the Zagreb based contemporary classical performance series “Scena Amadeo”. In October 2021, he was selected to write for the Rimouski (Canada based) contemporary experimental ensemble Ggril and he went to a residency in Salon 58 in Marsoui where he wrote the piece “Procession de la foret d’automne”. He is currently writing music for the film “El Shatt”, and is releasing album “Altur Mur” dealing with the topic of the farce, myth and reality of the (mostly Croatian) Mediterranean islands.

Rok izjava

Rok Nemanič (1993) is a successful Slovenian trumpet player and composer of the younger generation. His music path began in Sežana where he attended the local music school. He regularly participated in competitions in Slovenia and abroad and received many awards. He brought his knowledge to perfection by attending seminars of the world-renowned trumpet players (Bo Nilson, Jim Rotondi etc.). He studied at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet Ljubljana. His first field of study was classical music under Peter Jevšnikar, and in 2012, he completed his study of jazz music under David Jarh. He is currently studying master of composition&arranging in the class of Reinhold Schmölzer at the Gustav Mahler Private University of Music (GMPU) in Klagenfurt.

He played with the Big Band RTV Slovenia three times within a concert cycle »Young Jazz Musicians«. He regularly participates with the Slovenian Radio and Television Big Band as a substitute player and he works and records with Slovenian big bands. He is the founder of the Balkan Boys band and Pickpocket Swingers. In 2018, he was invited by European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to be a part of the Euroradio Jazz Orchestra project in Latvia. In 2021, the Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra performed one of his compositions in Montenegro (Aqualand), which made it to the finals of Karel Krautgartner’s composition contest in Prague and was played by the Concept Art Orchestra. In 2022, he released his first album »Pihalni cirkus« with Slovenian Army Orchestra.

Ljubomir izjava

Ljubomir Nikolić (1976) marks cultural heritage as an inexhaustible material for re-interpretation nowadays. Communication and interaction, as two important elements on which he relies, are especially reflected in his work on a relatively new “art form” – theatrical adventure game, within the Creative Europe project “Journey to the Beginnings”, in collaboration with Hungarian artist and director Máte Czáko. It is an interactive installation – a game, which has been shown in museums in Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, and Romania, thanks to the cooperation of archaeologists (University of Southampton), music archaeologists (Vienna), artists (Budapest), and IT experts (Zagreb), which culminated in a unique AR/VR setup, performance, and realization of the music segment. He is currently collaborating with one of the world’s leading Departments of Archeology at the University of Southampton (ACI) headed by archaeologist Joanna Sofaer, working on the development of prehistoric instruments, the link between archeology, art, and creative practice, and their integration into the contemporary context, which is also part of this author’s doctoral research. He uses various techniques and media to create musical content: sound art, electroacoustic achievements, musical theatre, video art, improvised music, all the way to classical forms such as symphony, opera, ballet, string quartets.

He composes music for several dance performances and collaborates with choreographers and dance companies such as Silk Fluegge (Austria, Linz), Derida Dance (Sofia, Bulgaria), and Tanec Praha (Prague, Czech Republic).   The composer’s field of interest is participation in Creative Europe projects, as follows: Rive (2014); Anno (2017); Journey to the Beginnings (2018/2019); Someone from Home (2018/2019); Assimilate (2020/2021); Muse. AR (2021/2022).

He participated in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Laza Kostić Foundation. On that occasion he presented compositions from the cycle of songs “Pčelojavljenje”, from books by Miodrag Radović. The program is shown as a live stream between Stratford (UK) and Novi Sad (Serbia). He is currently employed at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Department of Composition, as a teaching associate.

Detailed biography of the composer.

Mario Nikolic izjava

Mario Nikolić (1996) was born in Teslić, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he completed his high school education. He enrolled in his first academic studies at the Academy of Arts in Banja Luka, at the Department of Music Arts, majoring in music theory and pedagogy. During his studies, he participated in various cultural and artistic manifestations such as the “Days of Vlado S. Milošević” and the first Banja Luka Jazz Fest “JAZZ 0000” dedicated to the world-renowned composer and producer Quincy Jones. He won the first prize at the 12th International Music Festival in Arandjelovac in 2019, in the class of prof. Dejan Janković. He also worked as a teaching assistant in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 school years, in the subjects Solfeggio and Methodology of Solfeggio. In 2019, he enrolled in his second academic studies in Banja Luka, in the class of prof. Tatjana Miloševic-Mijanović, majoring the composition.

Among all his vocal-instrumental works, he singles out a miniature for the string quartet “Anamorph” 2020, a choral composition based on the verses of Tin Ujević “Noturno”, three solo songs based on haiku poetry by Matsu Basho (”I Find Out About the Death of a Friend” 2020, ”Pre-death Song” 2021 and ”Snowy Morning” 2022), flute duo “Yellow Bastard” 2021. He also had the opportunity to compose music for Viktor Krstić’s film “While We Were There” (in cooperation with the students of the drama department of the Academy of Arts) and Sandra Marić’s animated film “Rain Boy” (in cooperation with the “Aeon” production company).

Dorotea izjava

Dorotea Pavlinić (1998) was born in Osijek, where she currently lives and studies composition at the Academy of Arts and Culture. She attended elementary school in Veliškovci (2004-2012) and elementary music school in Valpovo (2010-2014). After that, she simultaneously completed high school in Valpovo (2012-2016), and music high school of Franjo Kuhač in Osijek (2014-2018), at the piano department. As a pianist, she participated in the international competition for young musicians Sonus op. 4 and at the 55th music forum in Opatija. Her two compositions for piano were performed at the event Osijek Music Wednesday in 2016. As a contemporary composition performer, she participated in the Novalis music+art festival in Osijek in 2018. Her composition “Horizont” for tambourine quartet was premiered at the pre-biennial program in 2019, as a part of the student project KNAPANJE. Her piano composition “Unfinished Stories” was performed at the 4th International Festival “Art and Woman”.

During her high school education, she has been studying composition under prof. art. Davor Bobić. She completed undergraduate composition studies in the class of professor Sanja Drakulić in 2021. Thanks to the student exchange program Erasmus+, she completed the third year of composition at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade in the class of prof. Draško Adžić, where her composition “Ples Tintilinića” was performed within the KoMA festival (Compositions by Young Authors). In addition, her compositions “Vodena vrata” and “Lili Lalauna” were recorded in Belgrade. Last year, she participated in the international academy for composers and performers MAS-GO-AS, where a scene from her ballet “A Mouth Full of Earth” was filmed by the ensemble Synchronos. At the beginning of 2021, her composition “Lili Lalauna” was performed in the Belgrade Philharmonic hall, also as a part of the KoMA festival. She attended many seminars and master classes of various renowned musicians. In addition, she regularly plays the organ and has been leading the choir in the church of St. Roka in Veliškovci since 2012.

Nevena Pejcic izjava

Nevena Pejčić (1996) was born in Subotica, Serbia, where she attended high music school in two departments: classical and jazz piano achieving the highest score and was nominated as a student of generation. In July 2015 she was admitted to the Department of Jazz and Popular Music of Belgrade Faculty of Music, where she started her MA studies in 2019 and graduated in 2020 with the highest note. In order to expand knowledge, she admitted a few courses and seminars in the field of music, which took place in Subotica, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Bodaik (Hungary), Sarajevo, Atina (Italy). Currently, Nevena is studying Jazz Composition & Arrangement at the Faculty of Music and Dance in Keln, with Florian Ross as a mentor.

During her studies, she took part in many national and international music competitions in Belgrade, Zrenjanin, Ćuprija, Šabac, Budapest, Graz, Gorizia, Cluj (Rumunija) and received several awards. Since 2018, she has been playing piano in National Theatre in Belgrade. She performed in the plays „Bolivud“ (directed by Maja Pelević) and „Cat on a Hot Tin Roof“ and wrote music for children’s play „Home“ produced in Mionica village (directed by Zagorka Stojanović).

In 2018, Nevena started a band MING Vocal Quartet working as composer, arranger, and pianist. With the MING Quartet she has performed in many festivals and events: Nishville Jazz Festival, Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro, Belgrade Stories, Subotica City Day, Night of Museums in Subotica, Karusel (Čačak), Jazz in the Park (Romania), jazz festivals in Kosovska Mitrovica, Pančevo and Novi Sad. With her bend she recorded her original arrangement for a well known jazz standard Black Nile (by Wayne Shorter). She released her first album with the MING quartet this year in the edition of PGP RTS, which features her original compositions and arrangements of jazz standards. Last year Nevena was selected among ten composers from Balkans for the “Balkan Youth Orchestra” project for which she applied the original composition “Wald” that had been performed in Montenegro JAM festival, at the end of April 2021.


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Combining Landscapes, Traditions, Sensibilities, and Centuries

After the world premiere of the project “In Search of Our Musical Roots” in Podgorica, the daily newspaper “Pobjeda” published a review by journalist Dragana Erjavšek, titled “Combining Landscapes, Traditions, Sensibilities, and Centuries”, which we have the pleasure to publish in its entirety.

PODGORICA – The project “In Search of Our Musical Roots” premiered nine new compositions, at the core of which are the traditional sounds of nine authors from the Western Balkans combined with contemporary expression.


Under the conductorship of two maestros, Antonijo Kitanovski from Štip and Vladimir Nikolov from Belgrade, the twelve-member orchestra succeeded in its mission to connect not only authors, but also landscapes, traditions, sensibilities, and centuries in one sumptuous musical story.



The concert opened with “Sara(h)”, a composition by Mario Nikolić which, apart from the tactful and expressive introduction of the rhythm section, was marked by a dialogue between trumpet and saxophone. Nikolić gave primacy to the theme that sounded familiar and assembled the background around it just as confectioners decorate cakes, gradually intensifying the central points. The mentioned dialogue between two wind instruments was one of the best moments of the concert.


Vocal artist (which is a more appropriate word than soloist) Maja Rivić from Zagreb had the status of a real star. Attractive in approach, with a wide spectrum of imagination and a powerful voice that varied from a whisper to a scream during the concert, the guest from Zagreb (otherwise a permanent member of the Mimika Orchestra) performed in six compositions, and somewhat was “stealing” them from the authors by subjectivizing them in those first performances. She caught the momentum already in the second composition “Intertined Treetop” by Nevena Pejčić; in “Mesopust” by Mak Murtić she reconstructed the carnival spirit of a small Mediterranean town, while in the composition “Schleicher’s Tale” by Ljubomir Nikolić she became, without any exaggeration, the entire orchestra. During only one program she showed that she is good at jazz and all traditional melodies from the spectrum of the Western Balkan heritage, and that she is equally powerful in abstractions and original melodies. Above all, she demonstrated that rhythm does not depend on mood and circumstances, but is a part of deep reflection, the ability to surrender to it, and of immeasurable talent.



The composition of Vladimir Botev, who also composed for the Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra a year ago, brought a combination of Macedonian traditional song and jazz. This fused atmospheric and elegiac dedication entitled “Neveno, belan vino” was a respite before the deep surrealism of Igor Andrić and the lavish music performances of pieces by Murtić and Nikolić. “Bela krajina” by Rok Nemanič, another returning composer to Jazz Art projects, made the end of the concert exciting and playful with its infectious theme and an excellent background for the dominance of the rhythm section. In that composition, the piano, which all along had a kind of status of a background instrument, also came to the fore. The sumptuous musical story entitled “In Search of Our Musical Roots” was rounded off with “Jazz Garland” by Faruk Mehić, a young composer from Tuzla, who went through three songs from the Bosnian Krajina and gave them a new musical cover. Twenty-year-old Mehić is also the youngest author whose composition was performed at the KIC “Budo Tomović”


Afterwards, the twelve-member orchestra performed the same repertoire in Tirana and in Banja Luka at the “Banski dvor” Cultural Center.

Twelve Instrumentalists

Concert “In Search of Our Musical Roots” organized by Jazz Art in cooperation with partner institutions (FMU Belgrade, UGD Štip, Academy of Arts Banja Luka, Syri Blue Tirana), and local partners, KIC “Budo Tomović” and Cultural Center “Banski dvor”, gathered twelve young instrumentalists who spent last week in Podgorica.

Violinist Sofija Nikoska, accordionist Milena Drašković, saxophonists Aljoša Andrejević (alto sax), Ivan Nešić (tenor sax) and Sava Dabanović (baritone sax), then trumpeters Lazar Šarenac and Ilija Micev, trombonist Uroš Silaški, pianist Ivan Jovanović, bassist Vukan Potežica, drummer Dimitrije Mojsijević and percussionist Slaven Ljujić performed together for the first time in front of a large audience in the Great Hall of KIC.

Dragana Erjavšek

Pobjeda Daily 22 November, 2022


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Performers of the project “In Search of Our Musical Roots”


We are happy to present instrumentalists who participate in our project “In Search of Our Musical Roots”, unique ensemble along with guest artist, vocalist Maja Rivić, and under the direction of conductors and musical mentors Antonijo Kitanovski and Vladimir Nikolov.

Violin – Sofija Nikoska (North Macedonia)

Accordion – Milena Drašković (Montenegro)

Alt Saxophone – Aljoša Andrejević (Serbia)

Tenor Saxophone – Ivan Nešić (Serbia)

Baritone Saxophone – Sava Dabanović (Montenegro)

Trumpet 1 – Lazar Šarenac (Serbia)

Trumpet 2 -Ilija Micev (Noth Macedonia)

Trombone – Uroš Silaški (Serbia)

Piano – Ivan Jovanović (Serbia)

Bass – Vukan Potežica (Serbia)

Drums – Dimitrije Mojsijević (Serbia)

Percussion – Slaven Ljujić (Montenegro)

They will perform new compositions of nine young composers from the Balkans, and thus share knowledge, experiences and musicianship, meet new friends and promote Western Balkan through music and culture.

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