From December 15 to December 28, the tenth “Belgrade Art New Territory” festival will be held, better known as BUNT (hereinafter – Bunt). The audience was impatiently waiting for the beginning of this event, where this year, during six festival days and nine concerts, with a rich musical repertoire starting from baroque, through classical and all the way to traditional Balkan melos, they will experience unforgettable concert days listening to top artists and performers from the domestic and world art scene.
With the flautist and founder of the festival, professor Ljubiša Jovanović, we talked about the Jubilee Bunt, as well as this year’s program, today’s artistic development, but also new collaborations that happened thanks to the existence of this event. With joy and pride that Bunt persisted for a full ten years, the professor explains that it was conceived, as always, with reliance on the musical ideals and ideas that this artist has carried inside him all his life.
Ljubiša Jovanović: “The basic ideas are certainly in the promotion of contemporary Serbian creativity, the promotion of young people and the amalgamation of young performers and mature musicians who have a high artistic reputation. At the same time, the festival also addresses sensitive groups in the form of a traditional concert by children with autism from the “Nebograd” Association, with the Children’s Choir of the Belgrade Cultural Center, which will perform music for children of Rade Radivojević, as well as young bassoonists, children from the “Stanković” Music School. We tried not to remain indebted to the places from which we came in this small jubilee; therefore, there will be two concerts in the Ethnographic Museum, five concerts in Kolarac and two in the concert hall of the Cultural and Artistic Society “Ivo Lola Ribar”. Of course, the whole financial construction was very difficult because we believe that a proper and expedient balance of projects at the level of the city and the republic has not yet been established. We do not participate in those contests, we do not apply because we believe that something essential has to change in order for us to become part of such a story.”
Despite the great and difficult trials of this time, which we are witnessing, Bunt manages to persevere for a full ten years, living on its catchphrase, an idea based on love, perseverance, truth and striving for essential things. The festival, which defies with its gentleness, uniqueness, authentic repertoire, gathering the best domestic and international performers, captivates and has an ever-increasing audience response every year. Although its organizers do not rely on budget funds, the traditional partner is Sokoj, the EU info center, which recognized their work and believes that their aspirations are identical to the relationship and attitude of the European Union and European values in general. The Canadian Embassy supported its artists, and since this year the festival has made another friendship and gained new partners from China, who are very supportive. With the aim to ennoble the audience, to leave an enlightening mark in this time, they carefully nurture their tradition, beliefs and musical aesthetics. If this year’s festival could be summed up in one word that could describe the spirit of this year’s festival, flautist Ljubiša Jovanović says that word would be: “love”.
Ljubiša Jovanović: “Love for people, love for art, love for music, for the friendships we create. We have great support from great artists from abroad who performed at Bunt, such as Gordan Nikolić, Tamara Stefanović, who really contribute to the reputation of the festival. I need to say that we are not pretentious, we are not and we do not want to be our biggest, best festival – that is not important. Our desire for the festival to be an essential part of the art scene and music, which can cover everyday life, is important. Therefore, we truly believe that this has a purpose, that it has a message and that regardless of all the sacrifices, which are not small (they sometimes go beyond what we are used to in artistic preoccupation in our region), that the efforts we make overcome the problems. But at the moment when the first concert starts, we realize the advantage and beauty of the whole project. We will endure as long as we can under these conditions, with the hope that we may live to see other times.”
OVERVIEW OF THIS YEAR’S PROGRAM:
THURSDAY, December 15, Kolarac, 8 p.m., ceremonial opening of the festival
Thanks to our partners from China, who enabled the arrival of soprano Wanzhe Zhang, we will have the opportunity to attend the grand opening in full glory. Our great pianist, the brilliant Dejan Sinadinović, will perform together with the soprano, and will also perform something from the solo repertoire. We are very proud of this opening and new penetration into another part of the world, so we are pleased to start cooperation with new partners.
FRIDAY, December 23, Ethnographic Museum, 8 p.m., Zagreb Quartet
The concert at the Ethnographic Museum is very important for us because the great Zagreb String Quartet, a professional ensemble that has existed for more than a hundred years and is financed by the state of Croatia, is coming, with two guests – the outstanding bassoonist Žarko Perišić and Milan Milošević, who will play the basset clarinet. They perform a diverse repertoire from Dowland, through Mozart, Dvořák, Brahms to, of course, a Canadian artist.
SATURDAY, December 24, “Lola” hall, 8 p.m., 40 years of Sandra Belić’s artistic work
This concert evening is also a celebration of 40 years of artistic work of cellist Sandra Belić, who leaves a deep mark on our culture on many levels. She will be performing with her current best student – Vuk Ovaskainen – and pianist Ljiljana Vukelja, with a program that is largely made up of compositions dedicated to her, so it will certainly be a wonderful evening in “Lola”, significant both for the festival and for our musical environment.
SUNDAY, December 25, “Lola” hall, 12 noon, Damjan Diklić Day
This is perhaps one of the most exciting concert days, which starts at noon, and is named “Damjan Diklić Day” after the prematurely deceased actor and humanist, one of Bunt’s greatest friends. He came to every concert, drew divine drawings, which he later gave to us. He is one of the nicest people who have surrounded Bunt all these years. First, the small bassoonists of Professor Milena Stanković from the “Stanković” School of Music will perform, and then the “Nebograd” Association with the choir of the Belgrade Children’s Cultural Center and Nevena Ivanović will perform the music of Rade Radivojević. We will also have great guests from the world of acting and music.
SUNDAY, December 25, Kolarac, 7 p.m., New stars of classical music
On the same evening at 19:00 in Kolarac, we are starting a new cycle, which we have called “New Stars of Classical Music”, the great violist Anđela Josifoska, who is now in Switzerland at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad, will perform. This phenomenal, talented young artist will perform with the piano collaboration of pianist Katarina Hadži Antić Tatić with a representative program for viola and piano.
SUNDAY, December 25, Kolarac, 8 p.m
On the same evening, flautist Ljubiša Jovanović and our great pianist Aleksandar Serdar will perform the sonatas for flute and piano by Johann Sebastian Bach. It will be another opportunity to hear the greatest works of the most significant musical genius.
MONDAY, December 26, Kolarac, 7 p.m., New stars of classical music
This day of the festival will also be filled with two concerts. At the first concert, one of our current best cellists will play – Vuk Ovaskainen, who won first prize at the International Music Youth Competition. He will perform wonderful music by Beethoven and Prokofiev, and pianist Uki Ovaskainen will perform together with him.
MONDAY, December 26, Kolarac, 8 p.m
As part of the Dark Velvet album promotion, we will finally hear in Belgrade our great violinist Julija Hartig, who comes from the Netherlands, in collaboration with the pianist Natalija Mladenović. That concert has a special weight because the work of Veljko Nenadović, our outstanding young composer, who just received the Bartok Prize in Budapest, one of the biggest European awards for young composers, will also be performed.
WEDNESDAY, December 28, Ethnographic Museum, 8 p.m., Music of the Balkans
The last evening of the festival will take place in the Ethnographic Museum. In cooperation with our friends from the museum, we devised an ethnic evening, where the trio of Neda Nikolić, an outstanding young flutist, who is now the new star of our music, will perform first. In the second part, the exceptional accordionist Dejan Jovanović will present himself, who will perform the music of the Balkans with his ensemble. We are very much looking forward to that evening, because top artists are coming with their ensembles and will show us how slightly more popular music can actually sound at a top artistic level.
During the conversation, we reflected on today’s times and insufficient interest in art in our country. Such a relationship certainly undermines the existence of art. The question arises how, due to all the circumstances, to look at its survival in our country, in what way to nurture it and preserve the aesthetics of taste.
Ljubiša Jovanović: “At this moment, it is very difficult to see the picture of artistic development. It is hindered on two levels. The first one that is pointed out to us is commercialism, very often values that do not exist are promoted and elevated to a place in society that they do not deserve. We have become a tabloid society in art as well. This means that attention is paid only to those things that have some kind of media or political support, so they will be highlighted unscrupulously, and no one will be interested in the essential values. But, to put it in quotation marks, the ‘problem’ is that there is always that certain critical mass of people – and now that mass exists. It has no number, but it has weight. People who are deeply committed to classical music are still willing to make sacrifices and want to survive in this society. Of course, the cost of not advertising the essential things and the simple lack of desire to highlight things worth having has a price in audience numbers, but no price in quality. As an example of that for last year, I would single out the cycle of Madžar’s concerts in Belgrade, there were dozens of them that I attended. He performed all of Beethoven’s Sonatas, but only about 350 people attended the concert, that is, only half of Kolarac. However, those concerts were engraved in the code of this city and in the code of the art that exists here. Although they went unnoticed by the wider audience and music critics, except on Radio Belgrade 2, those who were there remember these concerts. To this day, I seriously think about what I heard then – and that’s the only thing that matters. At the same time, concerts were held in front of a full hall, advertised, promoted, but no one remembers them anymore. And that’s the difference. If the state is ready to invest a million euros for a famous singer who is no longer even a shadow of what they used to be, due to the promotion of some other things, not artistic value, but is not ready to invest the same million in all the other concerts that take place all year round, then it means that we live in a space that is not defined either in culture or in music. Everyone is inclined to say that it happens in other countries as well. Yes, it happens – that’s true, but there, big, essential things are financed sparingly by the state, and that’s the difference. This is not a complaint, we live in that world and I’m experienced enough in my life and I’ve been through enough not to expect miracles, but it would be nice if some things were modified a little and put in order. Bunt is just a reminder for all of us that there may be another world, a world that has only art as its basic postulate. In the search for those ideals, I hope that we will be able to hold the festival again.
What particularly attracted attention was Bunt’s participation in one of the largest European projects of the House of the Quartetto (Le Dimore del Quartetto), which is co-financed by the European Union and includes 17 cultural institutions from all over Europe, among which are Kolarac from the Republic of Serbia as an institution and the Bunt festival as a manifestation. As part of that project, which resonated very seriously in Europe, a competition was opened for 38 string quartets, for the three-year innovative European project of the “MERITA” platform.
Ljubiša Jovanović: “It is the first major project in which Bunt is a partner, a truly grandiose project at the level of the European Union. Bunt is obliged to organize six concerts of string quartets from abroad during the duration of the project, therefore, ensembles from Serbia cannot play here, but they can only perform abroad. We will host them in places that have cultural “heritage”, in places like the Golubac fortress or the fortress in Kladovo, Nebojša Towers, the synagogue in Subotica, which was recently renovated, Kolarac… Therefore, we want to make a step forward for the festival in other environments. We are really proud to be a part of that project, which is starting in the EU and which is currently one of the biggest at the level of music. It is a huge undertaking, extremely valuable and significant for the development of chamber music throughout Europe.
The tenth year of Bunt’s existence, at which a large number of performers performed, speaks volumes about its quality, but above all about the inexhaustible need of art music lovers to be part of the festival, making an important part of its mosaic. With modest wishes and a primal need to nurture art or at least maintain and preserve it in our country for a moment, the founder of the festival states that he still carries one hidden desire…
Ljubiša Jovanović: “I have a feeling that Bunt might one day be a memory of art music and a mark like Zenit once left. Well, if I have an ambition – it’s an ambition. To leave a little furrow and for someone to say one day: “Well, they did something there, they tried to do something for their environment, for their country, for their people.” I also believe, it is my hope that we will be remembered for some noble goals, for idealism, for the beauty of cultivating music and the closeness it creates with the people who live here. We have certainly created that new territory – BUNT – Belgrade’s artistic new territory, and that territory has been created, that territory is clear, consistent, transparent, now the only thing left is to see if someone else will get on board and enter our world.”
A great experience awaits us, top music and true joy at the Bunt festival. Admission to all concerts is free, with the exception of concerts in the Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment. You can pick up your tickets at the ticket office of this institution, at the address Studentski trg no. 5 at a price of 1000 dinars.
Author: Katarina Georgijević