Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra is the first professionally organized symphonic orchestra in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its foundation was already rooted in ensembles established during the Austro-Hungarian rule of our country. Since 1923, the existence of the Philharmonic Orchestra in Bosnia and Herzegovina represents one of the pillars of music culture and the music institution of the fundamental significance for Sarajevo and Bosnian region. Counting decades of work in the environment where social developments ruthlessly affect the cultural circumstances, the Philharmonic Orchestra has been repeatedly forced to start reprinting the pages of its history.

First ideas about establishing one professional ensemble in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which would perform the West European art music originated from the County Music School. Thus, the Quartet of Philharmonic Association was formed, which was mainly composed of the County Music School teachers. The Quartet members were Josip Hladek and Dr. Joseph Goldberg (violins), Jakov Sternberg (viola), Belus Jungic (cello) and Klemens Mensík (piano). The first concert was held on 15 April 1920 in the Sarajevo Imperial cinema. These small, but significant steps, led to the meeting of Founding Assembly of the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, which took place on 6 July three years later, and Bogdan Milankovic was appointed its first president. With the slogan “more and better music”, the Organizing Committee began implementing tasks so that the newly established ensemble could start their activities as soon as possible. The very first concert was held on 24 October 1923. Piano soloist was Klemens Mensik and conductors were Aleksandar Lukinic and Josip Rozdjalovski. The program included Overture of opera Porin by Vatroslav Lisinski, Piano Concerto in G minor by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, and the Second Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven. Until 1941, the conductors were Belus Jungic, Maks Unger, Aleksandar Lukinic, Josip Rozdjalovski, Edo Křenek and Oskar Danon. During this period, the Philharmonic Orchestra marked the anniversaries of important composers such as 100 years of Smetana, Schubert and Beethoven.

Due to World War II, the Philharmonic Orchestra stopped working in the period between 1941 and 1945 and in 1948, continued with its activities. At that time, the main tasks of the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra were defined by efforts to perform symphonic music by national and international authors, encourage the creation of new symphonic works, contribute to the raising in quality of music performers, and satisfy cultural needs of citizens and in such, work with other institutions and organizations in order to raise the music culture and the development of music life.

The first concert of the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra after the World War II was held on 20 October 1948, conducted by Oskar Danon, and the soloist was Antonio Janigro, cellist from Zagreb. The program included Overture of opera Ruslan and Lyudmila by M. I. Glinke, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra by A. Dvorak, Sárka by B. Smetana, Night on Bald Mountain by M. Mussorgsky and the dances from the ballet “The Legend of Ohrid” by S. Hristic. In this period, the policy of the Philharmonic Orchestra was to give preference to national conductors, while guest conductors conducted a smaller number of concerts. In this period, Directors of the Philharmonic Orchestra were: Tihomir Miric (1948 – 1973), Teodor Romanic (1974 – 1976), Mirko Janjcic (1976 – 1984), Vladimir Maunagic (1984 – 1988), Miroslav Homen (1988 – 1989) and Ninoslav Verber (1989-1992). Ivan Stajcer, Mladen Pozajic, Teodor Romanic, Miroslav Homen, Oskar Danon, Julio Maric, Dragisa Savic, Radivoj Spasic, Boris Papandopulo and many others conducted the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra. Compared to the period before 1941, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra has significantly expanded its repertoire by performing pieces not only by international, but also Yugoslav and Bosnian composers. In this sense, we should mention very fruitful cooperation with the Association of Composers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has resulted in the concert repertoire regularly consisting of the works by national authors.

The beginning of aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina and the destruction of all that has been built during the previous decades marked the year of 1992. Thus, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra stopped performing for two years and suffered great material and human losses. A kind of turning point for the Philharmonic Orchestra was a concert held on 19 June 1994, when orchestra with the great maestro Zubin Mehta performed Mozart’s Requiem in the ruined City Hall. Jose Carreras, Ruggero Raimondi, Cecilia Gasdia and Ildiko Komlosi performed as soloists. That same year, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra held concerts in Italy, and during the following years, it held a series of performances in Austria, Turkey, the Czech Republic, France, Switzerland and Italy. After the war, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, renewed in personnel, and through the efforts of management led by Emir Nuhanovic (1994 – 2008), and later by Samra Gulamovic (since 2008), the significant performances were achieved in the country and abroad.

Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated 85 years of existence and work by the majestic concert held on 11 October 2008 at the Olympic Hall Zetra. On that occasion, orchestra performed the popular Carmina Burana by Carl Orff conducted by Julio Maric. In anticipation of its 90th anniversary in 2013, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra continues to strive towards the goals set at the beginning of its existence, remaining one of the lighthouses of the Bosnian cultural scene and certainly, one of the most important links in the chain of the music life in Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.



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Sarajevska filharmonija 2016

Sarajevska filharmonija 2016

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Anne Gastinel

Anne Gastinel

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