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celebrating three hundred years of music by women

Isidora Zebeljan (1967-2020)

Zebeljan is Serbia's most internationally acclaimed composer, and a pianist and conductor. She attracted international attention with her opera Zora D. which was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation from London. It was premièred in Amsterdam in 2003, directed by David Pountney and Nicola Raab. The same production opened the 50th season of the Vienna Chamber Opera in the same year. Pountney said of it "Zebeljan's music struck me immediately as something original, fresh, and above all emotionally expressive - a rare commodity, but an essential one for interesting theatrical story telling."

From the Venice Biennale she received a commission in 2004 and wrote The Horses of Saint Mark, an illumination for orchestra, premièred in Venice that year. The Genesis Foundation also engaged her to write the chamber orchestra composition The Minstrel's Dance, which Zebeljan composed for The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; it was premièred at London's Wigmore Hall in 2005. Then followed commissions from the Bregenz Festival, for the opera The Marathon, which was performed during the 2008 festival, as well in Vienna and Belgrade, and one from The International Horn Players Society, for Dance of Wooden Sticks (horn and strings). In 2008 Isidora Zebeljan wrote Latum Lalo, for 12 singers of the Dutch Chamber Choir. As a commission from University of Kent she wrote Polomka Quartet for the Brodsky Quartet (2009). Another engagement for 2009 came from Musiktheater im Revier (Gelsenkirchen, Germany) for a new opera, titled Simon, the Chosen. Among several composers contributing to the 2013 City of London Festival song-cycle Trees, Walls and Cities, her contribution was remarked on by the London Financial Times as setting folk-rhythms spinning, and the Times described her music as "a belter from the Balkans - wild, dance-like and off-kilter".

She has composed the music for around 40 theatre productions in all the prominent theatres in Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro. To acknowledge her artistic achievements, Ms Zebeljan has been honored three times with the Sterija Award, the most prestigious Serbian annual prize for theatre. The exclusive publisher of her music is Ricordi - Universal.

More information on Zebeljan

Works include: operas Zora D, The Marathon, Simon the Chosen and Two Heads and a Girl; orchestal works Escenas picaras, Rukoveti, The Horses of Saint Mark and Minstrel’s Dance; Dance of the Wooden Sticks, for horn and string orchestra; New Songs of Lada, for soprano and string orchestra; Deserted Village, elegy for string orchestra; Latum lalo, for mixed choir; The Song of a Traveller in the Night, for clarinet and string quartet; Polomka Quartet, for string quartet; Il Circo, for the piano.

Hero's Miseries (SATB), 1985. Deserted Village Elegy for string orchestra, 1987. Escenas picaras - 3 mvt sinfonia (symphony orchestra), 1990/2. Four Old Serbian Songs (soprano & string orchestra) 1999. Song of a Traveller in the Night (clarinet & string quartet), 2003. The Miracle in Shargan (Duet for oboe & violin), 2003. Theatre music: Uglješa Šajtinac, Banat Yugoslav Drama Theatre production (oboe, English horn, violin, cello & piano), 2007. Polomka Quartet (string quartet), 2009.

Ricordi Italy has published the music of The Ghost from the Pumpkin, Song of a Traveller, Dance of the Wooden Sticks, Latum Lalo and other works. CDs include: Anthology of 20th Century Serbian music for strings: Isidora Zebeljan, Deserted Village, 1987. Illuminations, Music for Theatre, B92, 2008. CPO released a CD of her orchestral music on CPO 7776702, and Oboe Classics has released Balkan Bolero, which includes works for oboe and cor anglais with other instruments, with sound clips and videos.

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