By Nicole Peña
Music is a universally understood art form that brings together people of all backgrounds and cultures. Art is a largely important part of the city of Zagreb, Croatia. From the buildings to the graffiti, art finds itself in every corner of this small city. While museums and architecture initially attract tourists, music can also attract visitors from any location. Music is universally understood, and therefore Karlovac Chamber Orchestra’s 30th Anniversary Performance can be an event for anyone, since instrumental compositions do not create language barriers.
The Karlovac Chamber Orchestra had its 30th anniversary performance at Bersa Concert Hall (Koncertna dvorana Blagoje Bersa) inside of the Zagreb Music Academy (Muzička akademija Zagreb). Performances in the concert hall are only 40 Kn ($5.95 USD) or less. This means that all music lovers can enjoy a concert inexpensively or even for free like this performance.
The modern glass building, housing the music academy, has a rounded rainbow roof that can be spotted from far away. In addition to this, there is a large white spike pointed to the sky in front of the building and a large orange concrete sphere planted at the corner where the building is located, which serve as modern decoration. The concert hall found in the academy is about the size of a large movie theatre in the United States. As this is a music school, which is part of the University of Zagreb, it is a popular place for young adults and students of the academy to relax. Groups are always seen chatting outside on the steps.
The concert started with professors and students of the Karlovac Music School’s orchestra playing Čežnja by Dešpalj, a professor at the Zagreb Music Academy. Paul Dešpalj is also a respected Croatian conductor and composer. This song begins in fortissimo for dramatic effect rather than crescendo to gradually build up, which the other songs featured. For tourists, it is valuable to see Croatians play a song composed by a Croatian. Although this was a free show, the performers were not lacking in talent.
There were two featured musicians who performed compositions from Alexander Glazunov and Edvard Grieg. Saxaphone player, Ivor Reljić, blew the audience away with his clear talent in Glazunov’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra. Later pianist, Monika Trgovčević, played the well-known composition, Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The composition started passionate and strong and had moments where the piano sounded angelic, almost like a harp. Trgovčević, 26, shared that she has been playing the piano for eighteen years.
The Blagoje Bersa Concert hall offers shows all year, and has a schedule which can be found on the academy’s website. The venue has a variety of inexpensive shows and is in the middle of Zagreb, so it is certainly worth a visit.