The Music Biennale Zagreb 2017
Founded in 1961 by the Croatian composer Milko Kelemen and held every other year in the Croatian capital Zagreb, the Music Biennale is an international festival of contemporary music which is rightly regarded as one of the most important events in Europe, when it comes to musical experimentation. Over 5 decades it has succeeded in attracting some of the great pioneers of new musical languages and has certainly never shirked from controversy, strongly upholding musical creativity and freedom of expression in the face of the dominant political and social norms.
At the 2nd Biennale in 1963, just before the American avant-garde composer John Cage was due to perform, Kelemen was warned by the authorities that any “antics” onstage, such as crawling under the piano would lead to the festival being banned. Kelemen relayed this message to Cage, who then proceeded to do precisely that, causing a sensation and receiving huge applause. In 1979, Croatian performance artist Tom Gotovac lead 100 whistle-blowing participants in performing a piece of music for the festival in Zagreb’s central Ban Jelačić square. At one moment, Gotovac unexpectedly decided to take off all his clothes and streaked down Zagreb’s main high street completely naked. And in 1983, the festival indeed was very nearly banned, after the Slovenian band Laibach as part of their performance, reproduced speeches by the late Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito, while simultaneously displaying a pornographic film, causing the show to be brought to an end by the police.
The Music Biennale Zagreb 2017 takes place from the 22nd – 29th April. It is completely dedicated to new music and has succeeded yet again in attracting some of the world’s leading new composers of contemporary and experimental music. Over the 8 days there will be more than 30 performances. What is more, there is something for everyone, adults and children alike – symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, experimental musical theatre, contemporary dance, jazz, as well as electronic music, performed in a variety of venues, some conventional and some definitely not.
Connecting success for global impact
Aimed at bringing together professionals of Croatian descent, the Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP) has in only 3 years proven the popular Croatian proverb “Zajedno smo jači” or united we are stronger.
With one motto – ‘Global Croatia’ and one goal – ‘To connect’, this relatively new organization has in a short time frame grown to an impressive base of 500 members, in 7 cities throughout the US. ACAP has gathered Croatian entrepreneurs, inventors and professionals from various fields and industries in the USA as well as individuals of Croatian and non-Croatian heritage who are active in the Croatian community.
With the support of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the association held its very first national convention in Washington D.C. just last year. Ever since the Chapters have been busy connecting and collaborating.
The Silicon Valley Chapter held its second event in February, dubbed Silicone Valley Chapter two, gathering almost 60 experts from the Silicon Valley. The association’s national secretary and Silicon Valley Chapter Vice Nikola Meteš said “what’s most significant is that we were able to bring together three groups of the Croatian community living in California, meaning that we had representatives of the so called Old Croatian diaspora, who arrived 50 or more years ago, members of the newer diaspora who have been here for 30 to 40 years, and most importantly the newcomers, who arrived only a few years ago with the aim of developing new companies, or in search of funding, as well as those who came to work for the big IT corporations here in the Silicon Valley.”
The association is currently divided into seven Chapters throughout the US and another three are still in the works. These seven are – Chicago, New York, Cleveland, L.A., Orange County, Silicon Valley and Washington, while the three Chapters that are yet kick off will be in Cincinnati, Austin and Seattle up North. “This means we will practically cover the entire country. Collaboration between Chapters has also proven to be successful. However, the culmination of efforts will be seen at our national conference, which will be held in two weeks in Chicago”, said Meteš.
Over 400 experts and professionals from all of the Chapters as well as others that have not yet joined ACAP are expected to gather at the Illinois Conference which will be held from May 11 – 13. The event is being jointly organized by the Consulate General of Croatia in Chicago and the Chicago Chapter of the ACAP. Topics of discussion will include education, entrepreneurship, legal issues for startup and emerging ventures, journalism and media, athletics, a health tourism breakout session and a social media workshop.
The idea behind these networking efforts is to build a powerful force and offer an exchange of skills and knowledge with our Croatian counterparts, said Meteš.