In 1997, Ivan Josip Skender (Varaždin, 1981) began to study composition at the Zagreb Academy of Music with Željko Brkanović, as the youngest composition student in the history of this institution. In 1999, he began to also study conducting with Vjekoslav Šutej. He has attended conducting seminars and workshops (Klaus Arp, Bertrand de Billy, Zubin Mehta and others), as well as composition seminars and workshops (Michael Jarell, Joszef Soproni). From 2010 – 2012, he pursued his orchestral conducting post graduate studies with Uroš Lajovic in Vienna. His compositions have been performed in almost all countries of Europe, as well as in the USA, Canada and Mexico. In 2011, Skender composed his most extensive work, the opera Stribor's Forest, which was first performed at the Ivan von Zajc Croatian National Theatre of Rijeka within the Zagreb Music Biennale, and which had been performed many times in the year that followed. Skender was the first composer who represented Croatia at the European multimedia festival Music Masters on Air (2012). Ivan Josip Skender has worked as a conductor with numerous Croatian and international orchestras and choirs. Under his leadership, the Palma Collegiate Choir of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Zagreb has been a four-time winner of 1st Prize in the Croatian Choir Competition, and the winner of many other awards. Skender was one of the founders and the first choirmaster of the Girl Choir of Croatia. As a conductor, he is particularly dedicated to performing and first performing the works by Croatian contemporary composers. In 2012, members of the Cantus Ensemble appointed him as their permanent conductor. From 2006, he has been engaged as a choirmaster at the Opera of the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb, and, in 2009, he became Uroš Lajovic's assistant at the Zagreb Academy of Music. He made his debut at the Musikverein in Vienna in 2011 and at the Opera of the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb in 2012 with Gaetano Donizetti opera The Elixir of Love. That same year he conducted the premiere of Blagoje Bersa opera The Shoemaker of Delft, which won him the Society of University Teachers of Zagreb Award. From 2013 – 2014 he served as acting director of the Opera of the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb.