Mladen Tarbuk (1962), one of the most versatile artists on the Croatian music scene, works with equal success as a composer, conductor, organiser of music events, music writer, pedagogue and producer. He gained international recognition performing from 2004 - 2009 as a regular guest conductor at the German Opera on the Rhine in Düsseldorf, and as a visiting guest conductor at numerous world renowned opera houses and concert halls, working with many distinguished symphony orchestras and opera ensembles (Canada, Mexico, Germany, Israel, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Turkey...). Tarbuk left his mark on the Croatian musical life by major opera productions of the Zagreb University’s art academies, by his long term collaboration with the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra with whom he has recorded extensively (mainly Croatian music), and by founding the Croatian Army Symphonic Wind Orchestra. As Director of the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb, he managed to expand its programme, intensify international collaboration and introduce a top quality Croatian repertoire. Particularly successful premiere productions that he has conducted include Tristan and Isolde and Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. From 2013 – 2014 he served as Music Director of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, and from 2014 he has been its Artistic Director.
Worth mentioning among his numerous national and international awards are the Ernst Vogel Award (1993), the Janáček Award (1993), 1st Prize for the choir piece Tolosa (1993), the Slavenski Award (2003, 2010, 2013 and 2015), the Papandopulo Award (2006 and 2016), the Lisinski Concert Hall Award (2005) and the Milka Trnina Award (2009). His output includes around 80 pieces, which have been performed at major contemporary music festivals (Europamusicale München, Musicora and Le Temps de Soufle Paris, Trieste Prima, Manchester Music Day Festival 1997, World Saxophone Congress Glasgow, Musikprotokoll, Hörrohr and Erasmus in Graz, Moscow Autumn, Zagreb Music Biennale). The works of Mladen Tarbuk have been recorded on numerous CDs (HoneyRock, Orfej and Cantus). His ballet The Streetcar Called Desire opened the 2005 World Music Days Festival in Zagreb. Tarbuk had a special honour of receiving a City of Wuppertal commission for a new piece on the occasion of the death of the cellist and world famous contemporary musician Siegfried Palm. Entitled Über glitzernden Kies, the piece was first performed by Gail Gilmore.
Particularly important is Tarbuk's musicological research in major Croatian symphonic and operatic heritage works, which he edits, prepares for publication and reconstructs. They include the first Croatian opera Love and Malice, Blagoje Bersa diptych Ghosts with Sunny Fields, the opera Nikola Šubić Zrinski, Act 2 of the historical opera Sunčanica, and Dora Pejačević's Symphony.
Mladen Tarbuk is a full-time professor at the Zagreb University's Academy of Music, where he teaches conducting, composition, orchestra and music theory.