Zagreb Soloists | Marija Pavlović, clarinet

Date created: 01.02.2023.
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Zagreb Soloists

Marija Pavlović, clarinet



Felix Mendelssohn:

A Midsummer Night's Dream – Overture (arr. for string ensemble Sreten Krstić)

Leó Weiner:

Divertimento, No. 1, Op. 20

Tempo di Csárdás (quasi alla Marcia) 

róka-tánc: Vivace 

marosszéki keringős: Allegretto moderato (quasi andantino)

verbunkos: Tempo di marcia (un poco grottescamente)

csürdöngölő: Presto 


Bruno Bjelinski:

Clarinet Concerto


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:

Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48

Pezzo in forma di sonatina. Andante non troppo—Allegro moderato 

Valse. Moderato. Tempo di Valse 

Elegia. Larghetto elegiaco 

Finale (Tema russo). Andante — Allegro con spirito 


Notes by Dina Puhovski

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (Jacob Ludwig Felix M., Hamburg, 1809 – Leipzig, 1847) grew up in Berlin, where his mother regularly hosted salons. He played the piano, violin and viola and took lessons in composition from a young age. He attended Karl Zelter’s Sing-Akademie, where he later conducted the performance of the rediscovered St Mathew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach – a composer whose works fascinated him – thus introducing the nineteenth-century audiences to the forgotten and, as was considered at the time, ‘difficult’ genius.

At the age of twelve, he met Goethe in Weimar, who compared him to Mozart and supported his composing. His work was influenced by his sister Fanny, also a composer, and his travels around Italy, England and Scotland. He served as music director in Düsseldorf and conductor at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, where he was one of the founders of the Conservatory. Light, melodious and technically refined, Mendelssohn’s works include numerous piano pieces, symphonies, oratorios, the popular Violin Concerto and classical string quartets.

The Zagreb Soloists concertmaster Sreten Krstić regularly arranges classical works for the ensemble. This evening they will perform Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Mendelssohn wrote the Overture when he was seventeen, inspired by William Shakespeare’s comedy of the same title (which he read in German translation by August Schlegel): first he played it on the piano for his family, then orchestrated it and made a version for two pianos with his sister.

Mendelssohn revisited Shakespeare’s works throughout his life, which he wanted to use as a basis for his operas; seventeen years after the Overture, he composed incidental music for the entire comedy (which includes the famous Wedding March), in which incorporated the existing Overture, characterised by his light and fluid style, with a touch of pompousness required by the ‘theme’. The conductor Marin Alsop wrote that in the Overture Mendelssohn ‘completely captures the magic and frivolity in the ethereal world Shakespeare created.’


Leó Weiner (Budapest, 1885 – Vienna, 1960) was a Hungarian composer and educator. He taught at the Academy of Music in Budapest from 1908, first music theory, then composition and chamber music, and his students include prominent artists such as Antal Doráti, György/Georg Solti and György Kurtág. Weiner received his first music lessons from his brother; he studied in Budapest and won the Franz Joseph Jubilee Prize, a travelling fellowship that took him to Vienna, Leipzig, Paris and Berlin.

Weiner wrote around thirty works, heavily influenced by the composers of the Romantic period, especially Mendelssohn and Brahms. He wrote incidental music, three string quartets, two violin sonatas, as well as the Carnival, a humoresque for orchestra, Pastorale, phantasie et fugue for strings, Serenade for orchestra, five Divertimenti, and textbooks.

Weiner used traditional music in his composing to a lesser extent compared to his famous compatriots. Nevertheless, his Divertimento, No. 1, Op. 20, written in 1933/34 and dedicated to ‘his dear friend Fritz Reiner’, is based on Hungarian music and dance tradition. Subtitled ‘Hungarian Dances’, it comprises his own versions of the dances: the ‘full-bodied’ csárdás is followed by the ‘fox dance’ and the Circle dance of Marosszék; the verbunkos, or the recruiting dance, is followed by the fast ‘barn dance’. Some of the movements became extremely popular in their ‘domestic’ version for piano duo.


Bruno Bjelinski (born Bruno Weiss, Trieste 1909 – Silba, 1992) was a professor at the Academy of Music in Zagreb, where he had studied under Blagoje Bersa and Franjo Dugan; he also held a doctorate in law. He received numerous awards for his works and was a member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts. An exceptionally skilled composer with a distinctive style, Bjelinski composed in different genres, drawing inspiration from the past, other cultures and folk traditions of distant parts of the world, increasingly playing with lively colours, colourful rhythms and spatiality of sound. He wrote 15 symphonies, often with programmatic titles and vocal parts, six sinfoniettas, concertos for piano, violin, cello, viola, flute, bassoon, oboe and clarinet, sonatas for a variety of instruments, quartets, trios and quintets. He also composed vocal cycles and stage pieces – many of them for children. His piano works, as well as other works, are characterised by ‘a Prokofievian transparency of structures’, according to musicologist Eva Sedak, and his entire output by a neo-classicist/neo-baroque constant.

Bjelinski wrote a series of works for wind instruments – concertos, sonatas and serenades. He started composing the Concerto for Clarinet and Strings (1952) in Teresópolis in Brazil, a country he visited on multiple occasions. Its four movements range from a decisive opening in an ascending major scale, followed by the moderato second movement with a pizzicato accompaniment, the melancholy third and the playful final movement. Technical and expressive requirements from the soloist are considerable, and the piece is occasionally included in the programmes of young musicians competitions.

This is what Bruno Bjelinski said about his music and his position in the turbulent twentieth century: ‘My generation is the one of Britten and Shostakovich, I am slightly older then one of them, slightly younger than the other. And I remained traditional in a similar way, always trying to find my own solutions, my own path within this traditionalism. I hold in highest regard those individuals in my generation who were able to take this turn toward new practices initiated by the Second Viennese School, then Darmstadt and so on. I couldn’t do that. It wasn’t in my nature.’


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Votkinsk, 1840 – Saint Petersburg, 1893) is the most popular Russian and, for many, the ‘most Romantic’ composer. His music is characterised by rich melodies and colours, dramatic intensity, careful orchestration and national elements – his broad musical strokes are today considered the sound of the ‘Russian soul’. All this, however, is carried out in a cosmopolitan, stricter form, while Tchaikovsky used to say that the most important thing in music for him is – beauty. He studied composition at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory under Anton Rubinstein, and then taught at the Moscow Conservatory, where he stood out for his education and professionalism, as well as his refusal to side with either ‘conservative’ or ‘progressive’ contemporary composers. His life was marked by his friendship with Nadezhda von Meck, who commissioned works from him and supported him financially when he quit his post at the Conservatory. Tchaikovsky’s most famous works are his symphonies, operas Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades, ballets Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, three piano concertos and a violin concerto, and he also wrote other music for the stage, cantatas and choral works, pieces for orchestra, art songs, numerous pieces for piano and chamber music.

Tchaikovsky wrote Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48, in 1880, as a tribute to the serenades of previous generations. He dedicated it to the cellist Karl Albrecht and intended it for ‘as many as possible’ of string players in the orchestra. With this extensive piece he takes us on a musical journey from a simple introduction, followed by a waltz and a gloomy elegy, to the ‘Russian’ finale, with quotes from two traditional songs.

Tchaikovsky wrote to his publisher Pyotr Jurgenson that he ‘loved this Serenade terribly’, and to Nadezhda von Meck that he had written the Serenade (unlike the 1812 Overture from the same period) ‘from an inward impulse’, adding that he believed that ‘it is not without artistic qualities.’


The renowned Croatian clarinettist Marija Pavlović was born in Dubrovnik. During the war in the 1990s, she left Dubrovnik and continued her education in Zagreb. Becoming independent at an early age played an important part in her journey as an artist, and her desire for further development opened the way to an international career.

Marija Pavlović graduated from the Zagreb Academy of Music under Milko Pravdić and studied with Alois Brandhofer at the Salzburg Mozarteum; in 2002, in her final year, she was awarded the Würdigungspreis by the Austrian Ministry of Science and Culture in Vienna. She also studied with Walter Boeykens, Ivo Lybeert, Guy Deplus, Pascal Moraguès and Yehuda Gilad. She has won numerous awards, including the Yamaha Award, and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and PBZ American Express Award for the most successful young musician of the year. She won First Prize at the AudiMozart International Competition in Rovereto, Italy, and the Poulenc Award at the Ibla Grand Prize International Competition in Ragusa, Italy.

In 2011, her album Glazba... prijateljstvo [Music… friendship], recorded with the pianist Martina Filjak, won three Porin Awards (production, recording and best classical music album). In 2011 she received the Orlando Award for her solo performance with Gli Archi Scaligeri, the La Scala chamber orchestra, at the 62nd Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

Marija Pavlović has given solo recitals and chamber music concerts at numerous festivals in Croatia and abroad, such as the Art Masters in St. Moritz, the Kasseler Musiktage, the Saxon Mozart Festival, the Zomer van Antwerpen, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the Zagreb Summer Evenings, the Rishon LeZion and Seneffe festivals, the Osor Musical Evenings and the Stiftfestival Weerselo. As a soloist, she has collaborated with renowned orchestras and ensembles, including the Montréal and Brussels Chamber Orchestras, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra, Gli Archi Scaligeri, the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, the Croatian Chamber Orchestra, the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, the Rijeka Philharmonic Orchestra, the Montenegrin Symphony Orchestra and the Zagreb Soloists.

A passionate chamber musician, she is a member of De Bewoners Ensemble from Antwerp. In 2018 she recorded the album Hidden Facts with the Focus Chamber Ensemble, with works of Flemish composers. She regularly performs with bassoonist Pieter Nuytten and collaborates with artists such as Radovan Vlatković, Tom Owen, Gordan Nikolić, Celine Flamen, Maria Meerovitch, François-René Duchâble, Stefan Milenković, Enrico Bronzi, Renata Pokupić, Monika Leskovar, Boštjan Lipovšek, Daniel Rowland, Martina Filjak, Maja Bogdanović and Vineta Sareika. She has collaborated with numerous conductors, including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Stanislav Kochanovsky, Valery Gergiev, Ben Gernon, Vjekoslav Šutej, Pavle Dešpalj, Rudolf Barshai, Alan Buribayev, Marc Albrecht, Cristian Măcelaru, Philippe Herreweghe, Alexander Joel, Eliahu Inbal, Darrell Ang and others.

In her breathing techniques as a clarinettist and her work as an educator, she applies her experience from years of doing yoga and Pilates. In 2018 Marija Pavlović was appointed Artist in Residence of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Leader of the Stradun Classic Chamber Music Festival. Since 2021 she has served as a Guest Professor at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp.


The Zagreb Soloists were founded in 1953 as the ensemble of Radio Zagreb under artistic leadership of the renowned cellist Antonio Janigro. For nearly seven decades – under artistic leadership of equally renowned concertmasters such as Dragutin Hrdjok, Tonko Ninić, Anđelko Krpan and Borivoj Martinić-Jerčić – the Zagreb Soloists have retained their exceptional quality, which they regularly showcase at prestigious international concert halls.

Since 2012 the ensemble has performed with the famous violinist Sreten Krstić as its concertmaster, formerly a concertmaster of the Munich Philharmonic.

The Zagreb Soloists gave nearly 4000 concerts on all continents, in world's most famous concert halls, including the Musikverein Vienna, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, the Santa Cecilia Hall in Rome, the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sydney Opera House etc. They have regularly performed at major music festivals, including the Salzburg, Prague, Edinburgh, Berlin, Bergen, Barcelona, and Dubrovnik festivals, and alongside numerous distinguished soloists, such as Henryk Szeryng, Alfred Brendel, Christian Ferras, Pierre Fournier, Leonard Rose, James Galway, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Aldo Ciccolini, Katia Ricciarelli, Lily Laskine, Zuzana Růžičková, Mario Brunello, Isabelle Moretti, Guy Touvron, Marc Coppey, Ray Chen and many others.

Their repertoire includes baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary works, with special focus on Croatian composers, old and new.

They have recorded over seventy albums for Vanguard, EMI, ASV, Eurodisc, Melodia, Hispa-vox, Pickwick and Croatia Records. In 2014 they released a praised CD with works of Boris Papandopulo featuring pianist Oliver Triendl. A year later, the Zagreb Soloists recorded three Cello concertos with cellist Marc Coppey, released by the German record label audite.

The Zagreb Soloists have received numerous award and accolades, including First Prize at Mar del Plata (for the album Concertos of the 18th Century), the Pablo Casals and the Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge Medals, the Vladimir Nazor, Milka Trnina and Josip Štolcer Slavenski Awards for Best Performance of a Work by a Croatian Composer, the Varaždin Baroque Evenings Ivan Lukačić and Jurica Murai Awards, the UNESCO Award, the City of Zagreb Award, the Croatia Records Silver CD, the National Order of Merit, the City of Zagreb Plaque, a number of Porin Music Awards (Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994), the Silver Plaque of the Jeunesses Musicales Croatia and many others.

During the Croatian War of Independence, the Zagreb Soloists gave around seventy benefit concerts, as well as numerous gala concerts promoting the Republic of Croatia. In 2010, the ensemble was awarded the Orlando Grand Prix for outstanding artistic contribution to the Dubrovnik Summer Festival programme.

Nearly seventy years of successful activity of the ensemble is an accomplishment of numerous excellent musicians, members of the Zagreb Soloists throughout the years. All members of the ensemble – past, present and future – share the highest level of skill and discipline along with inexhaustible enthusiasm and love for music, especially chamber performances.