Isidora Žebeljan: Zujte strune (Hum away, hum away, strings!) on Donemus Records

Isidora Žebeljan’s Zujte strune (Hum away, hum away, strings!): Metamorphosis to themes from Mozart’s opera ‘The Magic Flute’ for symphony orchestra will be released by Donemus Records on April 5th…   

“Zujte strune” has been recorded by the Moravská filharmonie Olomouc, conducted by Tomáš Netopil. Written in 2013, this work was commissioned by Bregenzer Festspiele and dedicated to Sir David Pountney. The Pre-Save and Pre-Add are available now.

On platforms like Primephonic and Tidal, the recording comes with the score to read along.

Zujte strune in Donemus Webshop




Isidora Žebeljan

Isidora Žebeljan (Belgrade, 1967-2020) was the most outstanding and internationally acclaimed Serbian composer. She drew international attention with her opera Zora D. which was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation from London. It was premiered in Amsterdam in 2003, directed by Sir David Pountney and Nicola Raab. The same production opened the 50th season of the Vienna Chamber Opera in the same year.

Isidora Žebeljan got commissions from important institutions and festivals such as the Venice Biennale, Bregenz Festival, Berlin Philharmonic Foundation, Accademia Musicale Chigiana Sienna, City of London Festival, Genesis Foundation London, University of Kent, Muziektheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen, Dutch Chamber Choir, International Horn Society, The Eduard van Beinum Foundation The Netherlands etc. She composed works for excellent musical ensembles such as Wiener Symphoniker, The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Brodsky Quartet, Berlin Philharmonic Octet, Dutch Chamber Choir and London Brass. Her compositions were regularly performed in whole Europe, Israel, USA, Canada, Australia and Asia, including the festivals Venice Biennale, Bregenz Festival, White Light Festival (Lincoln Centre New York), Festival RAI Nuova Musica, City of London Festival, WDR-Musikfest, Settembre musica Milano-Torino, Settimana Musicale Senese, Festival Old Music The Netherlands, Stift Festival The Netherlands, ISCM Festivals (Zagreb, Gothenburg, Wrocław, Vancouver), Festival Classique The Hague, Galway Arts Festival, Tallin Summer Music Festival, Musical Biennale Zagreb, Ulysses Theatre Brijuni (Croatia) etc. Among the ensembles and musicians who performed music of Isidora Žebeljan are BBC Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of RAI Torino, Real Filharmonía de Galicia, The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, I Solisti Veneti, New Philharmonia Westfalen, Brodsky Quartet, Berlin Philharmonic Octet, London Brass, Lutosławski Quartet, Dutch Chamber Choir, conductors Paul Daniel, Claudio Scimone, David Porcelijn, Michael Seal, Christoph Poppen, Alexander Rudin, Pierre-André Valade, Peter Dijkstra, and the soloists Stefan Dohr, Joan Enric Lluna, Alessandro Carbonare, Daniel Rowland, Nino Gvetadze, Oliver Triendl etc. Isidora Žebeljan also regularly appeared as a performer (conductor and pianist) of her own works and of the works by other composers.

She conducted concerts in London (with The Academy of St Martin in the Fields) and in Amsterdam, and performed as a pianist with Brodsky Quartet. CD-label CPO from Germany released two CD’s with her music (orchestral music and chamber music for strings, played by the Brodsky Quartet) and CD-label Oboe Classics from London released a CD ‘Balkan Bolero’ with her chamber music for winds.

Isidora Žebeljan studied composition at the Belgrade Music Academy with Vlastimir Trajković (a student of Messiaen). Since 2002 she has held there a position as a Professor of composition. In 2006 Isidora Žebeljan was elected as a member of the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts. In 2012 she was elected as a member of the World Academy of Art and Sciences (WAAS).

Petra Strahovnik wins Berlin Art Prize 2021 for Music

On March 18th, 2021, the Slovenian-Dutch composer Petra Strahovnik received the prestigious Berlin Art Prize for Music. In the words of the jury, “Despite her young age, Petra Strahovnik can already look back on a surprisingly extensive, varied and original oeuvre, with nearly eighty works played by a diverse array of ensembles. Her work is deserving of the Kunstpreis Berlin in the Music Section and of being made known to a broader audience”…   

As a researcher of sound, Petra Strahovnik looks for sounds, structures and forms that defy conventional notions of music and transcend the traditional dichotomy of thought and emotion, body and mind in order to ‘make the mind tremble’, as she puts it herself. At the centre of her work and research are the expressive power of music and the conviction that it alone can move, affect and unsettle a person in their entirety. Her instrumental compositions resemble immersive soundscapes that do not exhibit the specific characteristics of individual instruments but instead generate a total sound with an often suction-like effect. In large part, this total soundscape conceals how it is created using traditional orchestral instruments, until suddenly, out of the dense and at times drone-like textures, individual voices emerge, reminiscent in a phantom-like way of familiar timbres and styles of playing.

New, fascinating possibilities for preparing wind and, in particular, stringed instruments (strings, piano, harp) are key to Petra Strahovnik’s work. Special magnets are attached to a very specific contact and connection points, such as along the violin strings between the fingerboard and bridge, a technique that gives the violins different playing, vibration and radiation qualities. The results are microtonal structures rich in overtones that appear to be electronically enhanced, even though all the sounds are generated purely instrumentally. The fact that the composer is not interested in superficial effects that can be arbitrarily substituted is evident in the experiments she has been systematically carrying out in her various pieces for years, as well as in her exact notation of bowing, speed, pressure and contact point on the strings and her precise notion of the acoustic results.

Rainer Nonnenmann, Köln / Cologne
Rolf Riehm, Frankfurt am Main
Iris ter Schiphorst, Wien / Vienna

In 2019 Petra Strahovnik won the International Rostrum Price for Composers for her work Prana.

More information about Kunstpreis Berlin 2021

Jeroen D’hoe signs with Donemus

Donemus is excited to announce that Belgian composer Jeroen D’hoe is joining Donemus Publishing. His large oeuvre contains symphonies, concertos, an oratorio, a number of chamber music works, solo works, as well as many vocal works. Reaching beyond conventional forms, Jeroen also composes soundscapes and sound installations. His works will soon become available at Donemus…   

Jeroen D’hoe: Donemus inspires me as a composer with its pro-active approach and international appeal. With its rich tradition and future-oriented online platform, this publishing house is the ideal partner to reach the best musicians, ensembles and orchestras. I am very much looking forward to our cooperation!

Davo van Peursen: We are very honored to have Jeroen D’hoe signing with Donemus. With his strong musical language and his superior composing skills, he is one of the most remarkable Belgian composers. We will treasure his compositions and work together with him to find new opportunities for performances. His works certainly deserve a larger audience.

Jeroen D’hoe (1968) is a prolific composer, pianist and musicologist, who engages in various dialogues with other musical styles and other art disciplines, usually commissioned by orchestras, ensembles, festivals and museums. He received a DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) and Master of Music in composition with John Corigliano from The Juilliard School (New York), in addition to Masters in composition (Piet Swerts) and piano (Johan Lybeert and Alan Weiss) at LUCA School of Arts, Campus Lemmens (Leuven) and a Master in Musicology (KU Leuven). Jeroen D’hoe won the National Composition Competition of Queen Elisabeth (2003), the SABAM Prize for Composition (2003) with Toccata-Scherzo, and the Composition Competition of the Province of Flemish Brabant (2002) with Festival Anthem. He received the “Golden Poppy” Award (SABAM) for his oeuvre in the classical composition category (2008).

Jeroen D’hoe’s idiom essentially consists of two components: on the one hand, he draws inspiration from the compositional innovations that composers have implemented in recent decades, and on the other, there is a strong connection with tradition. He also feels a great affinity with twentieth-century composers such as Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Witold Lutoslawski, György Ligeti and John Corigliano. His roots are generally in the large symphonic repertoire with its direct expressiveness. In addition, Jeroen D’hoe mentions the great importance of his training as a musicologist and the research work that followed. They are as essential as his purely musical training. He states that a historical, aesthetic and analytical perspective – from musicology – provides a necessary background for composition. He therefore strives for an ideal interaction between the artistic and the scientific.

Read more…

Saskia Venegas joins climate debate with her work ‘Premonición’

Climate change is a fact and it is sending out clear signals calling for action. Government leaders and heads of state meet every so often but rarely produce satisfactory results. In the face of such a global problem, can personal commitment make a difference? A scientist, an activist, an environmentalist and composer Saskia Venegas will debate this, moderated by Klara presenter Sander De Keere…   

The voice of science will be heard by Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, professor at UCLouvain and Belgium’s best-known climate scientist. His book In het oog van de klimaatstorm (In the eye of the climate storm) offers a look behind the scenes of major international climate conferences. The second speaker is the Spanish-Belgian composer, violinist and music theatre artist Saskia Venegas Aernouts. Among other projects, she has composed music for Milo Rau’s socially engaged theatre. To what extent is her work influenced by issues such as climate change? The third person to take part in the debate was delegated by Extinction Rebellion. Eka van Baaren has been active in the Belgian branch of this radical environmental movement since 2018. The debate will be opened by violist Rhea Vanhellemont, one of the laureates of SUPERNOVA 2020 with the Desguin Quartet, who will perform Premonición (Premonition) by Saskia Venegas Aernouts.


Premonición is a programmatic piece that depicts the emotional struggle of a person confronted with a painful life situation: the death of a loved one. Something inside her tells her that there will be no solution, and although not all possibilities of a cure have been ruled out, she feels that the end is already near. The fear of loss, the fear of death is unbearable and she does everything she can to create some hope.

The composition is characterised by contrasting textures that interrupt each other as a metaphor for the inner conflict that arises when we try to silence our instincts in order not to look the future in the eye. Woven into the structure of the piece, we hear fragments of the first part of a lullaby that reflects the character’s love and care for the person she is about to lose. These caring feelings are interrupted with outbursts of pain, anger, fear and hopelessness. One emotion leads to another, and although they are extreme and antagonistic, they are all intertwined.

The composition was originally written for violin and later, on the occasion of the Peter Benoit Fund Autumn Concert 2020, arranged for viola.

The debate takes place on Tuesday, March 16 at 19h and can be attended online.

Read more…