Eva Vrtačnik, oboe
Živa Loštrek, oboe
Tomaž Močilnik, clarinet
Matic Kuder, clarinet
Marko Zupan, flute
Brina Kafol Žust, flute
Luka Mitev, bassoon
Tonko Huljev, bassoon
Andrej Žust, horn
Blaž Ogrič, horn
Gaetano Donizetti (1797 —1848), Sinfonia for Winds in g minor, A509
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 —1791), Symphony No. 31 in D major, KV297
*** Intermission ***
Joachim Raff (1822 —1882), Sinfonietta, Op. 188
Ensemble.si is composed of internationally successful Slovenian musicians who live and work abroad. It is led by the Berlin Philharmonic member Andrej Žust.
Skilled Slovenian musician Eva Vrtačnik, is already making a notable mark on the world of oboe. While pursuing her studies, she has participated in numerous national competitions, garnering two first prizes, three coveted gold awards and third prize at the renowned international OFF Beat competition in Krško. Her exceptional talents have also earned her two first prizes and the distinguished title of laureate for achieving a perfect score in the international wind instrument competition in Požarevac.
Following the completion of her master’s degree at the esteemed Academy of Music in Ljubljana, where she studied under the tutelage of Matej Šarc, Eva continued her academic journey at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, under the guidance of renowned professors Max Artved and Joakim Dam Thomsen. Currently, she is perfecting her skills as a soloist at the prestigious Syddansk Musikkonservatorium, where she is mentored by the illustrious Henrik Skotte. Eva’s musical prowess has allowed her to play with various orchestras and ensembles across Slovenia, Sweden, and Denmark. Most notably, she has performed with the esteemed Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, and the Esbjerg Ensemble. Moreover, she has also played solo English horn in the Odense Symfoniorkester for two seasons.
Živa Loštrek first undertook the oboe under the guidance of Professor Janez Treven. She began developping her personal style under Professor Maja Kojc, at the Ljubljana Music and Ballet School (now Ljubljana Music and Ballet Conservatory), which she further refined at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana under the instruction of Professor Božo Rogelja. She completed her postgraduate studies in the class of Keiko Yamamoto at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Köln, where she then joined the Chamber Opera Orchestra. During her studies, she won numerous competitions, including several first prizes at the national TEMSIG competition, the Škerjac Prize at the Music School, and the Prešeren Prize for students at the Academy of Music. No stranger to the art of composition, Živa’s original music spans both chamber music and theatre music. Aside from being a passionate pedagogue, she is also an ardent instrumentalist. As an orchestral oboist she played with various professional orchestras in Slovenia and Germany. As a soloist she performed with the Ljubljana National Theatre Orchestra, among others. As evidenced here, Živa also enjoys performing with chamber ensembles. She played in all three roles at many Slovenian festivals (such as the Ursus Festival in Zagorje, the Halieti Festival in Izola, and the eminent Ljubljana Festival), though she currently primarily performs abroad.
Tomaž Močilnik started his music journey in his native Slovenian Carinthia region, before moving to Klagenfurt in 2005. He went to a Slovenian high school there and studied music at the Carinthian State Conservatory of Music with Professor Hubert Salmhofer until 2009. After finishing high school, he went to Graz to study music, where he graduated with honours in 2014 under the guidance of Gerald Pachinger. He then spent two years gaining experience with well-known conductors and musicians at the Orchestral Academy of the Berlin State Opera, led by Daniel Barenboim. Since September 2016, he has been a solo clarinettist in the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, with which he performs across Europe and the world.
Matic Kuder embarked upon his musical journey under the tutelage of his uncle, Peter Kuder. After graduating from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, his musical journey led him to completing his master’s studies under the guidance of Gerald Pachinger at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. He has refined his skills under the tutelage of a bevy of renowned clarinettists. Kuder’s talents have garnered critical acclaim and led to collaborations with many prestigious international orchestras, such as the HR-Sinfonieorchester, the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics.
Matic enthralled audiences as a soloist with the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, the Euphony Orchestra, the Slovenian RTV Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber String Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, and the Symphony Orchestra of the Slovenian National Theatre in Ljubljana.
He is the recipient of the coveted Škerjanc Award, the Prešeren Award of the University in Ljubljana and the Betetto Award. Between 2017 and 2021, Matic played solo clarinet at the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra. At the close of that same year, he was appointed e-flat clarinettist of the illustrious Berlin Philharmonic.
Flautist Marko Zupan, studied under Prof. Matej Zupan at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He then pursued further studies with Prof. Pierre-Yves Artaud at ENMP “Alfred Cortot” in Paris followed by Prof. Georges Alirol at the Conservatoire National de Musique de Créteil “Marcel Dadi”, earning the Diplôme Supérieur d’Enseignement and d’Exécution and the Diplôme Supérieur de Concertiste de Flûte. He left Paris to undertake postgraduate studies at the renowned “Mozarteum” in Salzburg with celebrated Slovenian flautist Irena Grafenauer. He was fortunate to have also received guidance and mentorship from other illustrious flautists such as Emmanuel Pahud, Peter-Lukas Graf, Michael-Martin Koffler, Felix Renggli, and Sophie Cherier. Notably, he participated in the last three masterclasses of the legendary Prof. Aurele Nicolet (in Paris, Hvar, and Weimar). During his studies, he won several Slovenian national as well as international music competitions. Marko is always striving to broaden his repertoire. To wit, he has premiered many compositions, especially by the younger generation of Slovenian composers. Additionally, he has taken classical pieces originally composed for other instruments and arranged them for the flute. He played with various esteemed orchestras such as the Berlin Symphony, the German National Orchestra, the Brandenburg Symphony, Filharmonia Sudecka, Philharmonisches Orchester des Staatstheaters Cottbus, Evian Festival Orchestra, Mozart Sinfonietta Salzburg, Neues Kammerorchester Potsdam, Philharmonie der Nationen and others. He is the founder and artistic director of the Slovenian International Music Festival “Ursus”.
Flautist Brina Kafol Žust’s passion for the flute was first fanned by esteemed Professors Nataša Hladnik and Matej Grahek at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. She continued her studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna with the assistance of the accomplished Professor Wolfgang Schulz, and later completed her master’s degree in Graz with distinguished Professor Erwin Klambauer. She also pursued advanced training with world-renowned musicians such as Emmanuel Pahud, Robert Aitken, Gaspar Hoyos, James Galway, and Felix Renggli.
Brina has won numerous national and international awards, including 1st prize at the Slovenian national TEMSIG competition and a special award for best interpretation at the competition in Povoletto, Italy. Until 2014, she held the position of regular solo flautist at the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra. Currently, she regularly collaborates with major symphony orchestras in Germany. For more than five years, she has been a substitute solo flautist with the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne and has collaborated with the Berlin Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Film Orchestra Babelsberg, and the New Chamber Orchestra from Potsdam. Brina is an active chamber musician and member of the Slovenian Flute Trio.
Slovenian bassoon player Luka Mitev received his very first instructions in bassoon from his father Zoran Mitev at the tender age of seven. He went on to complete his bachelor’s degree in Salzburg under the tutelage of the renowned Prof. Marco Postinghel. Next, his thirst for knowledge took him to Berlin, where he is currently pursuing a master’s degree with Prof. Volker Tessmann at the prestigious Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. His impressive talent was recognized and rewarded by the Slovenian cultural ministry with scholarships for both degrees. Mitev took to the international stage as a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra from 2016 to 2019 followed by a season with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester in 2020/2021. He has also claimed multiple national and international accolades, including the coveted first prize at the Concertino Praga in 2014. Mitev’s awe-inspiring performances have taken him across Europe, where he has shared his talent with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and many others. He also regularly plays in various chamber music ensembles. Since January 2021, Mitev has been a member of the Karajan Academy of Berlin Philharmonic, where he receives lessons from principal bassoonist Stefan Schweigert, as well as other orchestra members.
Bassoonist Tonko Huljev, began his musical journey on the piano but soon found his true passion in the rich and soulful tones of the bassoon, which he learned under the tutelage of his father Damir Huljev. In 2004, he embarked on his studies at the prestigious University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich, where he honed his skills under the expert guidance of the renowned Prof. Eberhard Marschall. Tonko’s prodigious talents have earned him numerous accolades and awards, including first prizes at the regional and national TEMSIG competitions in 2001 and 2004, respectively. He also emerged victorious from the 2002 Croatian national competition in Dubrovnik, having achieved the highest score. A year later, he triumphed in the competition for all instruments in Povoletto. Huljev continued to excel during his studies, winning second prize in the prestigious German Universities Music Competition in Detmold in 2009. His talent and skill have afforded him the opportunity to perform at some of the world’s most renowned concert halls, including the Wiener Musikverein, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, KKL Luzern, Royal Albert Hall London, and La Scala in Milan. Tonko’s musicianship earned him the chance to collaborate with esteemed conductors such as Franz Welser-Möst, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons, Andris Nelsons, Bruno Weil, Zubin Mehta, and Jonathan Nott. He has also had the honour of performing alongside notable musicians such as Stefan Schilli, François Leleux, Marco Postinghel, Andras Adorjan, Wolfgang Gaag, and Johannes Hinterholzer. In 2009, Tonko was invited to play solo bassoon with the prestigious Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra. The same year, he was also appointed as a member of the Orchestra Academy of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Tonko continued on his musical path, and in 2011, became the solo bassoonist of the Hof Symphony Orchestra.
Horn player Andrej Žust graduated from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, where he had studied with professors Jože Falout and Boštjan Lipovšek. He honed his skills at masterclasses with Hermann Baumann, Radovan Vlatković, Froydis Ree Wekre. He also studied at the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonics on a full scholarship. He won the competition for Slovenian young musicians three times in the category of solo horn and once at the international competition in Udine where he took not only first prize, but also two special awards, and was declared absolute winner of the competition. As a chamber musician, he won the national chamber group competition in 2004 with a horn quartet and in 2006 with a wind quintet. Moreover, he proved his skill as a quarterfinalist at the prestigious ARD competition with the Savitra wind quintet in 2006 and as a semi-finalist at the Young Talent competition in Bratislava. Beyond his impressive competitive track record, Andrej regularly graces the international stage with his artistry at festivals around the world. As a member of the world-renowned Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, he has had the privilege of collaborating with the most prestigious conductors and soloists. His impressive achievements also include solo performances with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin Baroque Soloists Orchestra. Since 2011 he is a member of the world’s foremost orchestra – the Berlin Philharmonic.
Before graduating from the Ljubljana Academy of Music under the guidance of Professor Boštjan Lipovšek, Blaž Ogrič had collected quite a few high rankings at various youth competitions including first prize at the 2007 international competition of young soloists and chamber ensembles in Belgrade, first prize at the 2011 TEMSIG competition, and first place in the highest category at the 2015 international competition in Varaždin. He is the recipient of the prestigious Škerjanc Award for exceptional success in the artistic promotion of the Conservatory and was awarded the coveted Student Prešeren Award for his performance of Strauss’s Horn concerto No. 1. He trained at masterclasses with some of the world’s most highly regarded professors (Radovan Vlatković, Johannes Hiterholzer, Luiz Carlos Garcia, Dale Clevenger, and Will Sanders) and performed with excellent conductors, including Neville Marriner, Philippe Jordan, Daniel Harding, Christoph Eschenbach. He played with a variety of European orchestras (Camerata, Salzburg, Chamber Orchestra Zadar, Haydn Philharmonics, etc.), is a member of various chamber ensembles, and, last but not least, a renowned soloist; In 2019 his solo performance of Mozart’s first Horn Concerto with the RTV Symphony Orchestra, for example, was praised by numerous critics. Even during his secondary school years at the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music, he regularly substituted at Slovenian symphonic orchestras, a prelude to his current employment as the first horn with the Slovenian Philharmonics.
Admission: 10 €