Conductor: Lojze Krajnčan
Marina Martensson (Sweden/Slovenia), vocals
Boštjan Gombač (Slovenia), wind instruments
Goran Bojčevski (Macedonia/Slovenia), clarinet
Nino Mureškič (Slovenia), percussion
Host: Maja Šumej
The opening concert event with Big Band RTV Slovenia and four charismatic musicians, Swedish-Slovenian singer Marina Martensson, Macedonian-Slovenian clarinetist Goran Bojčevski, Slovenian multi-instrumentalist Boštjan Gombač and Slovenian percussionist Nino Mureškič.
At the opening of the Nights in Old Ljubljana Town, we embark on a journey through the diverse musical landscapes of the Iucundus project, which is the result of the author-performance collaboration between Big Band RTV Slovenia, conductor (composer) Lojze Krajnčan, multi-instrumentalist Boštjan Gombač and percussionist Nino Mureškič. This year’s version of the project includes two other charismatic musicians, Swedish-Slovene singer Marina Martensson and Macedonian-Slovene clarinetist Goran Bojčevski. We will also use the opening festival event to announce the results of the competition for the best short story, organized by Radio Slovenia’s Third Program – Ars. The awards will be presented by RTV Slovenia CEO Igor Kadunc, and the winning story will be heard in the interpretation of the actress Sabina Kogovšek.
Boštjan Gombač is a Slovene multi-instrumentalist (known for turning everything into a musical instrument) and composer of music for theater, film and television. He was fascinated by different genres of music already while studying clarinet under the mentorship of professor Jože Kotar at the Ljubljana Academy of Music. He himself says that when he creates, he is inspired and guided by sound: the more unusual it is, the greater its expressive potential. The musician’s activity over the last fifteen years has been documented on about one hundred sound recordings and ranges from ethno to serious music. Gombač is also the author of music for fifty theatrical performances and forty documentaries. He is a master of winds, such as clarinet, tin flutes and ocarina, plays on a musical saw, bodhran and theremin, as well as many other instruments and sounds that are rarely seen on domestic concert stages. He has received many music awards with Terra Folk, including the Radio BBC 3 audience award (World Music Awards). He collaborates with the groups Catalena, Bast, Bachology Quartet, Los Hermanos Muy Simpaticos. He has performed with many well-known names of Slovenian popular and serious music, and with foreign musicians such as Marc Ribot, Greg Cohen, Neil Innes, Tommy Emmanuel, The Cat Empire, John McSherry, Arvid Engegård, Susanne Lundeng, Knut Eric Sundquist, Theodossi Spassov et al.
As a musician, Nino Mureškič devotes himself to percussion. Over more than twenty-five years, he has performed with diverse artists from around the world and recorded numerous recordings and CDs with them. He also recorded the first Slovenian album with original compositions on a frame drum – NinoManas. He began to learn African drumming with Guinea master Mamady Keïta. He continued his studies in New York with master Glen Velez (frame drum, riq, bendir, kanjira). In 2005, he further developed his knowledge by studying Indian rhythmic theory at Pandit Suresh Talwalkar (Mumbai).
Goran Bojčevski, who completed his master’s degree in clarinet with the highest score at the Mozarteum in Salzburg in the class of the famous Alois Brandhofer, is known for his genre versatility (ranging from classic through jazz to ethno). His composing activity is also diverse. He creates music for films, commercials and ballet; he wrote a full-length suite Balkan Portraits and in collaboration with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra he also recorded it. In particular, his compositions are performed at various universities around the world, especially often at the Mozarteum of Salzburg. Bojčevski is the founder of a new Balkan nuevo style that relies on the artist’s Balkan roots, updated with elements of classical and tango music.
Marina Martensson, a Swedish singer, guitarist and songwriter, settled in Izola, Slovenia in 2013 in search of her roots (Slovene ancestors by her mother’s side). For the last six years, she has been »expanding her voice across Slovenia«, as she puts it; it should be added that, as a guest vocalist for the music group Laibach (since 2018), she has been spreading across Europe. In 2018, she performed on Ema (Slovene Eurovision selection contest) with the song Blizu, and made it to the final.
Lojze Krajnčan, a trombonist, conductor, artistic director, composer and arranger, comes from a musical family. He studied trombone at the Secondary Music School in Ljubljana and later at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz and at the Berklee College of Music in Boston (USA). He also studied composition and arranging. As a high school student, he was already noticed by the then conductor of the radio station Big Band Jože Privšek for his outstanding talent. After his return from the USA, Krajnčan performed as the first trombonist in the RTV Symphony Orchestra, and later as a soloist in the Big Band of the same institution. He has performed and recorded at home and abroad. He joined the Ugrin-Divjak jazz quintet and toured extensively around Slovenia and the former Yugoslavia. He has also devoted himself to chamber music in the L’arte Musicale quartet and the brass quintet Jazz Brass. After the retirement of Jože Privšek, he assumed the position of the conductor and artistic director of the Big Band. Many recordings, successful concerts and guest appearances followed. He has collaborated with world-renowned musicians such as Ack Van Royen, Toots Tielemans, Nils Osterd Pedersen, Martin Drew, Johnny Griffin, Boško Petrović and more. The album, which he recorded as the author, arranger and conductor with guitarist Primož Grašič and singers Uroš Perič, Alenka Godec, Anika Horvat and Romana Krajnčan, also enjoyed great success.
Big Band RTV Slovenia is one of the oldest bands of its kind in the world. It has been active continuously since 1945. Bojan Adamič, who conducted the orchestra until the beginning of the 1960s, is most closely associated with the first period of his work. He was succeeded by Jože Privšek, who elevated the band, which was then called Radio Ljubljana Dance Orchestra (PORL), to the highest quality class. The orchestra shone in the territory of the former Yugoslavia and beyond its borders. It was led by Lojze Krajnčan, Petar Ugrin, Milko Lazar, Emil Spruk, Tadej Tomšič and others. Guests also included foreign conductors and soloists (Mercer Ellington, Maria Schneider, Carla Bley, Herb Pomeroy, Mathias Rüegg, Clark Terry, Stjepko Gut, Johnny Griffin, David Murray, Ed Partyka, George Lewis, Bill Holman, Michael Abene, etc.). Between 2002 and 2014, Hugo Šekoranja, a longtime member of the saxophone section, took over the care of artistic leadership and management. Big Band is distinguished by its musical diversity. Together with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, they perform as the RTV Slovenia Review Orchestra which accompanies the annual Slovenska popevka event.