14. June
at 20.30
Ljubljanska stolnica (Ljubljana Cathedral) - Ljubljana

Pre-Festival Concert: VOKALNA AKADEMIJA LJUBLJANA – The Renaissance Sound Treasury from Hren’s Choirbooks (Slovenia)

Conductor: Stojan Kuret

Edo Milavec Brown, cantus 1
Aljaž Bastič, cantus 2
Tomi Krpan, altus 1
Matej Velikonja, Žan Rojko, altus 2
Andrej Klemen, Marko Jenko, Martin Petrovčič, Urban Velikonja, tenor 1
Andrej Kukovec, Tomaž Sušnik, Matej Prevc, tenor 2
Goran Rutar, Rok Tomažič, bassus 1
Aleksij Valentinčič, Boštjan Pulko, Miha Likar, bassus 2

Erazem Žganjar, recorder cantus 1
Ana Birsa Krušec, recorder cantus 2
Nika Volčjak, recorder altus 1
Eva Majcen, recorder altus 2

Tomaž Sevšek Šramel, organ
Klemen Karlin, organ


Pietro Antonio Bianco (1540—1611), Kyrie, from the mass “Percussit Saul mille” a8, (NUK, Ms 341) *

Giulio Belli (1560—c.1620), Deus in adjutorium a8, (NUK, Ms 341) *

Francesco Stivori (c.1550—1605), Canzone terza

Andrea Gabrieli (1532—c.1585)
O salutaris hostia a8, (NUK, Ms 207)
Ave Regina caelorum a8, (NUK, Ms 207)

Pietro Antonio Bianco (1540—1611), Credo, from the mass “Percussit Saul mille” *

Giaches de Wert (1535-—1596), O sacrum convivium a5, (NUK, Ms 207)

Orlando di Lasso (1530—1594)
In me transierunt irae tuae a5, (NUK, Ms 207)
Resonet in laudibus a5, (NUK, Ms 207)

Orazio Vecchi (c.1550—c.1603), Euge serve bone a4, (NUK, Ms 207)

Pietro Antonio Bianco (1540—1611), Sanctus, from the mass “Percussit Saul mille” *

Dominique Phinot (c.1510—c.1556), O sacrum convivium a8, (NUK, Ms 207) **

Giovanni Croce (c.1557—1609), Ornaverunt faciem templi a8, (NUK, Ms 232)

Baldassare Donato (c.1530—1603), Verbum caro factum est a8, (NUK, Ms 207)

Claudio Merulo (1533—1604), Toccata quinta

Johannes de Cleve (c.1528—1582), Agnus Dei, from the mass “Vivre ne puis” a4 *


* transcribed by Klemen Grabnar
** transcribed by Janez Höhfler

The concert is a part of a wider artistic research and performative project reviving the Choirbooks of the Bishop of Ljubljana Tomaž Hren (bishop 1597—1630) through transcribing, publishing, and performing the musical pieces they contain. The leading Slovenian musicians that will transform these records to music include the chorists of Vokalna akademija Ljubljana conducted by artistic director Stojan Kuret and accompanied by a quartet of recorder players and two organists. 

The Choirbooks of the Bishop of Ljubljana Tomaž Hren from the collection of codices from Gornji Grad are preserved among rare and old manuscripts at the Slovenian National and University Library. Though they form a vital part of Slovenian musical and general history, they have thus far not been easily accessible to the general public. The manuscripts are a unique historical source offering an unparalleled glimpse into the music at the break of the seventeenth century, not only due to their immaculate condition, but also because they contain unicae, i.e. compositions that are not found anywhere else. The project unveils previously unknown works by less known composers, whose works may have travelled from Venice, across Graz, all the way to the greatest royal courts of Central Europe. And thirdly, these extensive codices are also significant in view of their provenance, since Gornji Grad, where they were created, held a residence of the bishops of Ljubljana and even their Co-cathedral (ecclesia concathedralis).

The project is run in collaboration with the leading experts in the field of musical research and preservation of immaterial cultural heritage, such as Dr Klemen Grabnar (SASA Insitute of Musicology), who has been researching and transcribing this one-of-a-kind source for years. Once the select compositions are transcribed and equipped with a critical edition, they will be published and presented at concerts. The programme of the first concert of the said series includes the most representative pieces (psalms, hymns, magnificats) with a special emphasis on the polychoral division and on the compositions which were preserved exclusively in the said codices. These works will be presented by an exclusively male choir of Vokalna akademija Ljubljana (falsettos taking the upper registers) accompanied by two organs (organo sequente) and a quartet of recorders. The Ljubljana Cathedral Church of St Nicholas is the perfect venue for this kind of concert, since it features as many as three organs and three aisles with great acoustics. We will make use of all three of these along with the two connecting passageways to form a spatial arrangement modelled on the Venetian school known from St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. In this way, specific architectural elements will be utilised to authentically stylistically revive works form the manuscripts that attest to the connections between the greatest music creators of the time and their integration in the wider European cultural space.

The choir of Vokalna akademija Ljubljana (VAL) counts twenty exceptional experienced singers from across Slovenia. Ever since it was founded, the choir has been attaining the topmost results at international competitions. In 2009 it convincingly won in all four registered categories at the international choir competition in Arezzo, Italy earning the Grand Prix Città d’Arezzo. With this the choir of VAL became the first exclusively male choir in history to have qualified for the European Grand Prix, which took place in Varna, Bulgaria. In fall of 2010, the organisers of Polyfollia invited VAL to participate in this top-tier French competition. In the same year, the choir also released their first album. In July 2011 the choir along with the Baroque chamber ensemble Val Camerata and soloists performed three repetitions of H. Purcell’s Baroque opera Dido and Aeneas and took to the stage with Marko and Bernarda Fink in August of the same year. In Arezzo, they received the prestigious 2011 Guidoneum Award for exceptional achievements and their contribution to the development of the world of choral music. In the same year, they also won the 1st Grand Prix Vallee d’Aoste 2011 at the Concours international du chant choral Vallee d’Aoste. They followed these victories up with international tours to China and France. In 2014, they marked the centennial of World War I by performing with the esteemed Slovene Philharmonic in Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia. Another international tour followed in 2015 (Austria, Italy, Slovenia), as did four new albums. In 2017, the choir toured The Netherlands (Amsterdam, Den Haag, Haarlem) and prepared a series of concerts dedicated to the music of Franz Schubert. In 2018, on its tenth anniversary, VAL received a Special Award of the Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities for ten years of artistic excellence and its extraordinary contribution to the development of vocal music. The choir is led by artistic director and conductor Maestro Stojan Kuret, while its quality is further cemented by assistant conductor Tine Bec and assistant conductor for vocal technique Martina Burger.  

Co-founder, conductor and artistic director of Vokalna Akademija Ljubljana Stojan Kuret graduated in conducting from the Music academy in Ljubljana and piano from the Giuseppe Tartini Music Conservatory in Trieste, where he later became a professor (1983—2022). Already during his studies, he established the children’s choir of Glasbena Matica Trieste (1974). He is the recipient of the Gallus commendation for extraordinary achievements in music as well as the Commendation of the city of Ljubljana, and the Golden commendation of the Public Fund for Cultural Activities of the Republic of Slovenia. For ten years, he served as the artistic director and conductor of the widely and internationally acclaimed APZ Tone Tomšič Choir of the University of Ljubljana (1992-2002). In 2003 and 2004, he was chief conductor of the Chamber choir of RTV Slovenia (national radio and television choir). He became the artistic director of the Vokalna Akademija Ljubljana choir in 2008 and took it on a path of international victories and recognition. In 2012 he received the Prešeren foundation award, the highest national recognition in culture. In 2019 he received the Highest Golden Commendation of the Public fund for cultural activities of the Republic of Slovenia for his creative and successful work for choral development in the national choral music. Stojan Kuret is frequently invited to lecture at seminars at home and abroad and regularly serves as a juror at major international choral and choir conductor competitions.


Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, Organ Intonations; Conceptual design, implementation, and artistic direction by Stojan Kuret. Project also included Klemen Grabnar, research associate at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Musicological Institute; Edo Milavec Brown (transcription of sheet music). The concert was supported by the Public Agency for Research Activities of the Republic of Slovenia (ARRS) as part of the project “Digital Presentation of the Long-Sixteenth-Century Church Music Connected to Carniola” (J6-2586).

Complimentary tickets, courtesy of Adria Media Ljubljana, GenLan, and Essai & Acai, can be collected an hour before the concert at the venue. Reservations are not possible.

In collaboration with:


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Izdelava spletne strani: Pozitiven Design, Oblikovanje: LUKS Studio