Jan Gričar, saxophone
Neža Koželj, piano
César Franck (1822–1890), Sonata in A major, (arr. J. Y. Formeau)
Maurice Ravel (1875–1937), Le Tombeau de Couperin, (arr. Vincent David)
Matija Krečič (1988), novity*
Piet Swerts (1960), Le Tombeau de Ravel
The concert will begin with Sonata in A major by César Franck (originally written for violin and piano), which is one of the most important chamber works of its kind. This mighty four-movement sonata, composed in 1886, was dedicated to the outstanding violinist Eugène Ysaÿ as a wedding gift. The composition is nowadays performed in various arrangements, and this time the violin will be replaced by an alto saxophone that, with its colour and sound, easily recreates a romantic expression.
The concert will continue with a French touch, as Franck’s sonata will be followed by Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin (Couperin’s Tomb). The six-movement piece in the form of a suite is originally written for piano, Ravel orchestrated four movements. The composer tried to imitate a baroque dance suite and the tribute to Couperin was not exactly fundamental. The musicians will perform the four (also) orchestrated movements (Prélude, Menuet, Forlane and Rigaudon), arranged for soprano saxophone and piano by a French saxophonist Vincent David.
A new composition for soprano saxophone and piano by Matija Krečič will follow. The versatile musician – violinist, composer and arranger is very active on the Slovenian music scene, as he works on various projects from classical to jazz music. The composition will premiere at the International Meeting of Saxophonists in Nova Gorica (SAXGO21) in June 2021.
At the end, the musicians will perform the composition named Le Tombeau de Ravel (Ravel’s Tomb) by Belgian composer Piet Swerts. The composer first wrote the composition for piccolo and piano, and then adapted it for soprano saxophone and piano. Similar to Couperin’s tomb, here too the homage to the addressed composer is not of great importance. The piece is all about imitation, a search for Ravel’s compositional techniques and impressionistic timbres. The three-movement work (Monfort l’Amaury, Le Belvédère: Andantino, Petit oiseau mécanique: Allegro) will thus conclude the concert evening – interlacement of standard compositions of the classical repertoire and modern, fresh compositions.
Saxophonist Jan Gričar belongs to the younger generation of successful Slovenian musicians. He graduated with the highest honours, from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana under the supervision of prof. Matjaž Drevenšek and prof. Miha Rogina. He continued his music career in France, where he studied at the Regional Conservatory of Versailles with prof. Vincent David, and obtained a masters’ degree at the prestigious Paris Music Conservatory under the supervision of prof. Claude Delangle. Moreover, he obtained a bachelors’ degree in chamber music with prof. Laszlo Hadady. He regularly performs all over Slovenia, Europe and in Japan. As a soloist, he performed with the Vienna Symphonic orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, RTV Slovenia Symphonic Orchestra, and Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra. In his career, he has worked with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and renowned conductors such as En Shao, Matthias Pintscher, Anton Nanut and Marko Letonja. Gričar placed first in many national and international competitions such as TEMSIG – Slovenian Music Competition for Youth, Fiorindo International Music Competition, SVIREL – International Music Competition, International saxophone competition in Nova Gorica, etc. He was presented with the Škerjanc Award for special achievements in the music field by the Conservatory of Music and Ballet Ljubljana and two other significant awards given by the University of Ljubljana, the Prešeren Award and the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. He was also a scholarship holder of the Ministry of culture Slovenia for many years. He received the Zois Scholarship for gifted students and was a scholarship holder of the Slovene Ministry of Culture. He works as a pedagogue at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet in Ljubljana, where he teaches saxophone and chamber music.
Pianist Neža Koželj began her musical education at the age of six. After graduating from the Conservatory of Music and Ballet Ljubljana, she continued her studies at the Academy of music in Ljubljana under prof. Hinko Haas and in 2017 received her master’s degree in piano solo. During her studies she attended courses of several notable Slovenian and foreign professors among which were Tatjana Ognjanovič, Ruben Dalibaltayan, Tomaž Lorenz, etc. In 2011, she formed Duo Scaramouche with pianist Nadja Rus. Together they studied piano duet at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz under prof. Gil Garburg and his wife prof. Sivan Silver, where they received their master’s degree in 2020. She has won several awards, including Prešeren Award from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, silver prize at the Slovenian national piano competition TEMSIG, 2nd place at the Zlatko Grgošević competition in Zagreb, with her piano duet she received 1st place and gold prize at TEMSIG in 2011 and 2014, 1st prize at the international competition in Tivat, and 2nd prize at the Martha Debelli competition in Graz. With Duo Scaramouche she also received 1st prize at the Golden Classical Music Awards in New York, and as a result performed a recital at the Weill Recital Hall of famous Carnegie Hall. As a soloist and part of piano duo she performed the concert for two pianos and orchestra of F. Poulenc with the Maribor Opera orchestra, and a concert for two pianos and orchestra of W. A. Mozart with the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) under conductor Vasilij Petrenko as a part of the 64. Ljubljana Festival. She currently works as a piano professor and répétiteur at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet Ljubljana. She regularly performs in different chamber ensembles.