Vladimir Botev (1984) from North Macedonia was born in Skopje. He studied simultaneously economics and jazz music in Stip. He received a BA in jazz guitar performance from Goce Delcev University in 2015. As a guitarist and double bassist, he played in several jazz ensembles. Thanks to the private lessons and the guidance of Professor Vladimir Nikolov, this young and perspective artist made a huge progress in the field of music arranging during the last decade. Several of his arrangements have been performed by the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Big Band of the Macedonian Association of Jazz Musicians. Vladimir wrote a few pieces for guitar, chamber orchestra and big band. One of his Big Band pieces was performed in Skopje, with prof. Nikolov as a conductor. Vladimir is looking forward to expand his knowledge in music writing.
Sebastian Burneci (1983) is considered as one of the most representative musicians of his generation. He was born in Constanta, Romania, in music family. His basic music training was in classical music at the Queen Mary of Romania Arts College in Constanta (2001), the Romanian National Music University in Bucharest (2006) followed by the second bachelor degree in Jazz at the Prins Claus Conservatoire in Groningen, the Netherlands (2011). He is the founder and leader of Bucharest Jazz Orchestra (from 2012 to present) and also lead trumpet player and soloist of the Romanian National Radio Big Band. He has composed and arranged most of the tracks from Bucharest Jazz Orchestra’s CD – Povesti din Bucuresti (Stories from Bucharest). One of the highlights of his career as a composer is the Unspoken Symphonic Jazz Project, that was performed with the Romanian Radio Chamber Orchestra and released by the Romanian National Radio Broadcasting Company’s label, “Editura Casa Radio”. Beside jazz projects he is an active studio musician and one of the most recorded trumpeters of the Romanian commercial scene. Sebastian has won the highest distinction in the Romanian National Music Olympic Competitions for six consecutive years.
Ivan Jovanovic (1998) was born in Vrsac, small town in Vojvodina (Serbia) where he received elementary and high musical education. Currently he lives in Belgrade where he studies piano at the Faculty of Music. He has been playing piano for the past eleven years – six in classical and five years in jazz music. He played at many jazz festivals in Serbia and the region, such as: Jazzik Subotica, Jazztronic Vrsac, Babel Sound Festival, Valjevo Jazz Fest etc. Being mostly a young performer he is looking forward to expand his knowledge in this field.
Damjan Jovičin (1995) is a young Serbian composer from Belgrade who belongs to the new generation of creative artists and composers of the Balkans. He got his BA and MA degree from the University of Arts in Belgrade and is now pursuing doctoral studies in music composition under professor Zoran Erić. As a student, he participated in many masterclasses and workshops led by Brian Ferneyhough, Tristan Murail, Mark Applebaum, David Rosenboom, Michael Daugherty and others. Damjan’s pieces are regularly performed by many notable ensembles such as: orchestra and choir of the RTS Serbian Broadcasting Corporation, Hermes ensemble, Mivos Quartet, Manojlović Quartet, Zagreb Flute Ensemble, String Orchestra of Faculty of Music in Belgrade, Belgrade Guitar Duo, etc. His work was presented at Darmstadt Summer Course for new music, ISA (International Summer Academy of University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna), Time of Music in Finland, Walden Creative Music Retreat (New Hampshire, USA), and Belgrade Music Festival (BEMUS). Concerts with his original music were held in Luxemburg as a part of the cycle Les Concerts du Foyer européen, and at Banski Dvor Cultural Center of Banja Luka (Damjan Jovičin i Performans Kolektiv). Damjan is collaborating with many artists in organizing events and creating interdisciplinary works, and his ongoing collaboration with Japanese/Australian artist Eiichi Tosaki is just one of them. He composed a masterful piece ‘’Strune’’, written for eighteen guitars.
David Mastikosa (1992) is a Bosnian compositor of the younger generation. He completed undergraduate and master studies at the Academy of Arts at the University of Banja Luka, in the class of professor Tatjana Milošević Mijanović. Currently, he is in his third year of PhD studies of composition at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad and he is a senior teaching assistant at the Department of Musical Theory and Pedagogy of University of Banja Luka. Mastikosa is one of the most active Bosnian film and media music composers. He is the music author of the multiple award-winning documentaries “Lica Lafore” and “Djeca” by Denis Bojić. In addition to the documentaries, he actively writes the music for short and animated movies as well as the music for theater. He was awarded for the best music in contemporary film by British Council Ukraine in cooperation with Dovzhenko-Centre. Mastikosa’s music is exclusively published by Donemus Publishing House of Contemporary Classical Music from the Netherlands. He is also an alumnus of the French talent school Académie musicale de Villecroze. Mastikosa is the author of over 70 different compositions performed at festivals and events around the world.
Mak Murtic (1988) is a composer and saxophonist from Zagreb, Croatia. He showed the initial interest in music during his performance in various bands in mid to late 2000s. In 2010 he moved to London to pursue his studies at Middlesex University where he established his own alternative jazz orchestra Mimika. Since then, Mimika orchestra has released three concept albums about various sociopolitical topics. During this period he worked with various London based ensembles and groups ranging from jazz, classical, experimental and club music. In 2013 Murtic became a member of Sound and Music’s “Adopt a Composer” program which is working on a piece for the Clapham Community Choir. In the meantime, he recorded an album with the Croatian Radio Television Jazz Orchestra, written for the Septet Ad Libitum of the Zagreb Symphony. His pieces were performed by students at the Purcell School, White Flower ensemble, Tom Atherton and other musicians. He composed music for a few short films as well as arrangements for various ensembles and an immersive theatre piece. In recent years, Murtic has been centered in Zagreb, Croatia and he wrote music for various films, theatres and ensembles (notably “Granice” commissioned by the Zagreb Dance Centre and “Jedna od nas”, a documentary by Đuro Gavran). He participated in various one-off projects and collaborative projects, including One Beat Balkans (2019), Croatian Improvises Orchestra (2019), orchestral project with Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin and Wood), arrangements for Darko Rundek and the Croatian Radio television Jazz Orchestra, piece for Sinković & Merčep percussion duo for the Zagreb Musical Biennale (2019) and others. Beside Mimika Orchestra he actively performs with bands Antenat and Truth ≠ Tribe. In 2020 he has established Rika Muzika Label with Sara Al Hamad. Since 2019, Murtić is a facilitator and collaborator in the educational and artiistic program One Beat Balkans. In 2020 he wrote music for the film “Inkorničata” which was premiered in November as part of the European Capital of Culture Rijeka 2020. He is currently writing music for the “Scena Amadeo” commission for Ensemble Illyrica, and he is working on a number of short films and the new project for Mimika Orchestra entitled “Altur Mur”.
Rok Nemanic (1993) is a successful Slovenian trumpet player of the younger generation. His music career began in Sezana where he attended the local music school. He regularly participated in competitions in Slovenia and abroad and received many awards. He brought his knowledge to perfection by attending seminars of the world-renowned trumpet players (Bo Nilson, Jim Rotondi etc.). He studied at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet in Ljubljana. His first field of study was classical music, under Peter Jevsnikar, and, in 2012, he completed his study of jazz music, under David Jarh. Currently, he is studying under Daniel Noesig at the GMPU in Klagenfurt. He played with the Big Band RTV Slovenia three times during a concert cycle »Young Jazz Musicians«. He regularly participates with the Slovenian RTV Big Band as a substitute player, and he works and records with Slovenian big bands. He is the founder of the Balkan Boys Band and Pickpocket Swingers. He wrote three albums for his own band Balkan Boys. Last year he started to write a program for his band and wind orchestra.
Nevena Pejcic (1996) was born in Subotica, Serbia, where she attended high music school in two departments: classical and jazz piano. In July 2015 she was admitted to the Department of Jazz and Popular Music of Belgrade Faculty of Music, where she started her MA studies in 2019. During her studies, she took part in many national and international music competitions in Belgrade, Zrenjanin, Cuprija, Sabac, Budapest, Graz, Gorizia, Cluj (Romania) and received several awards. Since 2018, she has been playing piano in National Theatre in Belgrade. She performed in the plays “Bolivud” (directed by Maja Pelevic) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, and wrote music for children’s play “Home” produced in Mionica village (directed by Zagorka Stojanovic).
In 2018, Nevena started a band MING Vocal Quartet working as arranger, pianist, and composer. With the MING Quartet she has performed at many festivals and events: Nishville Jazz Festival, Belgrade Stories, Subotica City Day, Karusel (Cacak), Jazz in the Park (Romania), Jazz Festival (Kosovska Mitrovica), Banski Dvor (Banja Luka), Pancevo Jazz Festival, Novosadski Jazz Festival, Night of Museums in Subotica, and recorded her original arrangement of Black Nile, well-known jazz standard. Currently, they are working on their own original compositions, and they are getting ready to release their first album. As one of thirty best art works in Serbia in 2020, Nevena won the prize from the Serbia Creates Association.
Gordan Spasovski (1990) is a pianist and composer based in Skopje, Macedonia. He received his music education as a classical pianist at Music school “Sergej Mihajlov” in Stip, Macedonia, and later on as a jazz pianist at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria. As a soloist, leader of his trio and member of few large orchestras, Spasovski performed at many international jazz festivals. He wrote six compositions for his jazz trio album “Light Pillar”, six compositions for Marija Dimitrijevic’s jazz vocal album “Ogledalo”, a few compositions for Big band and other ensembles (jazz nonet and string ensemble, jazz septet, etc.). He appears on three albums as a sideman: “The Backyard Jazz Orchestra”, “A Tribute to Nat King Cole” (John Ilija Apelgren) and “The Music of Dragan Gjakonovski – Shpato” (Martin Gjakonovski). As a co-leader, he appears on the “Midnight Conversation” duo album, together with the Macedonian vocalist John Ilija Apelgren. Since 2016, Gordan is the pianist of the “ZJM Big Band”. He performed with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as with many notable musicians.
Simona Strungaru (1982) is Romanian pianist, composer and orchestra conductor. She studied piano and orchestral conducting at the National University of Music in Bucharest and graduated with the master degree from the Amsterdam Music Conservatory. She is the permanent conductor of Bucharest Jazz Orchestra and contemporary music ensemble Sonomania with which she participates at many international festivals. She also conducted a contemporary opera project ‘’Fidelio Esti Tu!’’ (2020) and the world premiere of the contemporary opera S.A.L.O. by Michael Karr (The Standard American Lexicographical Opera). She composed music for various instrumental and vocal configurations in a variety of styles, from classical music to electronic etc. She composed the symphonic suite Gaston commissioned by the Bucharest City Hall which was performed by Simona Strungaru Symphonics Ensemble and the visual artist Pisica Pătrată during the White Nights of Bucharest Festival (2015). Her work Chant was included in the N-escu project (2020) which is dedicated to famous Romanian composer George Enescu and it was published by Editura Muzicala. She’s the author of DIOSA Simfonic EDM project (2017), based on her alter-ego character and ‘’Firestarter by Diosa’’ (2019) simfonic tribute to the music of the bend The Prodigy. Currently Simona is recording original music with American trumpet player Alex Sipiagin and Bucharest Jazz Orchestra.