The idea for the Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra project was born at the Jazz Art’s workshop in the first half of 2019. After a few months we got an opportunity to apply for the Western Balkan Fund’s third open call. Our project was chosen from over 290 submitted applications, as one of the 24 winning projects. The project officially took off in May 2020.
In the next twelve months, we started developing the project in few phases, with meaningful contribution of our project partners: Music Academy ‘’Goce Delčev’’, Štip, North Macedonia and Faculty of Music Arts, Belgrade, Serbia.
It began with an open call for young musicians from the Western Balkan countries – aged 18 to 27, and continued with an open call for young composers from this region. We received 50 applications from musicians and 12 from composers. We ended up selecting 21 musicians and 10 composers to be a part of Orchestra and its repertoire.
The selected members of Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra and its composers had an opportunity to work on repertoire and do online consultations with professors Antonio Kitanovski and Vladimir Nikolov, both experts from partner institutions.
We are happy we were able to reach the final phase of the project and succeeded, despite the last-minute cancelations, (due to pandemic restrictions) to find new musicians and reassemble the full Orchestra in Podgorica, from 24 to 30 April.
We attended live concerts at KIC “Budo Tomović” in Podgorica on April 29th and at the Royal Theater Zetski dom in Cetinje on April 30th, and were convinced of the great performing potential of this ensemble and the talent of composers whose works were premiered by Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra.
This project is a showcase of the real cultural cooperation and the result is a joint, multicultural and cross-border youth jazz orchestra. Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra is a beacon of change and it helps bringing closer young musicians to the mission of WBF’s – which is regional cooperation, good neighbourly relations and strengthening of the regional cohesion in the WB region.
We are especially pleased that this project has the potential to be a base for creating regional connections and networks of young jazz musicians and composers, as well as for strengthening the cooperation between partner institutions, all in order to improve and promote talented musicians and composers living and creating in the Balkans.