Maribor Music Festival

I notice that many of my readers, that is, those who must accidentally stumble upon my blog, are from Europe. And given that I am also part Slovenian (the good part), I decided to just take this quick opportunity to post about the 2012 Maribor Festival, in case anyone happened to be in the area.

The home page describes it thusly:

One of the most prestigious musical events in Slovenia will enrich Maribor in the first half of September. The artistic director Richard Tognetti, a violinist and chamber musician of Australian origin, presents musical pieces of the highest rank, surpassing all clichés. The festival is proud of its novelties, premieres of classical music and its multi–media projects; however, it also transcends the borders of classical music with its primal ethnic and jazz music. Among those participating are a number of virtuoso figures performing as soloists and members of the Festival Orchestra, who will host a unique musical workshop with the members of the Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra. The Maribor Festival also attracts young musicians, providing them with ideal opportunities for promotion. The concerts will take place in Maribor and its partner cities. One of the festival’s best features is that it finds historical buildings suitable for hosting events, which means that the festival also takes care of the revitalization of the town’s cultural heritage.

To the wider world Slovenian music is not very well known. From what I’ve heard about the festival, it’s a great event in a great city with interesting and often innovative music particularly in the jazz area, though I’m going only on what I’ve heard from Slovenes, so a bit of bias might be at work. Nonetheless, it is always an interesting subject to check out. For those whose Slovenian cultural knowledge is vague, one of the more notable contemporary Slovenes is Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek, who appeared on the fairly poor Australian program Q&A last year. While the show’s credibility is sub-par, this episode generated huge popularity for the philosopher.  Melbourne journalist Mel Campbell blames the show’s ineptitude on Australia’s ‘increasingly anti-intellectual culture’:  

“Thank god for Slavoj Zizek, then — the Slovenian philosopher and critical theorist, in Sydney for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.

Zizek is a genuinely exciting and influential thinker, at home penning scholarly texts and op-eds on pop culture and global politics. A Marxist who has called for a return to Communicsm, and he’s not afraid to be unfashionable or contrary; he also married a model and has written advertising copy in a 2003 catalogue for deliberately provocative fashion chain Abercrombie & Fitch.

He’s shaggy, bearded and dishevelled, with an ebullient lisp, a habit of gesticulating widely and an enthusiastic, expansively anecdotal manner reminiscent of your eccentric uncle fired up about his pet topic. Basically, he’s the kind of guy who’d never be on Q&A.”

Hopefully people will find Slovenian music just as interesting. The festival runs from the 5th to the 15th of September. Maribor is the 2012 European capital of Culture and will also be a 2013 European youth capital.


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