Leading up to the 13th World Harp Congress this July in Hong Kong, we’re talking with performers for the ever-popular WHC Focus on Youth showcase concerts. Check in each week as we present insights from these talented young artists.
Give us some background: when did you start playing, what’s your current age, and who do you study with?
I have been playing the harp since I was 8. Now I am 16 years old and I am finishing my secondary music school in the class of teacher Dijana Sretenovic in Music school “Mokranjac” in Belgrade.
Tell us about your WHC program. How did you choose your repertoire and what do you like about the music?
I think that is a very good decision made by of the organizer of WHC to organize the program in such a way as to have one composition from the performer`s country, one from romantic period, and a modern composition. I decided to play the following compositions: “Serbian Dance,” by Lj. Nikolic, which has ethno motives, “Carnaval de Venise,” by F.Godefroid, a composition denoting romantic and luxurious Venice, and “Spiders,” by Patterson which is a very specific composition.
Have you ever attended a World Harp Congress?
This is my first participation at the World Harp Congress. I am especially delighted about the attention that the organizer pays to the young talents. I am very honored and motivated because I will have the opportunity to play at such a big and important manifestation.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get to Hong Kong?
As soon as I arrive, I will make a few selfies in the beautiful city of Hong Kong. Then I will call my friend Christie, a young harpist from Hong Kong, who has been my pen-friend for a couple of years. I will go to the Hall where I will play and I will also go on a sightseeing tour of Hong Kong.
Which harpist do you most admire?
For years I have been particularly inspired by Isabelle Moretti, Xavier de Maistre and Remy van Kesteren who I also had a chance to meet.
Which harpist are you most looking forward to meeting in person at the WHC?
I would like to meet Susan Mc Donald, Emanuel Ceysson and the composer Patterson whose composition I will play at the Congress.
What’s the most memorable musical performance you’e ever attended?
I can still remember Xavier de Maistre playing Gliere`s concert for the harp and the orchestra with great virtuosity, and I simply did not know what to do- whether to follow his fingers or to close my eyes and enjoy the music.
What’s your most memorable performing experience?
It is a well-known fact that the premieres have a special emotional atmosphere. On March 8th this year, I played with the Symphony orchestra of Serbian Radio and Television. It was Ginastera`s concert for the harp and the orchestra. It was not my first performance of this concert, but it was also the first time that the Orchestra played it. I felt wonderful because this work demanded a special way of playing the harp. This time the harp had its expressive dramatic and tone sharpness as well as percussion strength.
What advice would you give a young student wanting to start harp?
My advice for the young harpists is to play the harp only if they can become one with the instrument, if they really love classical music because it is the basis of the harp playing. They should be absolutely devoted to their work, i.e. to their aim and they should also have their role models.
What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
Among many advice, I would pick the one from the harpist and professor Dalibor Bernatovic: “I wish you were still an excellent musician, but you should also be a good man which is very important in your life, because only then will you be respected by everyone”.
When you’re not playing the harp what do you like to do?
When I do not play, I go to the classes of jazz ballet, go walking with my friends, read books, go to the concerts and I can also always find some time to play with my little dog.
What’s on your playlist?
First of all, I listen to classical and modern music, but I also like ethno music because it enables me to get to know the world much better.
Finish this sentence: In 10 years I see myself…
…In ten years I hope I will be a performer at all great world scenes and I will also be a successful composer.
Anything else you want Harp Column readers to know about you?
Besides playing the harp, I am also excellent at playing the piano. I think that the ability to play both of the instruments is an additional virtue of the performer, because these two instruments complement each other brilliantly.