July 23, 2022 | Saturday
With the performance of the five renowned suites “From Holberg’s Time” by the distinguished Norwegian composer of the romantic era Edvard Grieg, the Western Balkan Youth Orchestra (WBYO) opened up in Pristina their musical tour across the Western Balkans countries.
For eight consecutive days, under the guidance of the Conductor and Pianist Desar Sulejmani as well as other musical pedagogues, 30 young classical musicians from Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, gathered in Pristina to rehearse pieces of Chopin, Shostakovich, Grieg and other composers of the classical and modern era, which they performed in the opening concert.
Fuad Šetić, a 27-year-old conductor and pianist from Sarajevo (Bosnia and Hercegovina), says that he felt extremely honored when he received the invitation from maestro Sulejmani to join the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra, and to work with him, as well as other young talented musicians.
“I’ve been following the growth of the orchestra since it started. I always wanted to participate in some way. I find the project very exciting because it brings high-quality music to the Balkan classical music scene and it encourages young people to come and grow together, and further develop their skills” – declares Šetić.
Šetić who is visiting Pristina for the first time with the WBYO, declares to be amazed by the city and the people’s hospitality, adding that the reality exceeded his expectations and that he cannot wait to come back. Further, he adds that apart from professional growth, a very important role that the orchestra has is in uniting people and breaking prejudices.
“In times where the world is divided more and more by each day, I see the WBYO as a beacon of hope! We create music together and share all the beautiful aspects of our cultures. I think this is our greatest asset on the way to a better future” – says Šetić.
For Entela Qarkagjija, a young viola player from Pristina who performed at the inaugural concert in Pristina, being part of the WBYO is an amazing experience for her professional growth.
“For me, it is a very important experience since it enables me to represent and showcase my artistic values, which are shaped by my Musical Faculty of the University of Pristina, and specifically my viola professor Blerim Grubi who supported my musical journey from the beginning. Therefore, apart from my professional growth, in one way or another I also represent the values of my country and professors in front of the Western Balkans and European audience” – concludes Qarkagjija.
Another member of the orchestra and performer at the Pristina concert is Milutin Radulović, a talented 19-year-old violin player from Montenegro. Milutin says that he joined the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra with the aim of gaining experience in playing with a youth orchestra, developing his professional skills as well as representing his country. For him, the orchestra is having an enormous impact on the development of music in the region.
“I think that this orchestra is contributing a lot to the development of music and culture in the Western Balkans. What’s also very important I think is the fact that the WBYO is sending a strong and positive message not only for Balkans but for the whole of Europe. And I think that’s what everybody in the world needs. WBYO is showing how culture is important for every society” – declares Radulović.
After Pristina, the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra will continue their musical tour titled “New Ways”, in Skopje, Novi Sad, Mostar, and Kotor. Whereas in August they plan to perform in five cities across Germany.
The WBYO was founded by Artium Eudora (ArtEU), an NGO located in Pristina Kosovo, by Desar Sulejmani Conducter and Pianist, who serves also as the Artistic Director of the Orchestra, and by the Composer and Pianist Pierre Weber, who is the director of the NGO Artium Eudora. The activities of the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra are supported by the European Union in Kosovo.