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 »  Home  »  Music  »  Zeljko Brkanovic distinguished Croatian composer
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Zeljko Brkanovic distinguished Croatian composer
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  09/16/2009 | Music , People , Culture And Arts | Unrated
Composer of contemporary music

Željko Brkanović

Željko Brkanović is certainly an interesting figure in the Croatian contemporary music. Melody as a distant or direct association of the folklore is a basis of his musical approach which absent - mindedly checks the development of composition's harmonic context. But it is exactly in this "stopped time" of tonality which, if one wanted to bring it closer to the well - known sources, can be compared to the works of Prokofiev, a part of opus of Stravinsky or Hindemith, that Željko Brkanović discovers the talent of original musicality, the ability to create work with a more prominent position in some fictitious anthology of music than a series of compositions written by the so - called masters of the Croatian classical music. Arguments for the claim can be found in the first place in the unity of Brkanović's form, idiosyncracy of the selected material and above all the interesting confrontation of the melodic archetype and its vertical sequence - the distinctive harmony with tonality which is sufficiently extended to please even the most contemporary musical expression. (Branko Magdić, Večernji list, 1982)

In 1991 the renowned composer Erhard Karkoschka commented on the music written by Željko Brkanović: "I have already encountered and learnd to appreciate his music at the concerts of the Zagreb Biennale. It is based on the skilled mastery of the traditional composing technique. What I noticed in particular is a differentiated use of instruments, which makes his orchestral works very interesting due to sudden shifts. In the same manner the formal structure and logically controlled lines always make a convincing impression."


Listen to selected compositions from My Third CD

String Quartet No 2, 1994 [mp3] (Zagreb String Quartet: Goran
Končar/violin, Davor Phillips/violin, Hrvoje Phillips/viola, Martin Jordan/violoncello)

Sonnet Miniatures, Ritmico [mp3] (Nada Majnarić, piano)

Figurines, a cycle of lieder for mezzosoprano and piano [mp3] (poetry by
Dragutin Domjanić, Martina Gojčeta Silić, mezzo-soprano, Đorđe Stanetti, piano)

Intimni madrigali, Solitude [mp3] (Soloists of the Church of St. Marko in Zagreb)

On this web with kind permission of maestro Željko Brkanović.


- graduated in piano in the class of Svetislav Stančić from the Academy of Music in Zagreb in 1963
- graduated in composition in the class of Toma Prošev from the Faculty of Music Arts in Skopje in 1979
- continued with further studies in conducting under Hermann Scherchen and Bruno Rigacci at the Chigiana Academy in Siena (1965)
- continued with further studies in composition in Stuttgart, where he worked as a DAAD scholar under Erhard Karkoschka (1987-88)


- conductor in the opera houses of Zagreb (1963-1969)
- The Opera of the Croatian National Theatre in Split: conductor (1964-1966)
- Music Program of the Croatian Radio and Television: music editor (from 1969 - 83)
- the Academy of Music in Titograd (today Podgorica): in 1980 he started to teach composition and theory subjects
- Academy of Music in Zagreb: chorus master from 1966; lecturer in theoretical subjects from 1983; lecturer in composition subjects from 1987

Membership in Artistic and Scholarly Organizations or Institutions

- The Croatian Composers' Society (president from 2004)

Awards and Merits

1957 - First Prize in the Secondary Music Schools' Competition in Ljubljana (piano)
1982 - Vjesnik's Josip Štolcer Slavenski Prize (Concert for piano and orchestra)
1999 - Porin Award for "Tonal sonata for piano"
1999 - according to decision of Dr. Franjo Tuđman, president of the Republic of Croatia, decorated by the Order of Croatian Danica with the figure of Marko Marulić, for his important contribution to music culture
2002 - Vladimir Nazor Award for author concert on the occasion of 65th anniversary


Željko Brkanović with his daughter Mirna Brkanović at the Vatroslav Lisinski Music Hall in Croatia's capital Zagreb.

Croatian composers - guests at the 2007 Moscow Automn

Željko Brkanović's "Diptych for bayan and camera orchestra" has been played by the Soloists of the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra in Moscow. The "Diptych" was composed in 2006 upon the request of a famous bayan virtuoso Vitalij Muntjan (Russia - Croatia), who was also the first one to play the piece.

Listen to some of  the compositions by maestro  Željko Brkanović

Concerto for violin and orchestra in A Allegro ma non troppo I, 1983 [wma]
Trio Allegro ma non troppo II, 1988 [wma]
II Symphony Moderato Semplice I, 1989 [wma]
Diptych for bayan and orchestra, 2006 [wma]

Many thanks to Mirna Brkanović for submitting these pieces.

Biography of Željko Brkanović in a Russian publication.

Željko Brkanović with Croatian musicians in Stuttgart, Germany.

Željko Brkanović, composer, and Pavle Dešpalj, conductor, in the Lisinski Concert Hall in Zagreb.

Željko Brkanović with Trio Orlando, Zagreb: Tonko Ninić on the right, Vladimir Petrač and Vladimir Krpan on the left.

Some of the partitures by Željko Brkanović.

Željko Brkanović composing in his appartment in Zagreb.

Željko Brkanović, Zagreb, 1937

Address: Tomislavov trg 18, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Phone: Tel/fax: +385 (0)1 4922258

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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