In the classics, it is key - EU・ジャパンフェスト日本委員会

In the classics, it is key

Emilija Pusic|Project manager, NEO festival

“The sacred mission is to deal with the human soul, to awaken, to offer content behind which there is thought, which provokes thought, offers sincere emotion, sends on a path that has no final destination… Art is human’s need for self-knowledge, an arshin for himself!”

NEO wants to wake up your thoughts with music, bathe you in tears of beauty, invite you to talk with yourself, offer comfort and refuge, be a guide to the next stop on your journey. Carry music in you!” was the message of the director of the NEO festival, Marko Miletić, in the program booklet of the NEO 2023.

This year’s edition of the NEO festival had the basic theme of presenting classical music as the key to entering the world of deep artistic, musical expression and presentation of classical music to the audience; creativity through top interpretations of renowned musicians, as well as those who have just begun their musical education. The aim was to present different musical genres and key works, “classics” of different epochs, historical periods and musical directions. The Neo festival hosted soloists and ensembles, who presented themselves by performing chamber music creations.

City chamber orchestra “Šlezinger” on concert in Cultural Station “Svilara”, June 6th 2023 ©︎ Vladimir Velickovic

On the first evening, the “Schlesinger” chamber orchestra performed which presented itself to the Novi Sad audience in the full hall of the “Svilara” Cultural Station, performing Mozart’s symphonies no. 12 and no. 26, as well as Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll.

On the second evening, the duo “Ludvig” made of cello and piano, whose performers were Filip Tomić and Jovana Radovanović performed Sonatas for piano and cello in D major op. 102 no. 2 and A major op. 69 no. 3. Both concerts were called “Meeting the NEO Festival” and represented the announcement of a series of chamber classical concerts.

The ceremonial opening of the NEO festival was held in the hall of the City Concert Hall, where soloist Stefan Milenković and Kamerata Novi Sad presented the motto of this year’s festival “The classics are the key” in a unique way by performing classics from different eras at the concert: Gershwin’s Three Preludes for Violin and strings, Piazzolla’s Tango, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and finally, as the crown of the entire concert, which had its Novi Sad premiere, Orff’s Carmina Burana in a special arrangement for violin and strings.

The next day at the SKCNS Factory, some new (kids) rockers, students of the Novi Sad music schools Music Harmony and Cultural Shelter, presented to the Novi Sad audience the most important songs of rock music and showed the progress they made during the previous school year.

The next concert was dedicated to sevdah, where Božo Vrećo, accompanied by Kamerata Novi Sad, sang sevdalines, which, in this region, remained significant due to the beauty of their lyrics and melody. At this concert, these traditional songs were presented in an arrangement for a classical chamber orchestra with the vocal accompaniment of one of the most important sevdah singers in this region.

String quartet “Rubikon” on concert at City Hall, June 20th 2023 ©︎ Vladimir Velickovic

On June 20, the “Rubicon” String Quartet presented pearls of the Romantic period in the Hall of the Town Hall, performing Mendelssohn’s String Quartet no. 2 Op. 13 in A minor and Grieg’s String Quartet no. 1 op. 27 in G minor.

At the “Eđšeg” cultural station, the students of the “Melodies” Music School, as well as the rock kids, had the opportunity to show their knowledge and musical interpretation they had acquired during the past school year at the concert. The practice of presenting the students’ success attracted extraordinary attention from the audience, as well as from other music schools in the city, which is why the NEO festival is planned to support young musicians at next year’s festival as well, by organizing with the aim of presenting young music performers, music scholars from Novi Sad.

Thursday, June 29, at the Cultural Station “Svilara” was dedicated to an evening of French music, a concert organized in cooperation with the EU Japan Fest, featuring Japanese and Serbian musicians: Laura Levai Aksin-flute, Yukiko Uno-violin, Fumika Mohri-violin, Jožef Bisak-viola, Marko Miletić-cello, Ivana Pavlović-harp, Shiori Kuwahara-piano, Shinnosuke Inugai-piano performed compositions by Ravel, Damasce and Debussy in a joint collaboration. Novi Sad audience, which came in huge numbers to listen to this concert and support the cooperation of Serbian and Japanese musicians. These musicians performed the works of French composers extremely devotedly and harmoniously, which had not been performed in Novi Sad until now.

On the last festival evening, June 30, also at the “Svilara” Cultural Station, the NEO ensemble, whose members were: Fumika Mori-violin, Yukiko Uno-violin, Jožef Bisak-viola, Marko Miletić-cello, Shinosuke Inugaj-piano and Shiori Kuwahara-piano. These musicians, in accordance with the instrumentation of the program, divided into smaller ensembles and performed works by: Leclair, Telemann, Mozart, Ravel, Kreizler, Haydn and Brahms. All the compositions had gypsy motifs in their name or in the composition style, which is why the concert was called “Classica alla zingarese”.

The last two concerts at the festival, realized in cooperation with the EU Japan Fest, were also the two concerts that left the biggest impression on the audience and music critics, who pointed out that these two concerts represented “a feast of virtuosity with sincere and dedicated musicianship” and that „Japanese artists brought something of the samurai’s culture of dedication“; that they were literally “samurais of music” and together with Serbian musicians they gave Novi Sad concerts to remember.

These two concerts also strengthened the bond of Japanese-Serbian musicians, who communicate best in the language of music, thanks to which, during the previous years, numerous concerts were realized and with the help of which further collaborations and projects are planned in the coming period.

This year’s edition of the NEO festival attracted a large audience, presented the stars of classical music, introduced future generations of musical performers, reminded of significant works in the history of music and presented lesser-known ones and also largely demonstrated that chamber sound can be achieved through joint cooperation, professional engagement and vision towards quality presentation and interpretation of classical music creation.