PETAR KONJOVIC (1883-1970) is one of the most distinguished people in Serbian music of the XX century. Konjovic was a composer, conductor, music writer, teacher, professor and rector of the Music Academy in Belgrade, director of several opera houses (Novi Sad, Zagreb, Osjek, Split) in the interwar period, the founder and director of the Musicology Institute of the Serbian Academy of Science and a foreign member of the Academy of Science and Art in Prague.

Konjovic’s creative opus is very extensive and is compromised of stage music (operas), symphony and chamber pieces, choirs and solo songs, miniatures for the piano, violin and cello. He had a remarkable contribution to almost all fields of Serbian music development. This can be reflected in the very elaborate and disbursed national direction which follows in the footsteps of Stevan Mokranjac, and foremost in the value of his creations that vary in genre, style, and richness of expression which integrates Konjovic’s work with the general European music trends of the beginning of the XX century.

Being nationally determined, Petar Konjovic’s musical language is founded on and belongs to the period of late romanticism. However, it includes elements of impressionism and expressionism which was characteristic for many composers of 1920s and 1930s (Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Sibelius). Likewise, his musical directions towards folklore expressionism also included him in the group of musicians close to Leosh Janachek, Bella Bartok, Igor Stravinsky which belong to the early “Russian” period.

Konjovic’s most important work belongs to the opera. This includes Slavic type musical dramas such as “The Duke of Zeta” and “Koshtana”) but Konjovic’s contribution to Serbian symphony music was also great. He was the author of the first symphony in Serbian music (Symphony in C minor) and programme symphony variations (“In the Country”). His instrumental and chamber pieces of work, as well as his large vocal lyrics (more than 100 solo songs published in the collection of songs “My Country” and “Lyrics”), confirms his determination to synthesize national and modern tendencies in a deeply personal and creative way.

As a music writer, Petar Konjovic is the author of broad erudition, versatile interest, and was among the first ones in Serbia who wrote a monograph about two special persons of Serbian music – Stevan Mokranjac and his contemporary, Miloje Milojevic, Ph.D.
With his remarkable creative individuality, together with Stevan Hristic and Miloje Milojevic, Konjovic inserted modern European trends into Serbian music which became the safe creative basis for the future generations of Serbian composers

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