The Belgrade Philharmonic celebrated its 100th anniversary in grand style in full house. The birthday celebration started with a complimentary concert for its devoted audience. The orchestra was led by Uros Lajovic, former chief conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic, who was honored with the title of honorary conductor on this occasion. Adding to the excitement, surprise guest musicians from the renowned Janoska Ensemble from Vienna also took the stage.
The atmosphere was incredibly emotional, reflecting the pride of the Philharmonic musicians and enthusiasm of the audience. The program commenced with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, a composer that holds a special place in the Orchestra’s repertoire and is the most frequently performed. Consistent with the celebratory spirit, the orchestra performed Birthday Variations in various stylistic genres, including a special Serbian-style variation composed specifically for this occasion by Milos Branisavljevic. The program also featured the finale of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and The Turtledove from The Legend of Ohrid by the founder Stevan Hristic.
The concert reached its climax with the exhilarating performance of the Janoska Ensemble. This group of extraordinary virtuosos and genre-bending musical acrobats showcased their unique Janoska style alongside the Philharmonic Orchestra, treating the audience to a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart to traditional tavern songs and even popular Beatles hits filled the Kolarac Hall.
Guided by actor and BPO friend Vladimir Aleksic and masterfully directed by Milutin Petrovic, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra paid tribute to its former managers, artistic directors, and chief conductors, from Stevan Hristic to Ivan Tasovac, who have contributed to making the Belgrade Philharmonic an internationally acclaimed orchestra of the highest quality. Messages of congratulations from renowned figures, such as Zubin Mehta, chief conductor Gabriel Feltz, principal guest conductor Daniel Raiskin, Dan Tana, Hollywood actress Stana Katic, pianist Fazıl Say, and many others were shared during the event. Special guests at the concert included retired philharmonic musicians as well, who added to the festive occasion with their presence.
The celebration of the Philharmonic’s centenary will continue with a Gala concert featuring the legendary Zubin Mehta on June 20th at Kolarac. Following that, the orchestra will embark on a regional tour as part of the Open Balkans initiative, performing in Tirana and Skopje. The grand finale of the jubilee anniversary festivities will be a free open-air concert, featuring a live performance of Disney’s Fantasia on July 2nd at Usce.