Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra (Photo: Matija Habljak/PIXSELL) Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra (Photo: Matija Habljak/PIXSELL)

The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra is a great promoter of Croatian musical arts around the world. It was back in 1871 when Zagreb received its first professional orchestra, and in 1920 it was given the name and title it bears today. Over the past century-and-a-half, the orchestra has provided the Croatian capital with a rich history of world-class music that has come to embody the urban image of Zagreb.

The modern era in the history of the orchestra has been marked with fresh artistic zeal and noted musical accomplishments, as well as major concerts, recordings and discographic projects that are planned for the future.

Mirko Boch, the director of the Zagreb Philharmonic, has announced a project for the recording of a compact disc containing works by Croatian composers, and is scheduled to record pieces under the auspices of one of the best and most celebrated contemporary conductors, Russia's Dmitri Kitayenko - who is at the same time an artistic advisor to the Philharmonic.

"Over the past year, we have been working on a new project featuring modern Croatian composers from the 20th century. And under the baton of some of the best Croatian conductors, including Danijel Detoni, Frane Parać, and Berislav Šipuš - to name but a few," said Director Mirko Boch regarding the new project.

Instruments (Photo: Davor Puklavec/PIXSELL)

"We will present three new CDs which will present a slice of Croatian music from the past few years. I think it is our duty to promote Croatian composers to the world, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to do so," continued Boch.

Boch added that the project would certainly last for another year and a half until they are able to complete the entire cycle. "We expect to finish composing this Croatian CD, actually three CDs in one album, by the spring of 2020 and will present it during the new 2020/2021 season; in which the Zagreb Philharmonic celebrates its 150-year anniversary."

"One year ago, we recorded for the first time with the maestro Kitayenko, and this was actually the first time in the history of the Zagreb Philharmonic that we did something like this. He's one of the greatest conductors in the world and he's been working with us for the past seven years. It was a great honour and privilege for us. And, at the same time, it acts as confirmation for the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, an orchestra which the maestro continues to praise for its brilliance," said Boch, adding that it was "a special pleasure and honour that the Zagreb Philharmonic had the opportunity to record something like this with our artistic advisers and maestro, Kitayenko."

Although Croatia's musical heritage may not be so great and well-known when compared to that of Russia, it is important for us to perform and record it to the best of our abilities, added Boch. It is part of this grand plan that people will be able to find these national classics on one of the three new CDs performed by the Philharmonic under the guidance of Kitayenko.

Boch said he hoped the project would lead to further collaboration with Kitayenko. He said it was "all the proof need when it comes to the quality of the Zagreb Philharmonic."

Josip Skender (Photo: Igor Soban/PIXSELL)

Conductor Josip Skender also spoke about the project and the importance of preserving Croatian heritage by performing and recording national composers.

"The CD that I am now working on with the Zagreb Philharmonic is being recorded in stages. This is about a project focusing on the recording of some of the essential works of 20th and 21st-century composers, such as Stanko Horvat, Marko Ruždjak, and Berislav Šipuš," said Skender.

Skender concluded by saying the recordings were extremely valuable and would help to preserve a heritage legacy for future generations to appreciate.