Artistic leadership

Berislav Šipuš

Along with studying the History of Art at the Zagreb Faculty Humanities and Social Sciences, Berislav Šipuš took classes and successfully graduated composition (in 1987) at the Zagreb Academy of Music in the class of Prof. Stanko Horvat. He continued his composition studies under Gilbert Bosco in Udine (1986), and Francois Bernard Machea and Iannis Xenakis in Paris (1987).

From 1979-1982 Šipuš was permanently engaged as a pianist and répétiteur by the HNK (Croatian National Theater) Ballet in Zagreb. From 1987-1989 he held lectures in Musical Theory at the Elly Bašić Music School in Zagreb, from 1988-1989 he worked as a pianist and répétiteur in the Bermuda Civic Ballet, while in 1989 Šipuš was a program producer at the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall. In 1989 Berislav Šipuš commenced his professional collaboration with the Teatro alla Scala in Milan as a pianist and répétiteur in the Ballet (1989-1999), orchestra conductor in the Ballet productions (1997-1999), pianist, répétiteur and assisting conductor in the Opera (1999-2001). At the same time Berislav Šipuš was active in Zagreb, particularly on the Academy of Music as a lecturer of theoretical courses (1988-1989), senior lecturer at the Department for Composition and Music Theory (since 1998), an associate professor (since 2005) and full professor since 2009. Furthermore, he was a producer of the Music Biennale Zagreb (in 1987 and 1989) and its Art Director from 1997 till 2011.He was the Director of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra from 2001 to 2005 and the Art Manager of the Cantus Ensemble since its foundation in 2001.

He was the Art Director of Osor Music Nights national festival from2009 till 2011 and a volunteer chairman of the Croatian Music Youth.

From December 2011 acts as deputy minister of culture.

AWARDS: Zagreb University Rector’s Award (1985); First Award at the 15th  International Music Youth Competition (Beograd, 1985); Seven Secretaries  Award of the Yugoslav Communist Youth Association (1985); Award at the Zagreb Music Biennale (1987); Croatian Music Institute Award (1988); Vjesnik’s Josip Štolcer Slavenski Award  (1995); Boris Papandopulo Award of the Croatian Composers’ Society (2002 and 2009); he was ordained Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters  by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of France (2004), the Medal of the Order of Danica Hrvatska with the image of Marko Marulić; Vladimir Nazor Award (2009.)

Ivan Josip Skender


Ivan Josip Skender was born in 1981 in Varaždin, where he took up music lessons with Desa Jovanović and Marijan Zuber. He began to study composition in a secondary school of music under the supervision of Davor Bobić. In 1997, he enrolled on the composition course at the Zagreb Academy of Music in the class of Željko Brkanović as the youngest ever student in the Academy’s history. Two years later, he also started studying conducting with Vjekoslav Šutej. He continued with further studies in seminars and masterclasses on conducting and choral conducting (under Klaus Arp, Krešimir Šipuš, Saša Britvić, Bertrand de Billy) as well as on composition (under Michael Jarrell, Goce Kolarovski, Joszef Soproni). His compositions have been performed in Croatia, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Poland, Macedonia, the USA, Canada and Mexico.

He has received a composition prize at the Prague-Vienna-Budapest Summer Academy and the Zagreb University Rector’sAward for the performance of his work Heads and Tails at the Music Biennale Zagreb. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia has recognized his effort in the promotion of Croatian music by giving him an award. He has worked continuously with several renowned foreign artists as well as with a number of Croatian musicians and ensembles, and has composed music for the theatre. At Music Biennale Zagreb 2011 his opera Stribor’s Forest had its first performance in Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc in Rijeka with numerous performances in the 2011/2012 season. As a conductor, he has given successful performances with a number of Croatian choirs and orchestras. Having become chief conductor of the Palma Collegiate Choir in 2004, he led them to winning the first prize three times at a national choir competition and the first prize at the international choir competition held in Ohrid in 2009. A s a conductor, he has dedicated himself to giving the regular and first performances of the works composed by contemporary Croatian authors.

Skender works at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb as the Opera choirmaster and at the Zagreb Academy of Music in the position of Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Conducting, the Harp and Percussion. He is currently in the class of maestro Uroš Lajovic at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts.