Meet Bogdan Djaković
Now in his 27th season directing the Choir of St. George’s Cathedral in Novi Sad, Serbia, Bogdan Djaković is one of the world’s leading experts in Serbian Orthodox Choral Music.
Bogdan Djaković has established himself as an international director, leading performances in Italy, Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Portugal, Switzerland and Sweden. He makes his US debut directing Cappella Romana this month.
Dr. Djaković makes his home in Serbia’s historically-turbulent northern region, which for generations has been subject to competing cultural influences. He has devoted his career to exploring the meeting of East and West in Serbian choral music. His program “Sacred Songs of Serbia” presents traditional Eastern Orthodox sources filtered through Western European musical colors and techniques, creating works of resplendent beauty.
Dr. Djaković is Professor of Choral Literature at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, as well as Professor of Art, Medicine & Art Therapy at the University of Novi Sad. He has also held positions on the Executive Board of Radio & Television in Vojvodina, Serbia, on the Regional Artistic Committee of the European Choral Association Europa Cantat, and on the Organization Board for Serbia’s most prestigious national choral festivals.
Under his direction, the St. George’s Cathedral Choir has recorded for Radio-Novi Sad, Radio and Television Belgrade, and the BBC3.
Read his full bio here:
Dr. Bogdan Djaković (Novi Sad, 1966), musicologist and choir conductor graduated from the Faculty of Music, Belgrade, Musicology Department. His research in the history of Serbian music is focused on the development of Orthodox Church Music in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 2013 he defended his Phd thesis “The functional and stylistic-aesthetic elements in the Serbian Church Choral Music from the first half of the 20th century”.
Since 1994 he has been Assistant at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Department for Musicology, and in 2002 he became Professor of Choral Literature at the Department of Composition and Musical Theory. He also teaches Art and Medicine and Art Therapy at the Medical Faculty of the University of Novi Sad. From 2006 through 2011, he was a member of the Executive Board of the Radio & Television of Vojvodina.
Following a number of years of singing in several Serbian and Yugoslav choirs, he founded the church singing society “St. Stephen of Dečani,” and in 1987 founded the St. George’s Cathedral Choir in Novi Sad, which he has conducted since its founding. In addition to regular participation in services in the Cathedral of St. George with the blessing of His Eminence Bishop of Backa Dr. Irinej Bulovic, this choir appears in many municipal and national events significant for the expansion of the Christian Orthodox and national culture. The choir has sung at various services and special occasions all around Serbia including its famous monasteries (at the Fruška gora mountain, Studenica, Žiča, Sopoćani, Kalenić, Pećka patrijaršija and Dečani at Kosovo).
Since 1993, St. George’s Cathedral Choir has represented the Serbian Orthodox Church at the European meetings of young Christians, organized by the monks of Taize monastery (France), in Munich, Paris (1994, 2002), Wroclaw, Stuttgart, Vienna, Milano (1997, 2005), Taize (1999, 2000), Warsaw, Barcelona, Lisbon, Budapest and Geneva. Also beginning in 1993, Bogdan Djaković took part as an assistant-conductor with musicologist Dr. Dimitrije Stefanovic (Oxon.) at seventeen Summer Schools of Orthodox chant (15th -19thc.) and choral music (19th-20thc.), dedicated to the first modern educated Serbian musician Kornelije Stanković (1831-1865), which where organized in several towns and monasteries in Serbia and Hungary. He attended a master class on choral conducting led by Profs. Uwe Gronostay and Hartmut Haenchen in Harlem/Holland (2003).
He also conducts the Chamber Choir of the Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad and the Kotor-Art Festival Choir (Montenegro). He has been appointed as a member of the Jury or member of the Organization Board of some of the most prestigious Serbian choral festivals (The Days of Josif Marinković/Novi Bečej, The Chamber Choir Festival/Kragujevac, The Mokranjac festival/Negotin).
As artistic director he organized the first Singing Week Cantat Novi Sad 2011 through the European Choral Association Europa Cantat, and has been member of the organizing team for three Hearts in Harmony festivals in Novi Sad (2011, 2012, 2013), as well as being a member of the Regional Artistic Committee for the upcoming Pecs Cantat Festival (Europa Cantat) in 2015.
Bogdan Djaković performed at the Yugoslav cultural center in Paris, at the St. Ambrogio Cathedral in Milano, at the Norwich Cathedral (Great Britain), at the St. Stephan church in Padova (Italy), at the St. Augusto Cathedral in Barcelona (Spain), at the St. Alessandro church in Bergamo (Italy), at the Magdalene church in Paris (France), at the St. Pauli church in Hamburg (Germany), at the St. Nicolas Cathedral church in Ljubljana (Slovenia), at the St. Domingo church in Lisbon (Portugal), at the State Conservatory in Thessaloniki (Greece), at the St. Sophia church in Stockholm (Sweden), at the concert hall of Croatian Music Institution, Zagreb (Croatia), at the St. Paul’s church in Schwerin (Germany), and recently at the Serbian church in Bern (October, 2013), Serbian church in Trieste (October, 2013). The St. George’s Cathedral choir has recorded for Radio-Novi Sad, Radio and Television Belgrade, BBC3.
Some of the most important concerts were: the Norwich & Norfolk Festival in Great Britain (1999, 2002) the Belgrade BEMUS Music Festival in Serbia (2004), The XXI Festival Des Cathedrales de Picardie in Abbeville in France (2008), The St. Dimitrius Festival in Thessaloniki in Greece (2008), XVII Vaasa Choral Festival in Finland (2009), Kotor-Art Festival in Montenegro (2009), The City Hall in Dortmund in Germany (2011), Festival dedicated to the 100 years Russian Orthodox church in Amsterdam / Holland (2012), Mediterranean Voices Festival and Conference, Girona in Spain (July, 2013).
Bogdan Djaković is a regular member of the Department for Theater & Musical Arts at the Matica Srpska, Novi Sad, a member of the Serbian Society for Musicology, and a member of the ISOCM association (The International Society of Orthodox Church Music) under the aegis of the Department of the Orthodox Theology of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Joensuu, Finland.
He has participated in twelve international musicological conferences, including Struga/Macedonia (1998), Nicosia/Cyprus (2000), Joensuu/Finland (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013), St. Petersburg/Russia (2006), London (Goldsmiths, Centre for Russian Music /Alfred Schnittke: Between Two Worlds, 2009) and Banja Luka/Bosnia & Hercegovina (2011, 2012, 2013), as well as many musicological conferences in Serbia in Novi Sad/Matica srpska, at the Musicological Institute of the Serbian Academy of Science & Arts, Belgrade Faculty of Music and Philological Faculty in Kragujevac. He has published forty musicological studies and over thirty music critics and has produced four audio editions/compact discs and one DVD edition with St. George’s Cathedral Choir.
As a conductor Bogdan Djaković covers the repertoire of Serbian, Russian and Bulgarian Orthodox medieval chant and monophonic tradition of 18th and 19th century, early Russian polyphonic music (17th century), as well as Orthodox, Anglican, and Catholic choral music of the 19th, 20th and 21st century, including some of the well know contemporary names (Sir John Tavener, Arvo Part, Ivan Moody, Xavier Busto, Ron Watson, Tikey Zes, Mikko Sidoroff, Bishop Ilarion Alfejev, Alfred Schnittke, Peter Aston). Along with cultivating all forms of Christian church music, Bogdan Djaković is trying to stimulate active Serbian composers to revive this musical genre by new works (Jasmina Mitrušić, Rajko Maksimović, Alexandra Vrebalov, Alexander Damjanović, Svetislav Božić). In 2006 he gave a world-premiere performance of the “Seven Hymns of St. Sava” by Ivan Moody (Novi Sad, 1964), as well as the “Hymn to St. Nikolas” (Kotor, 2009) by the same composer.