Through the prestigious recognition of the world’s largest composer award “The Grawemeyer Award”, the Serbian-Swedish composer Djuro Zivkovic has quickly established himself as one of Europe’s leading young composers. He has been played and commissioned by many of the world’s most significant orchestras and ensembles. These include New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Klangforum Wien, ASKO|Schönberg Ensemble and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, among others.
Even though Djuro Zivkovic always had a strong connection with the central European sound world, his prime inspiration and artistic incentive has always sprung from his faith and the Byzantine music he experienced in his childhood Serbia. In similar way to the classicals such as Bach, Bruckner and of the 20th century’s Gubaidulina, Messiaen and Takemitsu, the importance of mysticism, faith and belief is the most central element in his creative and artistic work. Central passages on meditation, spiritual practice and the eternal light from the Eastern Orthodox Church’s prominent collection of mystic texts the “Philokalia” has formed the starting point and often the main subject matter of most his major compositions from works “On the Guarding of the Heart”, “Ascetic Discourse”, “The White Angel”, “The Mystical Sacrifice” to the most recent large liturgical drama/ritual “Bogoluchie”.
In a time when more and more people seek spiritual proximity in their lives, while moving away from the traditional church, Djuro Zivkovic creates an immersive, ritualized and stylized production where the audience is offered a profound and abstract space to reflect on the subject matter of mysterium, ecstasy and transcendence.
Djuro Zivkovic (Ђуро Живковић) is Serbian-Swedish composer, born in Belgrade 1975. Since 2000 he has been living in Stockholm, Sweden.
His early interest for folklore and Byzantine music has led him to develop a variety of compositional techniques such as polyrhythmic, improvisation, special harmony based scales, microtones, layer-polyphony and heterophony. “Harmonic field” technique, developed by him, has been a topic of an academic research at the University of Music in Graz (Austria).
His music is commissioned, performed, recorded and broadcast by the leading musicians, these include the New York Philharmonic (USA), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam (Netherlands), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (USA), Klangforum Wien (Austria), Malmö Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), Ensemble Modern (Germany), Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Australia), Swedish Chamber Orchestra (Sweden), Seattle Symphony Orchestra (USA), Asko|Schönberg (Netherlands), Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra (Croatia), BIT20 (Norway), L’Itinéraire (France), The Netherlands Radio Choir, Avanti! (Finland); as well as Anna Larsson, Christian Karlsen, Emilio Pomarico, Baldur Brönnimann, Brett Dean, Clement Power, Brad Lubman, Shi-Yeon Sung, Martyn Brabbins, Peter Eötvös, Rade Pejcic, etc. Full List Here.
His music holds the Swedish Grammy Award 2010 (Grammis) with Sonanza for the piece Le Cimetière Marin for mezzo-soprano and ensemble. Ascetic Discourse, a cantata for mezzo-soprano and ensemble, has received the Mokranjac Award 2012, the state prize given by Culture Department for the best Serbian composition premiered 2012. His piece On the Guarding of the Heart has got the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition 2014. He studied and later taught at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.
As a performer Djuro Zivkovic appears as a violinist and recently as a violist performing the standard repertoire as well as music from the XX Century and pieces written for him. Djuro Zivkovic is particularly interested in the improvisation of music. On his vast violin repertoire, beside a large amount of classical and romantic works, can be found Bartók’s Concerto No2, Prokofiev’s Concerto No2, Shostakovich’s Concerto No1.