Acclaimed contemporary composer Janez Matičič dies

Ljubljana – Composer and pianist Janez Matičič, one of Slovenia’s most notable contemporary composers, has died at the age of 95. His oeuvre was centred around piano music, which he himself performed as well. He received numerous awards for his work, including the Prešeren Prize for lifetime achievement.

Matičič was born in Ljubljana in 1926. He graduated in composition and conducting from the Ljubljana Academy of Music. The first instrument he picked up was the violin, but he later became enamoured of the piano, reads a statement posted on the website of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, of which he had been a full member since 2007.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s he studied in Paris under Nadia Boulanger, a renowned French music teacher and conductor known for mentoring many leading composers and musicians of the 20th century. He later collaborated with the experimental collective Groupe de Recherches Musicales, led by Pierre Schaeffer, who is considered to have been one of the most influential experimental and electroacoustic musicians.

Matičič taught music at several schools, including the Ljubljana Academy of Music. He also taught piano at several conservatoires in Paris.

His debut compositions were influenced by Romanticism and Impressionism, but following the time spent abroad, his work acquired a contemporary feel. His best known works include two concertos for piano and orchestra, a concerto for cello and orchestra, and pieces created in a modernist and experimental mode.

On the occasion of his 90th birthday, he told the STA that beauty was what he was looking for. “My soul has pushed me to look for beauty, the beauty we have always admired in the wonderfully composed pieces of music…” he said.

Matičič received the Prešeren Prize for lifetime achievement, the country’s most prestigious accolade in arts, in 2007. The news of his death was shared on Facebook by his musical colleagues.