New festival to continue the tradition of Slowind

Ljubljana – A new festival of contemporary classical music got under way in virtual format on Tuesday, continuing the 20-year tradition of the Slowind Festival. The New Music Forum, a project of the newly founded society Uho, will feature four concerts in December and two in April and aim to create a platform for outstanding Slovenian musicians.

The programme will feature pieces written in the last ten years that have not been performed in Slovenia yet, and some pieces by Vinko Globokar. Composers Petra Strahovnik, Urška Pompe and Mauricio Valdés San Emeterio had been commissioned to compose new pieces for the festival.

Among foreign names, the organisers highlighted world classics of the last 30 years such as Simon Steen-Andersen, Louis Andriessen, Fabien Levy and György Ligeti.

Every annual festival will have a certain theme and every year a new curator will be selected to pick the programme. This year, world acclaimed Czech composer Ondre Adamek will be the curator.

Last night’s opening concert of the festival was created in cooperation with the Slowind society. The star of the concert was Petra Strahovnik and her new work Essence.

The concerts on 4, 7 and 10 December will also be in the digital form, while the organisers hope that the concerts planned for 8 and 9 April will be held at the Slovenian Philharmonic.

The accompanying events will include debates, workshops, and training programmes for composers, musicologists, performers and wider audience.

After Slowind Festival was shut down after 2018 because of lack of funds, the idea to continue presenting contemporary classical music and the music that has not been performed in Slovenia in the last 50 years led to the founding of the New Music Forum, musicologist Gregor Pompe, a member of the organising committee, told the STA.

The organisers joined forces with music societies SiBrass, Neofonia and Slowind, and managed to get the fund Ernst Siemens, which confers the Nobel Prize for music each year, to co-fund the festival.

But unlike Slowind, which focussed on the giants of Western European music, the New Music Forum will also present the music from Eastern Europe, Pompe said. “We want to know about the other side too, to check if music evolved in some other way there in the last 50 years.”

“I think we will strive to be even more cohesive in the future, combining different energies there are in Slovenia in contemporary music, improvisation, performance, and combine it all into a single platform.”