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An introduction to Serbian piano music: Musical and cultural influences on three selected composers

Jelena Dukic, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Serbia is a country that has survived many political and religious conflicts. Perhaps the best way to describe Serbian culture and tradition would be a country whose inhabitants struggled for many years, yet managed to incorporate the best elements of its conquerors’ cultures. Serbian musical identity is an amalgam of local and international influences and styles. Different foreign authorities occupied this country for centuries. The Danube River was the main border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, located in the north, and the Turkish Ottoman Empire, situated south of the Danube. The Austro-Hungarian influences on Serbian music are most evident in piano music played at numerous salons, while the Ottoman Empire’s impact derives from its folk melodies and rhythms that were absorbed into Serbian culture. This document focuses on three Serbian composers from three different eras, educated in three distinct cultures. The first composer, Kornelije Stankovic was the first Serbian composer to be educated in Vienna; his studies were shaped by the salon music of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and by traditional Serbian folk music. The second composer, Isidor Bajic was educated in Budapest; his piano works, popular among young musicians are included here due to their impact on the development of classical music in Serbia. Svetozar Sasa Kovacevic, the third Serbian composer, was trained entirely in Serbia and wrote music inspired by Bach and Liszt. This presentation and description of selected Serbian music will benefit pianists of any nationality. Those of Serbian heritage will recognize the development of their nation’s musical style throughout history, as exemplified by the chosen composers’ musical input; and non Serbian performers will have the opportunity to develop an appreciation for the great piano works composed in Serbia. The multinational threads of Serbian music history present a beautiful image: a country, resolutely persisting despite oppression, gathering worthy musical elements to create a unique tapestry.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Dukic, Jelena, "An introduction to Serbian piano music: Musical and cultural influences on three selected composers" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10183295.