Members of the Bitola Chamber Orchestra appeared with our legendary guitarist Vlatko Stefanovski in the hall of the Nikola Đurković Cultural Center in Kotor. On Monday, July 23th, within this year’s KotorArt Don Branko’s Music Days, they performed famous songs by Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Queen, Rammstein and others.

The intersection point of rock music and symphonic sound can be sought in ontologically different phenomena such as symphonic rock, rock symphony or something that could be described as rock meets classic. While the first phrase, in fact, refers to the genre, the other two are related to the music industry and can be understood in the context of the consumer society. Symphonic rock – usually a synonym for progressive rock, has been created as a departure from psychedelic rock, and, by the way of composing, instruments and orchestration, has been approaching to classical music and /or jazz, which has been recognized in the songs of Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Queen, and others. On the contrary, rock symphony is a denominator for numerous concerts where the arrangements of rock songs are performed on acoustic and electric instruments, often with the participation of backing vocals or a choir. The third level of the encounter of rock and symphony sound is in the practices developed back in the 1970s by the London Symphony Orchestra that recorded a series of compact discs called Rock meets classic, where the arrangements of rock music were realized in symphonic, purely instrumental ambient. Bearing this in mind, the Bitola Chamber Orchestra unambiguously plays the popularity card by choosing the greatest hits of rock music. The affirmation of the symphonic sound, however, is not in the first place. Acoustic sound, therefore, is not emancipated – it is there to add color, enrich the orchestration, and enable a better atmosphere. On the other hand, the elements of rock gigs are absolutely present – singer, electric guitar, synthesizer, drums.

With their Rock Symphony concept, so far, the Bitola Chamber Orchestra has performed at the leading festivals of classical music in Macedonia, such as the Bit Fest, the Skopje Summer Festival, the Ohrid Sumer Festival, and has also been a guest at popular music festivals across the Balkans, such as Nisville in Niš, Rock Village, and Baščaršija Nights in Sarajevo. At KotorArt, the performance started with the song Thunderstruck by AC/DC. Excellent vocalist Žarko Jakimovski, referring to the style of Brian Johnson, took turns at the concert with, also great, Mihajlo Trajkovski. Among the hits, the audience listened to the songs She Was a Sex Machine (AC/DC), Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You (Led Zeppelin), Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Guns N' Roses), I Want It All (Queen), Du Hast (Rammstein), the song No woman No Cry by Bob Marley, and others. In this project, Vlatko Stefanovski was a guest of the concert. He performed in only few songs and the audience had the opportunity to enjoy his always inspirational improvisations and to be reminded of the hits of his former band Leb i Sol – from that repertoire Stefanovski decided to sing the song Mamurni Ljudi.

The musicians brought the atmosphere to the point of eruption, and finally the audience onto their feet. If the concert had been held according to the original plan on the Summer Stage, it is likely that the atmosphere would have been even hotter and the audience would have been ready to dance. However, the bad weather forecast, which caused “closing” the music into the Cultural Center, awakened some good things – realizing the power of this music which inevitably “makes” you move.