Planned program for this year’s KotorArt Festival - Don Branko’s Music Days

The 19th KotorArt Don Branko’s Music Days will be held in extraordinary circumstances due to the Coronavirus pandemic which has caused that more than 95% of the program and artists, initially planned for 2020, had to be canceled or changed. The program was created to celebrate the great anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with artists and ensembles such as: Mischa Maysky, soloists od Verbier Festival, soloists of the Berliner Philharmonic, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Stefan Milenković, Kemal Gekić, Đovani Njoki, Jazz Square programs with ensembles from: Slovenia, Hungary, Austria; China stage, with five concerts of renowned Chinese musicians in Luštica Bay and Kotor along with winners of piano competitions and established pianists from the region and Europe; three concerts of the Festival Orchestra, Coca-Cola Stage with three concerts: Josipa Lisac, Vasil Hadžimanov, Božo Vrećo, Bojan Zulfikarpašić and the band Frajle; over two hundred performances as a part of the program Ports of Arts …
The circumstances of the entire change in program, as well as drastic budget cuts of over 70% (from which 60% came from the sponsors – Ministry of Culture and Municipality of Kotor), cancelation and reduction of sponsorship funds which represented more than third of our entire budget, will not stop the Festival from offering the best in the given circumstances. Eventually, the Festival has encountered extraordinary circumstances in the past and even then, we reacted steadily and professionally with a great desire to maintain the quality and image gained in the country, region and Europe.  – stated the Festival’s PR service.
With its year’s long recognition as a place for gathering of the world’s music elite and especially created original programs, in spite of these budget cuts but with big help from our sponsors and friends, as well as understanding and solidarity of artist and organization team, KotorArt Don Branko’s Music Days will through its relevant program from July 14th - August 14th confirm its social responsibility, artistic and touristic relevance, thematic currency and reasons why it is a manifestation of special significance for the culture of Montenegro and a special part on the map of festivals in the region and around Europe.
After an extremely active spring on social networks, the Festival will, in its moderate summer dynamics, through dedication to Beethoven, organize events on the total of ten locations (instead on the usual twenty) while most of the program will be held in The Church of the Holy Spirit with a live broadcast on the nearby Cinema Square. Over hundred artists from six different countries will perform in front of the audience which will be seated in distanced seating.

The program Beethoven, eternal inspiration is planned for the very opening, on July 14th in front of the St Tryphon Cathedral as a part of the Statehood Day celebration. Having in mind the measures and recommendation of the authorized services and in our intention to present the most perspective domestic musicians, Montenegrin Youth Orchestra will perform at the Grand Opening conducted by music director of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival Tomislav Fačini. The program will include some of the most dramatic Beethoven’s pieces adjusted to this type of orchestra as well as the premiere of the commissioned work on the theme of Ode to Joy by the Montenegrin author Aleksandar Perunović. The premiere of a documentary film inspired by European cultural heritage and identity of Montenegro produced by the RTCG is planned after the concert. Besides the Statehood Day, the Grand Opening of the Festival, celebrating the Beethoven’s anniversary and artistic marking of the Germany’s presidency of the European Union, this event will also be an occasion to rethink the European identity of today's Montenegro, to share and understand the values inherited by the European Union and which are sublimated in its anthem – Ode to Joy.
After this program, various programs are planned with performances of renowned international artists such as maestro Tomislav Fačini, Erika Miklósa from Hungary, one of the most famous European coloratura sopranos, famous jazz bands from Austria, pianist of world reputation Kemal Gekić with Beethoven’s sonatas, members of KotorArt Trio, as well as the participants of the regional conference Festivals in the Times of Crises. A special evening will also be a performance by Montenegrin guitarist Miloš Karadaglić who will along his dialogue partner Ratimira Martinović, the Festival’s director, speak about various aspects of the world crisis and its effect and consequences on classical music, artists and art in general. Domestic music forces will along Montenegrin Youth Orchestra be represented through performances of famous domestic and internationally acclaimed artists such as Montenegrin Guitar Duo, Allegria Quartet and Professor’s Trio from the Cetinje Music Academy. As a part of the standard segment KotorArt Talents, there will be performances by perspective Montenegrin musicians who are studying abroad, soprano Petra Radulović and pianist Andrija Jovović, and a chance to present themselves will also have the students of Cetinje Music Academy and the youngest, students from Vida Matjan Music School from Kotor. Local performers will be the center of the concert entitled Homage to the Professor dedicated to tenth death anniversary of Nikola Gregović who has left an important mark in the town’s music. Along with the city choir and orchestra of mandolins, there will also be a performance of the original klapa orchestra that was once led by the professor. Sounds of jazz will be heard through the series of four Jazz Square concerts on the standard Sunday schedule, with two Austrian bands, and musicians from Montenegro and Serbia.
Ports of Arts cycle will be represented through tens of performances by chamber orchestras of classical and popular music, inspiring life and music content on today’s unusually empty Kotor squares.
In cooperation with German television broadband Deutche Welle the festival has organized a screening of a length documentary feature World Symphony that tells a story of Beethoven’s last symphony.
KotorArt Academy, originally envisioned with three artists, is yet planned to be held in the beginning of August but as a piano course by pianist Kemal Gekić.
Along Miloš Karadaglić and already mentioned conference Festivals in the Times of Crises, where the guest speakers will be artists and directors of renowned festivals from Montenegro and the region, is planned for the August 4th. Ideas and discussions about important social topics will also be a main idea of the tenth Philosopher’s Square which is planned for the August 11th and edited by Paula Petričević. She and her guests, the renowned speakers, will be discussing this year’s theme European identity – the answer to which question?

Festival Wild Beauty Art is also organized by KotorArt team this year with planned concerts on Žabljak, in Kotor and Luštica Bay.
This year's KotorArt Don Branko’s Music Days will be held under the patronage of UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Kotor. The main sponsors are Luštica Bay, Tonino Lamborghini and the Board of the Twin Cities of Santa Barbara and Kotor. The sponsors are the Ministry of Tourism and Sustainable Development, the embassies of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, while the friends of the festival are Hipotekarna banka, Ledo, Idea, Kutjevo Winery and Dalmacija wine.