The Balkan Peninsula has all the constituents necessary for great musical “DNA”: roots in classical Greece, shepherds and fishermen - they always have their own songs - and real estate that different civilizations have vied for over centuries, leaving behind legends of drama and heroism.
Greece is ringing with music you can hear at a choice of festivals held in gorgeous venues. Consider the Greek Festival, the Athens Concert Hall, the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, or the Greek National Opera. The unusual Earth, Wind & Music Festival is a festival about music, the environment and its protection. The choice of venue for the festival was by no means accidental. Ancient Olympia, a place of rich history and cultural heritage, was devastated by the fires that ravaged the Peloponnese in the summer of 2007. The festival aims to turn the public’s attention to this historic site, promoting its products and its services in every corner of the town through a multitude of ecological activities, both musical and non-musical. To appreciate Greece’s musical past, visit the Museum of Greek Folk Music Instruments which holds 1,200 folk pieces in its collection. Every showcase has headphones in order to be able to hear music samples of the given instrument.
When you visit Romania, be sure to attend one of its many festivals celebrating all aspects of folk culture. You can listen to folk music in addition to enjoying traditional crafts and dancing. The National Radio Orchestra, one of the best in the country, presents frequent classical chamber music performances at the music hall in the radio building.
Having inherited the creative potential of a millennial culture, Bulgarian artists produce original musical and verbal images; they mould sculptures and shape new architectural outlines; they create unique paintings, drawings and sculptures. The world is familiar with the outstanding people of art, in which Bulgaria takes deserved pride. Among them in the music world are the choirs The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, Gousla [Rebec] and Yoan Koukouzel, the children’s radio choir and the Bodra Smyana Choir.
Croatia also offers many opportunities to enjoy music at festivals showcasing different genres of music, local or international musicians, and often in stunning outdoor settings.
There are five professional orchestras in Slovenia, and a host of musicians who are famed outside the country. The largest concert halls are at the Cankarjev Dom cultural and conference centre, which holds close to a thousand events each year.
Slovenia’s own brand of polka music reached its peak in the accordion and ensemble of Slavko Avsenik, while the annual festival in Stična is a feast of choral singing, and the France Marolt folk group have performed their singing and dancing all over the world. The contemporary thrill of classical music is the territory of the Slovenian Philharmonic, particularly its top musicians, flautist Irena Grafenauer, pianist Dubravka Tomšič and soprano Marjana Lipovšek.
Laibach have been a highly influential band in the last few decades in modern alternative music. The ethno-pop of Magnifico has gained a rising international profile. The giants of Slovenian pop music are Vlado Kreslin and Siddharta, while Slovenian DJs are welcome on global dancefloors, most notably DJ Umek.