About the Music Biennale Zagreb

The Festival is dedicated to new music of all genres and has become an important part of the European cultural scene ever since it was founded in 1961. This year, from 6-13 April 2019, the Festival will focus on creating and presenting music / sound in relation to the idea of city / space. This way, the Music Biennale Zagreb turns to many more or less related fields, such as multimedia arts, sound engineering and acoustics on the one hand, and urbanism, architecture, philosophy on the other. The idea of city will be musically decomposed in various ways – from transforming the sound of a particular location into a site-specific contemporary composition to the problematization of different layers of socio-urban (sound) structures or the creation of an imaginary surrogate city.

Along with top performers such as the London Sinfonietta or Cikada Ensemble, guest composers will include some legendary names such as Heiner Goebbels, Alvin Curran, Rolf Wallin, Vinko Globokar, Eivind Buene and Ivan Fedele.

Plan of the course for composers

Students will enlarge their creative understanding and hone their composing skills through a one-on-one approach at courses with prominent composers and open rehearsals with the resident ensemble. Mentor composers will select their students based on the applications received (see below for more information). Each composer is mentoring 3-4 students.

The program of the masterclass for composers consists of:

  • April 8-10
  • Individual classes with the students: 2x2h in which applicable pieces will be discussed (or some of student’s pieces).
  • Introductory lectures by the mentor composers.
  • April 11–12
  • Session with The Riot Ensemble on the pieces written for the masterclass.

All classes are open to passive participants.

Mentors and ensemble

Composers: Achim Bornhoeft, Nina Šenk, João Pedro Oliveira

Achim Christian Bornhoeft graduated in composition and music theory in 1986, when he also won the first prize at the Forum of Young German Composers.  In 1988, he began studying instrumental and electronic composition at the Folkwang University in Essen. In 1990, he won the first prize at the Cooperativa Neue Musik composition competition, and the Felix Mendelsohn Bartholdy Award. In 1991, he won the first prize at the National Competition of German Music Academies, and in 1993 he received the Folkwang University Prize. He worked with the choreographers Olimpia Scardi, Stefan Hilterhaus and Wanda Golonka on productions that played at various theaters in many European countries. In 1998, he received a one-year composers’ scholarship from the Heinrich-Strobel-Stiftung and produced several full-length choreographies with his own company. In 2001, he was the Artist-in-Residence at the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, where he co-founded the SUMTONE label. Since 2006 he is head of the Studio for Electronic Music (SEM) at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, where he began teaching composition in 2012. His pieces have been performed at many festivals all over the world. Teaching assignments took him to the universities in Riga, Parma, Lisbon, Salamanca and Seoul. In 2015, he was appointed Professor and head of the Institute for New Music (INM).

Nina Šenk graduated in composition from the Ljubljana Academy of Music, then continued her postgraduate studies in composition in Dresden and obtained a master’s degree from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich (2008). She has received numerous awards, including the European award for the best composition at the Young Euro Classic Festival in 2004, the Academy of Music Prešeren Award and the first prize at the Weimar Spring Festival of Contemporary Music in 2008. From 2008 to 2010, Nina Šenk was a Composer-in-Residence of the Staatstheater Cottbus Orchestra in Germany. In 2010, the Rector of the University of Ljubljana awarded her a special recognition for artistic work in the area of music composition and performance as well as architecture. In 2017, she was awarded the Prešeren Fund Prize for her creative work during the previous two years. Nina Šenk’s works have been performed at many major international festivals and at concerts of various renowned orchestras and ensembles around the world.

João Pedro Oliveira completed a PhD in Music at the University of New York at Stony Brook. His music includes one chamber opera, several orchestral compositions, a requiem, three string quartets, chamber music, solo instrumental music, electroacoustic music and experimental video. He has received over 50 international prizes and awards for his works, including three prizes at the Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition, the prestigious Magisterium Prize in the same competition, the Giga-Hertz Special Award, First Prize at the Metamorphoses Competition, First Prize at the Yamaha-Visiones Sonoras Competition, First Prize at the Musica Nova competition etc. His music is played all over the world, and has been recorded on over 70 CDs by prestigious ensembles and soloists. He is a Professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil) and the Aveiro University (Portugal). He published several articles in journals, and has written a book on analysis and the 20th century music theory.

Ensemble:  The Riot Ensemble

The Riot Ensemble is one of the UK’s most ambitious new music ensembles. Their twenty Artistic Board members are some of the top European soloists in new music, and with Riot they work as performers, curators, commissioners, and collaborators, creating and producing a diverse array of projects around Europe. They are particularly active in bringing emerging international voices into the UK’s new-music scene, and since 2012 have given 184 world and UK premieres by composers from more than thirty countries. Their annual call for scores receives 300 applications each year, and has resulted in almost twenty commissions since 2013. Riot has performed at various major music festivals. Select engagements over the next two years include major commissions from Georg Friedrich Haas, Chaya Czernowin, and Clara Iannotta, and concerts at November Music and Darmstadt, and return appearances at hcmf// and Dark Music Days.

The workshop on composition is primarily intended for composers/sound artists, both students and professionals, of any age and nationality.


The enrollment deadline is February 1, 2019. Please send your application to mbz_masterclass@hds.hr, including a brief biography and 2-3 compositions (instrumental or electroacoustic/electronic) together with the score (this does not apply to electronic music compositions) and a recording. The final results of the selection will be published on our website www.mbz.hr by mid-February.

Upon selection, the participants will be assigned to a lecturer and asked to write a miniature (2-4 minutes) for a set combination of instruments, which will then be reviewed during the reading sessions.

All submissions related to the topic of “Music.Sound. – City.Space.” are welcome.



Submission must consist of:

  • 100-word biography in [PDF]
  • 2-3 representative works [PDF and MP3s or a streaming link if available, no MIDI please]
  • 250 words of a presentation of your vision for a piece and how it relates to the theme of the Festival (“Music.Sound. – City.Space.”)

Tuition fee

100.00 EUR – students from the Croatian academies,

180.00 EUR – international students.

Passive participation is allowed free of charge on prior notification.

Accommodation + festival pass

All participants are granted a festival pass for all festival concerts and events.

All international students are granted a discount at our partner hostel.


Application deadline

February 1, 2019

call for masterclass



Tel: +385 1 4872 370
Berislavićeva 9, Zagreb
e-mail: info@hds.hr

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