Chanson as a music genre was first introduced at a festival of popular music held in Zagreb in 1964 after a group of authors released compositions whose quality of lyrics and music have opened up new horizons. The form was quickly accepted in cultural circles and was subsequently recognized as the “Zagreb School of Chanson.”
After many successful years, the evenings dedicated to this genre came to an end despite the fact that chanson as a genre and content had become an essential part of the Croatian and Zagreb music scene. In 1998, united under the idea of renewal of the Zagreb School of Chanson, Hrvoje Hegedušić, Hrvoje Markulj, Dalibor Paulik, Zvonko Špišić and Zvonko Zidarić launched Chansonfest – a festival dedicated to hosting distinguished authors of the genre and serving as a stage on which new authors and performing sensibilities could be presented. Chanson, as an urban genre and content, is appropriate for our cultural space as it reflects the modern life in a special, poetic way.
In addition to presenting new compositions, the first Chansonfest also hosted a concert evening dedicated to the opus of Zvonimir Golob; the following one hosted an evening dedicated to the poet Željko Sabol, and the next one an evening dedicated to the Croatian war chanson. Each year Chansonfest endeavors to host prominent authors and performers from the country and abroad, and so far artists from Austria, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Macedonia, Poland, Slovenia, Ukraine, etc. have participated at the Festival. Croatian artists, authors and performers presented at the Festival are among the most prominent names of our music scene, such as Arsen Dedić, Ibrica Jusić, Lada Kos, Gabi Novak, Lidija Bajuk, Hrvoje Hegedušić, Radojka Šverko, Zrinko Tutić, Ksenija Erker, Vladimir Kočiš Zec, Rajko Dujmić, Dražen Žanko, Alka Vuica, Jakša Fiamengo, Krešo Blažević, Aljoša Šerić, Nina Romić, Zvonko Zidarić, Zvonko Špišić, etc. Chansonfest’s quality has certainly enriched the region’s cultural scene.
In order to organizationally improve the continuation of Chansonfest Hrvoje Markulj, Zvonko Špišić and Zvonko Zidarić have founded the Chansonfest Artistic Organization in 2003. The Director of Chansonfest is Hrvoje Markulj.