Vladan Radovanović was born in Belgrade on 5 September 1932. He graduated in composition at the Belgrade Music Academy in the class of Prof. Milenko Živković. In 1958, he participated in establishing the Mediala group. He initiated the founding of the Radio Belgrade Electronic Studio and was its head from 1972 to 1999. In 1993 he initiated the SINTUM Open Group Project.
Coinciding with avant-garde trends, yet independently from them, he did research in the field of the vocovisual, projectism (1954), tactile art (1956), polymedia and body action (1957), tape music (1960), electronic music (1966), computer music (1976), and computer graphics (1988). The central position in his creative poetics is reserved for art synthesis. He has authored over 250 texts on music and new tendencies in art.
He has worked in experimental music studios in Warsaw (1966), Paris (1969), Utrecht (1976), and Budapest (1987). Radovanović’s compositions were selected to represent Yugoslavia at three SIMC festivals (in 1969, 1976, and 1988). He has had 26 individual exhibitions and performances at home and abroad.
Radovanović has published nine books and one map, six scores, two recordings, two cassettes, and four compact discs.
He has won 11 domestic and international awards for music (including three first prizes at the Yugoslav Radio Music Competition, the October Award of the City of Belgrade in 1971, Second Prize for electroacoustic music in Bourges in 1979, Gianfranco Zafrani Award at Prix Italia in 1984, and First Prize at the International Review of Composers in Belgrade in 1998), three awards for literature (including the award of the then prestigious publisher Nolit in 1968), and eight in the visual arts (including the First Prize of the Ministry of Culture for best multimedia exhibition in 1992, the First Prize for video in Sao Paolo in 1997, the First Prize of the City of Belgrade for visual arts in 2007, the Ivan Tabaković award for 2006/2008, and Mića Popović award for 2012).
Radovanović is a member of the Serbian Composers Association and Serbian Fine Arts Association. Since 2001, he has been a Guest Lecturer for Polymedia Arts at the University of Arts in Belgrade. In 2005 he received an honourary PhD in music from the University in Columbus, Ohio. In 2007 he received an honourary PhD in Polymedia Arts from the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia.
Sideral (2012) was composed for a mixed choir, piano, and strings. In terms of structure, Sideral is constructed on the principle of the polyphony of polyphony, or hyper-polyphony, developed between 1958 and 1960. This principle is also at work in Devetoglas (Nine-part), Sferoon (Spheroon), Sonora, Evolucija (Evolution), Vokalinstra (Vocalinstra), and Glasovima Zemljana (The Voices of Earthlings), to name but a few of my instrumental and vocal-instrumental works. An important feature of hyper-polyphony is the stratification of the overall structure into groups of several polyphonic voice-parts each, whereby the groups themselves are mutually related polyphonically. Since within each group there are only smaller intervallic relations, from a minor second to a minor third, while the groups are separated from each other by somewhat larger intervals, one cannot speak of using complete clusters and it is therefore wrong to conflate hyper-polyphony with micro-polyphony. All the more so, since hyper-polyphony includes neither dodecaphony nor serialist procedures. Among other things, I should also stress that in my poetics of sound and adhering to my intuition and predilections, every vertical and horizontal intervallic relationship is carefully profiled.
Via the relationship between repetition and non-repetition, the form also enables one to navigate one’s way through the piece. In Sideral, the carriers that enable navigating between these states are thematised structures and not melodic themes. The work’s formal configuration is also moulded by the thickening and thinning in its structure, tension and release, as well as sequences of timbral circumstances. The basis of Sideral’s form rests on a threefold repetition of thematised structures, altered in different ways, which simultaneously produces peaks of tension.
The work’s title stems from the Latin words sidus – star and sideralis or sidereus – starry. This reference to the stars, a starry sky, and on, to space, by no means signifies an attempt to portray cosmic scenes or relate any kind of story about space. What is at stake is that which music may successfully accomplish without meaning: acting and arousing ineffable but innately distinguishable feelings. Thus, in my world of perception, there is a correspondence between, on the one hand, the effect that the sight of space, our knowledge concerning space, and the ultimate questions that remain unanswered have on me and, on the other hand, the effect of a certain ‘tribe’ of sound. It was already in the early 1960s that I called cosmic such a tribe of sound, distinguishing between tribes of sound and styles of music.
This is how the jury worded its decision to present the 2013 Mokranjac Award to Sideral:
‘From the creative laboratory of Vladan Radovanović, in a unique intertwining of sound intuition and an impeccably expert compositional technique, came the work Sideral, which constitutes a clear and lucidly notated moment of a superb summing up of Radovanović’s huge experience, knowledge, wisdom, and highly cultivated talent. Following his earlier vocal-instrumental works and unique and mature poetics, Radovanović conceived a compact, precisely notated, allusive, powerful, and effective work that combines micro-polyphony with standard contrapuntal techniques. One of Radovanović’s constant strivings, to measure up, duplicate, and interfere the immeasurable, ineffable, and unfathomable humming of the flows of human life, its rhythms, and lines with the humming of space, to express with his music their unity in quartal dimensions, is accomplished with a special meticulousness and clarity precisely in Sideral. We therefore maintain that this work emits a particular glow in the, at any rate, spotless and exemplary constellation of Radovanović’s oeuvre as one of his brightest stars, whose sizzling core comprises all of the composer’s many skills and rich and unique creativity.