Mirjana Živković studied composition at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade (Stanojlo Rajičić, BA in 1964). 1967-68 she was in Paris attending graduate courses with Nadia Boulanger (composition, harmony, analysis) and Olivier Messiaen (composition). In 1974 she obtained a master’s degree at the Faculty of Music. She taught harmony, counterpoint, music forms and composition at the Slavenski School of Music in Belgrade. In 1976 she became assistant professor at the Faculty of Music, subsequently associate and then full professor (Harmony, Methods of Teaching Music Theory). She was the head of the Music Theory Department 1998-2001.
She has won important recognitions: the Award of the Serbian Broadcasting System and the Stevan Hristić Award in 1964, First Prize of the Fontainebleau Conservatory, France 1968; awards of Serbian ComposersAssociation, Golden Plaque of the University ofArts in Belgrade for pedagogical work in1997.
Her oeuvre comprises symphonic and concerto works, chamber and solo, vocal vocal-instrumental etc. She is the author of a number of textbook and articles published in magazines and journals.
I am hoping that the miniature called Rondo Sequenza (the title is the most fitting in respect to the form of this piece for double-bass and piano) will give to the listener at least a little bit of the poetic content which was the source of inspiration in writing the piece and which cannot be retold in words without losing its charm. The notes of this piece “follow the contour of the mind and they reproduce, as closely as possible, the inner echo of the souls…” (a thought by Herberta Read, quoted according to the essay Defence of Poetry by Danilo Kiš).
Basma (Incantation) and Danse
These two pieces, although composed over a long time span, are somehow connected.
Basma (Incantation) was written in 1968 in France and it won the First prize of the Conservatorium in Fontainebleau. It was subsequently performed on several occasions in the country and abroad. The term „basma“ signifies the unclear words which are murmured in magical rituals, when trying to make a wish come true with the help of magic. In my piece there are no words, the music is reduced to its basic components of melody and rhythm; the notes played on timpani which accompany the vocal melody, only suggest the possible latent harmony.
When Dutch mezzo-soprano Margriet van Reisen heard this piece in 2006 (a recording of it made by the memorable mezzo Aleksandra Ivanović), she asked me to compose another piece for voice and percussion, in which the instrument called “saw” – at that time unknown to me – would also be used. Thus, I composed this Danse in 2007, and it had its first performance in Amsterdam, in August 2007: it was performed by Margriet van Reisen and Arnold Marinissen, percussionist and, on that occasion, flutist, in the reduced version for two performers. In this piece the elements of text of Serbian folk songs and a melody of one Serbian ritual dance can be identified, but the folk tune line is thoroughly transformed and consequently the literary meaning of the sample is altered.