Mirjana Živković

Mirjana Živković (Serbia) is a composer, music pedagogue, and theorist. She acquired her BA and MA degrees in composition at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade and then also studied with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen in Paris. Between 1964 and 1976, she worked as a professor at Josip Slavenski School of Music in Belgrade. In 1976, she became an assistant professor at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, and then an associate and full professor (she was Head of the Theory Department from 1998 to 2001). She has won a number of important awards: Belgrade Radio-television Award and Stevan Hristić Award in 1964 (for Sinfonia polifonica for symphony orchestra); first prize of the Conservatoire at Fontainebleau, France, in 1968 (for Basma/Incantation, for voice and four timpani); a SOKOJ Award in 1982 (for Malo šaljive varijacije / Somewhat Humorous Variations, for piano); first prize of the Composers’ Association of Serbia in 1982 (for Domaće životinje / Domestic Animals, for children’s choir with piano); the golden plaque of the University of Arts in Belgrade for her work in teaching in 1997; and the Lifework Charter of the Union of Music and Ballet Teachers’ Associations of Serbia in 2004.

Beside a number of orchestral, concertante, and choral pieces, Živković’s compositional oeuvre comprises chamber works in various genres, performed in Serbia and abroad. Also, she has authored a large number of textbooks and music-theory studies, most notably concerning the work of Josip Slavenski, whose musical legacy preoccupied her for a number of years. In addition to her awarded pieces listed above, one should also mention her Koncertantne metamorfoze (Concertante Metamorphoses) for piano and orchestra; Adagio and Allegro for oboe and string orchestra; Dve romantične pesme (Two Romantic Songs) for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra; Balada o polju (A Ballad about a Field) for violin and chamber orchestra; Agitato for violin and harp; Igra (Dance) for mezzo-soprano, flute, and percussion; two Ballads for piano; Letnja noć (A Summer’s Night) for accordion; Tri načina (Three Modes), a suite for flute and piano; several cycles of solo songs, etc.

Pesme o prolaznosti (Songs of Transience) – art may alleviate sad moments in life. Aleksandar Saša Popović wrote a handful of exciting poems when his beloved Marica, my best friend from early youth, left this world. I chose two, which I quote below. My music, just like Saša’s poems, is dedicated to her.

1. You’re Not Here

From pain
unrest and fear
I wake up
you’re not here…

I can hear you
every night
with your flowers
you’re not here…

At sunrise,
I wait, wait for you…
A quiet night, pitch dark,
you’re not here…

2. Suffering

For all that is

for ALL painful
for ALL sad
for EVERY harsh
for a HANDFUL of
ugly thoughts
sleepless nights

for EVERYTHING forgive me
until my day of judgement.