Milana Zarić. Equally active in classical and contemporary composed music as well as free improvisation, Milana Zarić combines orchestral and ensemble work with solo harp performance, connecting the classical idiom to contemporary sensibility and new technologies. Organizer as well as performer in collaborative projects, she aims to create new bridges and challenge the boundaries between the traditional roles of composer, performer and improviser.
Milana Zarić holds the position of principal harpist at the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, performing regularly under top international conductors and soloists. The orchestra has recently toured the United States, including Carnegie Hall in New York. In April 2014, Milana has appeared as soloist with the BPO in Belgrade.
She is also active as a soloist and chamber musician, having been the founding member of several chamber groups based in Serbia and Holland. Since 2010, Milana has commissioned new works for solo harp from composers Richard Barrett, Hugo Morales Murguia, Falk Huebner, Teodora Stepančić, Jasna Velicković, Ana Gnjatović, Svetlana Maraš and Ivan Brkljačić. The piece tendril, for harp and electronics, written for her by Richard Barrett, has so far been performed in Belgrade, Zagreb, Melbourne, Singapore, London and New York City.
From 2009 to 2011, Milana was doing research in contemporary music for harp and improvisation, at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Upon her return to Belgrade, she formed a contemporary music collective and ensemble Studio6, together with trumpet player Nenad Marković. Their activities include a performance of Heiner Goebbels’ Songs of wars I have seen at BEMUS festival in Belgrade in 2013, conceptual project Intimate rituals, combining original music by Eastern European mavericks Ernö Király and Horațiu Rădulescu. Studio6 has commissioned and recorded many pieces by Serbian composers, which are performed regularly in Serbia and abroad.
Milana is actively involved in education projects, giving harp workshops for students, composers and improvisers. She is also a successful harp teacher, whose students have won numerous prizes at international competitions.
She collaborates regularly with composers and has given first performances of many works in recent years. As a musician devoted to dissemination of XX and XXI century music, Milana has given Serbian premieres of solo and ensemble pieces from composers as diverse as F. Donatoni, J. Cage, S. Steen-Andersen, R. Murray Schafer, K. Stockhausen, K.Saariaho, C. Wolff.
Apart from her involvment in contemporary composed music, she is an active free improviser, often in various groups or in a duet with Richard Barrett. Improvisers with whom she has worked with include Chris Cutler, Annie Gosfield, Butch Morris, Peter van Bergen, Yedo Gibson, Anne la Berge, Zsolt Sőrés. Her pioneering work for the improvised music scene in Serbia has also led her to found the collective ImprovE2, which has been organizing regular monthly events in Belgrade between 2012 and 2015.
Milana holds degrees from University of Arts in Belgrade, Trinity College of Music, London and Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, Netherlands.