Aleksandra Vrebalov is a full professor of composition at the University of Novi Sad, Academy of Arts. She has written more than 90 works commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Royal Academy of Music and English National Ballet London, Harvard/Fromm Foundation, Berkeley University, Cleveland Museum of Arts, Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, Serbian National Theater, and The Forbidden City Orchestra in Beijing. She is the laureate of the most important recognitions in Serbia including the Golden Pin (2015), two Mokranjac Awards and two Muzika klasika Awards – Composer of the Year. Vrebalov holds a MM from the San Francisco Conservatory and a DMA from the University of Michigan.
About the piece
The Tigris Verses are inspired by my long-time visits and friendships I have formed in the area of historical Mesopotamia, and the current border region of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. The richness of scents and flavors, the intensity of colors, the closeness of the starry sky on that magical plateau at 1200m above sea level, the heat and dryness of the air, the voices of my friends and their children echoing through narrow stone streets, the weight of unfulfilled desires, and a deep sense of frustration due to wars and poverty are just some of the emotional atmospheres of this piece. The text in Tigris Verses is from the poem by Ibn Al Arabi and from the Old Testament where the rivers of Eden are mentioned. The piece is freely structured, in an open score whose flow is defined by rolling the dice, unpredictable, and always different. I am especially grateful to the accordionist Branko Džinović for initiating this collaboration and for his openness to work with open and graphic notation in this work.