A sort of Biography
Ivo Petrić was born in Ljubljana (Slovenija) on June 16, 1931. There he finished elementary and secondary schooling, and began taking piano lessons, though without professional ambitions. Nevertheless, he was very interested in classical music, visiting many concerts and Operas, as well as listening to the radio. As a teenager he was very active in sport - in basketball and athletics. After seriously breaking his knee at an athletic contest, he switched to chess, playing at his club's tournaments and youth championships.
After graduating from high school, the idea of studying music suddenly came to the fore: in fact, after having been an assistant at the Chess Olympics in Dubrovnik (1950), he sat the entrance exams to study at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana - of course, as a pianist… It must have been a blessing in disguise that the examination board proposed theoretical studies: harmony and counterpoint. At a rather early stage, his harmony teacher Jurij Gregorc stimulated all of his students to write compositions for actual performance, and then organised the first public concert of their works in 1952, which was the beginning of Petrić's career as a composer.
At the Academy of Music he then studied composition, conducting and oboe. Soon he became a member of the new Radio Symphony Orchestra as an oboe and cor anglais player. In 1955 he was awarded the Student Prešeren Prize for his "Goga" Symphony. At his master's degree concert with the Slovenian Philharmonic, in 1958, he conducted his Second Symphony and Brahms's Fourth.
With his colleagues he founded a composer's group, "Pro Musica Viva", which was very active in organising concerts of their own music as well as that of other avant-garde composers. During his studies he wrote several symphonic, chamber and solo works which were performed and recorded for radio. His first compositions were also published. In 1961 he conducted Osterc's Nonet, which meant the commencement of Petrić's leadership of the important "Slavko Osterc" Chamber Ensemble with which, in the years 1962-82 he toured throughout Europe, premiering 130 new works written for the ensemble. The world-famous composer Witold Lutoslawski invited him and his group to perform at the Warsaw Autumn 1963, where he presented his "Croquis sonores" for harp and chamber group, winning friendly admiration from the great master.
Petrić himself also wrote numerous pieces for his ensemble, and has published them on a special CD. The "Slavko Osterc" Ensemble was the guest of several European radio stations, and from this period there are two LPs bearing testimony to their activity - in recent years, newly issued CDs have revived many pieces from the ensemble's repertory. For leading the "Slavko Osterc" Ensemble and composing "Inlaid work", in 1971 Petrić won the Prešeren Foundation Award.
He has won many other awards and prizes in the former Yugoslavia and abroad: in 1976, first prize at the Wieniawski Competition for his Sonata for solo violin (printed by PWM in Poland), in 1977, at the Uwharie Duo Competition (USA) for Contacts between Clarinet and Percussion, and in 1984, at the Oscar Espla Competition in Alicante (Spain) for his symphonic poem "The Picture of Dorian Gray". For his compositional contributions he was awarded the Zupančič Prize of the City of Ljubljana in 1977. His Six String Quartets brought him the Kozina Prize in 2001, awarded by the Society of Slovenian Composers.
The list of his compositions includes chamber works, solo pieces for piano, violin, guitar, harp, and various woodwind instruments, as well as symphonic works and concertos. At first, his music was influenced by neoclassicism (sonatas for various woodwind instruments and piano, three symphonies, several concertos…). By the use of aleatoric techniques he began to write in a more avant-garde style, which reached its climax with Quatuor 1969 for string quartet and the Violin Concerto (Trois images) of 1973. After many aleatoric compositions he returned to more traditional writing, and created some "nationally-inspired" works: Gallus Metamorphoses (1992), The Song of Life (1995) on texts by Slovenian poets, Four Seasons after Grohar's Paintings (1995) and Grohar's Impressions (1998). To his polish friends he dedicated Masurian Impressions for four violoncellos.
In recent years, he visited Scotland many times, so that reflections on these sojourns can be found in two McPhadraig's Scottish Diaries for piano, as well in Scottish Impressions and Three Places in Scotland for orchestra. During his latest period he has also written many chamber works for piano and various woodwind instruments.
In 2003 Petrić wrote Come un nastro di porpora for mezzo-soprano, men's choir and instruments for the Coro Polifonico di Ruda, who performed it several times in Italy.
In his long active life as a composer, Ivo Petrić has shared his music with many prominent musicians: conductors - Hartmut Haenchen, Yuri Simonov, Ernest Bour, Leopold Hager, Stanislaw Wislocki, Oscar Danon, Janos Kovacs, Tadeusz Wojciechowski, Richard Duffalo, David de Villiers, En Shao, Yuzo Toyama, Tetsuji Honna, Samo Hubad, Bogo Leskovic, Marko Letonja; soloists - Peter Damm, Irena Grafenauer, Igor Ozim, Primož Novšak, Thomas Christian, Aci Bertoncelj, Mirjam Kalin, Heinrich Schiff, Eugen Indjic, Michael Martin Kofler, Dieter Flury, Clara Dent, Mojca Zlobko Vajgl, Jasminka Stančul, Mikhail Petukhov, Grigori Zhislin, Amy Lynn Barber - in addition to Yugoslav orchestras, the Osaka Philharmonic, the Polish National Philharmonic and chamber groups - Das Dresdner Kammerorchester, the Zagreb Soloists, Het Nederlands Kamerorkest, the Czech Nonet, the Zagreb String Quartet, the Wilanow Quartet, the Talich Quartet - as well as with all the leading Slovenian musicians.
Petrić has been intensely active in the musical life of his country - for many years he was secretary of the Composers' Society and Editor-in-Chief of their Publishing House. From 1979 to 1995 he was Artistic Director of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra. He has written many articles, commentaries and essays on contemporary music. His music has been published by various publishing houses: larger symphonic and chamber scores by Edicije DSS (Slovenian Composers' Society), solo pieces and chamber music by Pizzicato Edizioni Musicali Udine (Italy) and Switzerland, and some scores by Peters Edition/Leipzig (a frequently performed Sonata for clarinet and piano, Sonatina for trumpet and piano, Fanfares and Nocturnes for Brass Quintet, Jeux concertants for Flute and Orchestra, Fresque symphonique).
After retiring from the post of Artistic Director of the Slovenian Philharmonic he has concentrated on publishing Compact Discs - up to now already 12 CDs with his chamber and symphonic music have been produced. His compositions have also been issued on various other CDs with prominent orchestras, chamber groups and soloists.
In the last few years many new compositions have been performed, among them "Canti friulani" for soprano and chamber orchestra at the festival in Tarcento - Italy (2006),
"Quatour 2004" at the American Embassy in Ljubljana, "Concertino doppio" for flute, horn and strings at the Celje Festival (2007), "Marimba concerto" with Nebojša Živković as the soloist and the Slovenian Philharmonic under Marko Letonja in Ljubljana (2007) and "Sinfonietta giocosa" written for the Kammersymphonie Berlin in Berlin (2007). Also a new CD was promoted with chamber music from the seventies, as well as many other performances and recordings. The Slovenian Philharmonic celebrated its 100th Anniversary and nominated Ivo Petrić as an Honorary Member on January 13, 2008.