Dora Pejačević and BBC!


Dora Pejačević, aristocrat, countess, intellectual of wide horizons, bluestocking and polyglot, and above all sensitive artist and creator of music that inspires and moves, was at last the theme of the world’s biggest media corporations, such as the British media consortium BBC – British Broadcasting Corporation.

In its Third Programme, in the series Composer of the Week, in mid-2019, the BBC devoted five episodes to Dora (The first Croatian piano concerto of Dora Pejačević; The original voice of Dora Pejačević; The dedicatees and interpreters of the work of Dora Pejačević; Pejačević and the literary elite and Pejačević, countess against her will).  Distinguished English musicologist, editor and presenter Donald Macleod welcomed to the programme the top historian Iskra Iveljić and the prominent musicologist Acasdemician Koraljka Kos, who is absolutely primarily to be credited with research into and systematisation of knowledge about Dora Pejačević, which she has encompassed in three books, in German, Croatian and English (two of which being issued by the Music Information Centre of the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall).  With his distinguished Croatian guests, Macleod not only presented Dora’s marvellous music, but in a kind of panoptic took a walk through her life, portraying not just the composer herself, but brilliantly presenting the context of the time and the historical cirumstanccs, social ferments, the artistic crème, the elite musicians writers and top intellectuals of Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Zagreb and Munich, of which she was herself an important part.

Much to be thanked for the production of this cycle of broadcasts is Germany musicologist, violinist and German studies expert Burkhard Schmilgun, who for 15 years, as artistic director of the Germany media firm cop jpc produced a most admirable edition of recordings with all the most important works of Dora with top performances by internationally recognised artists and orchestras, for which he won the Vatroslav Lsinski Prize of the Association of Croatian Composers. 

To close, it is worth remarking that many of the initiatives mentioned above would have been infeasible without the persistent and unremitting work of the Music Information Centre of the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall, who with the Dora Pejačević Project since 1999, particularly with the publication of sheet music of the works, cleared the path for the many performances and recordings of Dora’s fascinating oeuvre.  In November 2021, for instance, her music will be heard in Warsaw and Katowice, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio Katowice conducted by Anu Tali and in London in the Barbican Hall performed by the BBC Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo.

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