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CREES Noon Lecture. “From Mountain Fairies to Fender Guitars: The Power of Myth in the Music and Times of Goran Bregovic.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
12:00 AM
1636 International Institute/SSWB, 1080 S. University

<br> Svjetlana Bukvich-Nichols, composer and professor of music technology, New York University. <br> Sponsors: CREES, Center for European Studies-European Union Center.

The work of Goran Bregovic, one of the preeminent figures in Balkan music, tells the story of a people who dared to live a dream of their own design in a particular time in post-war Europe. His music unified the identity-seeking expressions of early industrialization, independent political progress, and spiritual freedom by weaving progressive rock with the mythology of the land. From 1974-89, in the midst of socialist kitsch and with the country’s élan in decline, Bregovic single-handedly conjured the birth of sympho-rock in the former Yugoslavia. It ushered the legends of mountain nymphs through the Russo-German influences in classical music and the British rock iconography to a youth eager to re-invent itself. There was one place essential for the cultural navigation of such ideas. Sarajevo, the city of his birth, signified a pluralistic society and a possibility for a pluralistic world in a country where Brecht, Bartok and Kusturica stood side by side in a seemingly easy alchemy. After the fall of Yugoslavia, Bregovic relocated to Paris and Belgrade, and continued to compose for film and large ensembles in the idiomatically similar veins of ethnic music of Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, and beyond, bringing the voice of a unique land to the world stage.
--Svjetlana Bukvich-Nichols

A native of Sarajevo, Svjetlana Bukvich-Nichols played with rock bands, composed for independent television and theater, collaborated with some of Europe’s foremost musicians, and performed as a piano soloist with the Sarajevo Philharmonic. Her flourishing career was cut short by the Balkan War. She then earned an MFA in integrated electronic arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the first multimedia program of its kind. She is featured in the forthcoming book Conversations with American Women Composers, and is an artist-in-residence at Lafayette College in fall 2011. Svjetlana continues to write for film, animation, dance, electro-acoustic ensembles, and trail-blazing instrumentalists in the new-music world. She teaches at New York University and Pratt Institute, and mentors young composers and media artists in pursuit of their creative dreams. Much more information about Svjetlana can be found on her website:

Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra will be performing Saturday, October 15, at 8 pm at Hill Auditorium, 825 North University Avenue. For ticket information, call 734.764.2538 or see