30 September 2020



ISIDORA ŽEBELJAN (27 th September, 1967 – 29 th September, 2020)

Tuesday, 29 th September saw the departure of our cherished associate, friend and former member of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre steering committee – composer Isidora Žebeljan. She studied composition at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade. In 2002, Žebeljan became a full time professor of composition at the same Faculty. In 2006, she became a corresponding member of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2012 was elected a full time member of the Art and Music Department. At the time, she was the youngest member ever to become a member of the Academy. In 2012, Žebeljan was elected to the World Academy of Art & Science (WAAS). Recipient of Civitella Ranineri Foundation Fellowship (New York, 2005). Berlin’s weekly magazine Der Freitag listed Isidora Žebeljan for the ten most promising public figures in the world for the year 2009.

She attracted international attention with her opera Zora D which premièred in Amsterdam in 2003 (performed on the YDT stage in 2004 at the opening ceremony of 36th edition of BEMUS festival). Since then, she was in great demand with commissions from prominent institutions and festivals. Isidora Žebeljan’s compositions are regularly performed at most prominent music venues around the world. She also gave concerts both as conductor and pianist. The exclusive publisher of her music is Ricordi-Universal from Milan.

The first time Isidora Žebeljan composed a score for a Yugoslav Drama Theatre production was in 1998 for Leonce and Lena by Georg Büchner, directed by Dejan Mijač. Other productions she was involved in include The Cherry Orchard by A. P. Chekhov, directed by Dimitrije Jovanović (2000), 11 Weeks by Radoslav Pavlović, directed by Irena Ristić (2000), Dirty Hands by Jean-Paul Sartre, directed by Radoslav Milenković (2000), Locusts by Biljana Srbljanović, directed by Dejan Mijač (2005) and Banat by Uglješa Šajtinac, directed by Dejan Mijač (2007).

Recipient of numerous awards including Josip Slavenski Award (1989), International Forum of Composers Award (1993), Vasilije Mokranjac Award (2001), Stevan Mokranjac Award (2004), FIPRESCI Award from the Serbian Film Critics Association of Serbia for best film soundtrack in How I Was Stolen by the Germans (2012), Stefan Prvovenčani Recognition of achievement of Raška spiritual ceremonies for continual contribution to the Serbian culture (2012), Award of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean for extraordinary achievements (2013, 2014)… four time recipient of YUSTAT Award of the Biennale of Theatre Design for the best original theatre score (1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002) and the one in year 2000 was for the original score composed for the production of Leonce and Lena. She also received three Sterijino Pozorje Awards (1998, 2001 and 2006) one of which was for the best original theatre score for the production of Locusts at 51 st Sterijino Pozorje theatre festival in Novi Sad in 2006.

Photo by: Kristina Miljković

Photo courtesy of the Association of Composers of Serbia; Photo by: Kristina Miljković