Ivan Josip Skender
Versatile musician Ivan Josip Skender was born in Varaždin in 1981. After high school graduation in 1997, he enrolled in the study of composition at the Music Academy in Zagreb, in the class of prof. Željko Brkanović as the youngest composition student in the history of the Academy. In 1999, he enrolled in a parallel study of orchestral conducting in the class of prof. Vjekoslav Šutej. He participated in conducting seminars and workshops (Klaus Arp, Bertrand de Billy, Zubin Mehta, etc.) and composition (Michael Jarell, Joszef Soproni). He won the University Rector’s Award for his piece”Heads and Tails”. From 2010 to 2012 he attended a two-year postgraduate study of orchestral conducting in Vienna in the class of prof. Uroš Lajovic. His compositions have been performed in almost all countries of Western and Central Europe, as well as in the USA, Canada and Mexico. He was the first composer representative of Croatia at the European multimedia festival MusMA (Music Masters on Air) in 2012. He was the recipient of the”Rudolf and Brigita Matz” scholarship for young composers. His wide and versatile opus includes music for soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestras, choirs, music for drama theater, musicals, the opera “Stribor’s Forest”. The mentioned opera was performed 27 times as it stayed a part of the repertoire of the National Theatre in Rijeka, making it by far the most performed contemporary opera in recent Croatian history.
He is the winner of numerous awards, of which the “Stjepan Šulek” award for best contemporary piece in 2017 for the composition “Phantasmagoria” stands out. As a conductor he has collaborated with numerous Croatian and foreign ensembles (Austrian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Sinfonietta, Opera Ensemble and Staatsheater Orchestra in Braunschweig, Croatian Baroque Ensemble, Zagreb Philharmonic, Varaždin Chamber Orchestra, Karst Orchestra, ensemble and chamber orchestra, Zagreb Youth Orchestra, HRT Choir and Orchestra, Academic Choir of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Zagreb Palma). Under his leadership, the Palma Academic Choir has won numerous awards in Croatia and abroad. Members of the Cantus Contemporary Music Ensemble elected him in 2012 as the ensemble’s permanent conductor. In the years 2005 to 2014 he was employed at the Opera of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb as a choirmaster and participated in all opera productions as a choirmaster, assistant or conductor. In 2009, he became an assistant to prof. Uroš Lajovic at the Music Academy in Zagreb. He was the artistic director of the Opera of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb for the opera season 2013/2014. From the season 2014/2015. until the 2019/2020 season. He is employed as the conductor of the Opera of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb. He is permanently employed at the Music Academy in Zagreb as an assistant professor in the Orchestral Conducting Department and in the Singing Department.