The story of Zagreb’s Music academy is one of pride, filled with great talents that came out of it, making the institution, university and city that richer for it. But it is also a story of shame. A story that had finally reached its end this Thursday, January 12th
With the grand opening of Blagoj Bersa concert hall, named after a famed composer and music teacher, the academy’s new building had finally seen its completion. The students and teachers at the academy had waited for that moment for a hundred years, practically since its opening. All of that time the academy has been a subtenant on different locations around the city, never owning a proper place of its own, with all the need of future composers and musicians addressed in one place.
The new building on Marshal Tito square, across the road from Croatian National Theater had opened last year, after eleven years of constructing and many controversies along the way: from taking care of ownership rights of Ferimport building that stood there, a neglected architectural monument that was to be the new academy; realizing that the building was too run down and tearing it bit by bit during reconstructions until it was no more, causing public outcry; presenting new blueprints of a building that would disfeature the entire visual identity of the square, causing public outcry; destroying parts of surrounding historical buildings while constructing, causing public outcry; constructions going over budget and having financial problems, causing public outcry; placing a monument very similar to Ivan Kozaric‘s Grounded sun in front of the new building, causing plagiarism accusations from the prominent sculptor, but less of a public outcry this time. Most locals found it funny Zagreb now had two balls, the new one next to a phallic silver spear in front of the academy, the older dislodged on Cvjetni square (it’s original place was also on Marshal Tito square).
After eleven year of going back and forth, though, the public outcries had stopped, the building was finished and the academy finally had a place to call its own. With the completion of Bersa concert hall, it had gotten a place to systematically and without any compromises present the works and talents of their students to the audience.
As a celebratory notion, free concerts will be held throughout the first week. Those will be:
Thursday, January 12th, 7:30 pm
Music academy soloists featuring Zagreb philharmonic orchestra
(Frank Martin; Camille Saint-Saens; Jakov Gotovac; Aram Hacutarjan)
Wednesday, January 13th, 8 pm
Zagreb soloists perform for the Music academy
Tuesday, January 14th, 8 pm
Music academy featuring Mala Scena theater
(opera Amelia Goes to the Ball by Gian Carlo Menotti)
Saturday, January 16th, 8 pm
Vivat Academia! Discipuli et profesores(students and teachers perform classical music together)
All entries are free and you can reserve your ticket at [email protected]
The music academy is one of the more controversial building in Zagreb’s recent history, considered by many an architectural success story as much as a flop. Go check it out and decide for yourself. One thing is for sure, all of Zagreb is proud of its students there and is happy they finally got a proper place to develop their talents, all controversies aside.