The traditional Republic Competition of Young Clarinetists of Serbia 2013 was held in Belgrade last month. ANDREJ ZUPAN, a renowned Slovenian clarinetist, was a member of the jury. I took the opportunity to make a brief conversation with him for the visitors of this website
RL: Colleague Zupan, please tell me something about yourself and your musical education.

– I was born in Ljubljana in 1972 and  started learning the clarinet in the School of Franc Šturm under professor Slavko Goričar. I continued my studies at the High School of Music in the class of my father, professor Alojz Zupan, finished the Faculty of Music at the University of Ljubljana in 1994, and completed postgraduate studies in 1995. I attended classes with professor Vincenzo Mariozzij (St. Cecilia-Rome) and professor Alois Brandhofer (Mozarteum-Salzburg).

RL: Where are you currently working?

– I work as a professor of clarinet at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet in Ljubljana, and as a docent of clarinet at the Academy of Music, University of Ljubljana, where, besides clarinet and chamber music, I teach didactics of blowing, knowledge of wind literature.

RL: Among many awards you’ve won, I know that the one from 1985 is your favorite?
– Yes, I was only thirteen when I got a recognition the Young Musician of the Year in Yugoslavia. The same year, I represented Yugoslavia at the Eurovision Concert of Young Musicians in Madrid (Spain). Furthermore, I was awarded eight first prizes at the competitions of young musicians.
RL: In which orchestras and countries have you played?

– In 1995 I was accepted in ˝Orchestre de Jeunes de la Mediterranee ˝ in France, where I played as the first clarinetist on tours in Europe and Africa. I had played in the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra for ten years. In 1993 I became a solo clarinetist in the orchestra of the National Opera and Ballet in Ljubljana, where I had also played for 11 years.

RL: Tell me about your solo performances.

– I have had several solo performances and recordings with orchestras throughout Slovenia (Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of RTV Slovenia, Big Band of RTV Slovenia, the Symphony Orchestra of the Music Academy, the Brass Orchestra of the Music Academy, the Belgrade Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Workers Band Trbovlje …).
I cooperate with many musicians. I am a co-founder of the world-famous Slovenian Clarinet Quartet with whom I have performed in many countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Austria, France, Belgium), and with a trio Katerm I have performed with my wife, a famous soprano Nataša Zupan.
RL: I know that you have recorded a lot for radio and television. You have many CDs.
– As a soloist and member of chamber ensembles, I recorded several CDs:
  • Slovenian Clarinet Quartet (published in 1995)
  • The Best Years (Gallus Carniolus 1998)
  • Klarinetovanje (published in 1999)
  • Our Story (published in 1999)
  • ISO 2001 (Desk Top Music in 2001)
  • Jazz Heart Kitsch (Desk Top Music in 2001)
  • Resia Valley (2003), SCK Live (2004)
  • Clariland (2004), Mosaic (OML 2004)
  • Pocket Music (2005)
  • Ethno Clarinet Music and Balkan Gypsy Music(2005)
  • Brass band Eta Cerkno (2006)
  • Clownery (Sound-Tech 2006)
  • Shepherd On a Scale (2007)
  • Mnemosyne (2007)
  • OML Live (2009)
  • Made in Slovenia (Artium 2012)
RL: I’m very surprised with your great engagement in the field of music, clarinet and socio-organizational activities.
– I participate in juries at national and international clarinet competitions and I am a co-author of the first Slovenian monograph on the clarinet.
For ten years now I have been leading- conducting in Ljubljana one of the best mandolin orchestras in Europe. We’ve won on the greatest international competitions (Germany, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Croatia). We’ve had concerts in many countries. It is interesting to say that in Slovenia tickets for all concerts were sold more than a month earlier.

Besides this mandolin orchestra, I lead the famous brass band Eta Cerkno.

Since 2009, I have been the artistic director of the International Music Festival   “Musical Summer at Podsreda Castle”.

RL: This year you have been a member of the jury at the Republic Competition of Young Serbian Clarinetists in 2013?
– Yes, it was held in Belgrade from 11 – 12 April 2013.
RL: Every year you hold several seminars. This year from 30 June to 6 July 2013 you will be holding a seminar for clarinetists. Please, tell the readers a little more about it.
– Yes. I have been giving seminars and master classes for clarinetists for a long time in Slovenia and abroad. As you have said I’m just about to hold a new seminar for clarinetists from 30 June to 6 July 2013.
RL: Who is the seminar for and what topics do you plan to teach?
– The seminar is intended for students of clarinet and all teachers who want to improve their skills in teaching clarinet. I plan this seminar in the form of an active, practical work with students.
The emphasis will be on preparing students to improve their skills in playing the clarinet and the candidates who intend to continue studying the clarinet at secondary music schools, conservatories and music academies.
In addition to the interpretation of compositions, we are going to deal with technical problems that are often encountered, and also with the problem of selecting mouthpieces, reeds, etc…
RL: Do you intend to add some works of Radivoj Lazić and Vlastimir Peričić to your clarinet repertoire in the future?
– Certainly. I like the compositions of these favorite authors for beginners and students of clarinet as well as for perfect clarinetists. Concertino in G minor and Introduction, Themes and Variations are compositions which I will certainly include in my repertoire and recommend them to my students at the Academy of Music and the Conservatory of Music in Ljubljana where I work as a professor.
RL: Tell the readers on which brand of clarinet do you play, what brand of mouthpiece do you have and which reeds do you use?
– From the beginning, I play on the Selmer Paris clarinet. I started with es-clarinet, continued with Selmer seria 9, then Slemer seria 10Sand 10SII. I am currently playing on the clarinet Selmer Signature. As a home artist of the Selmer Paris factory I have supported its development. I use different mouthpieces depending on the genre of music which I perform. For classical music, I use brand Lomax mouthpiece and Vandoren reeds. For jazz and ethnic music I have been using lately Vandoren M30 mouthpiece and reeds of Canadian manufacturer Légére Signature. I often use and handmade reeds of French manufacturer M.A.R.C.A. With factories Selmer Paris, Vandoren, M.A.R.C.A. and Légére I work as an artist and promoter of their products throughout the world.