International Council for Traditions of Music and Dance

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Report - Struga September 4-8, 2008

The Study Group for Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe held its first symposium in Struga (Macedonia), in September 4-8, 2008. The symposium was connected with the international manifestation “Struga Musical Autumn” which has more than thirty years history in the cultural life of Macedonia. The meeting was organized by Macedonian Composers’ Association – SOKOM, and was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia. The Local Arrangments Committee consists of several members: Velika Stoykova Serafimovska (symposium co-chair) and SOKOM Technical Services (technical organization). The Programme Committee consists of the following members: Velika Stoykova Serafimovska (Republic of Macedonia), Elsie Ivancic Dunin (USA/Croatia), Selena Rakocevic (Serbia) and Lozanka Peycheva (Bulgaria).
Guest of honor of the symposium was Professor Elsie Ivancich Dunin. An overview of Prof. Dunin’s scholarly legacy with emphasis on her contribution to ethnochoreology in Macedonia was presented by Ivona Opetceska Tatarcevska.
The themes for the conference included:
1.Tradition – transition – revival
2.Governmental policies, patronage and censorship
About fifty participants presented their observations and analyses on various aspects of the music and dance in southeastern Europe. The new study group has drawn the attention of researchers from different countries and generations with its first symposium – there were participants of various ages and professional experiences from Macedonia, Turkey, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Germany, Great Britain, Austria, USA. This has created a very good possibility for exchange of useful knowledge, ideas, methodologies and experiences. The meeting between established authorities in science and young scientists, making their first steps, between the ethnomusicologists from the Balkans and from “The West”, between representatives of academic institutions and representatives of art-creative and scientific-applied organizations gave way to new spaces for dialogues and mutual enrichment.
The biggest interest was (judging by the number of participants) for the topic “Tradition – Transition – Revival”. The list of presenters included: Fikret Merve Eken Kucukaksoy, Ahmed Tohumcu, Ferruh Ozdincer, Berna Ozbilen, Belma Kurtisoglu (Turkey), Eran Livni, Yvonne Hunt (USA), Selena Rakocevic, Marija Dumnic, Nice Fracile, Mladen Markovic, Olivera Vasic (Serbia), Liz Mellish, Nick Green (UK), Dieter Christensen (USA/Germany), Ursula Hemetek (Austria), Elka Tschernokosheva (Bulgaria/Germany), Moica Kovacic, Masa Marty (Slovenia), Rosemary Statelova, Daniela Ivanova, Ivanka Vlaeva (Bulgaria), Alexandra Balandina (Greece), Eno Koco (UK/Albania), Ratko Duev, Rodna Velichkovska, Vladimir Janevski (Macedonia), Iva Niemcic (Croatia). The presentations were organized around different themes: musical genres and styles, performing and authors’ (composing, film-directing) creation, dances and dancing, functioning contexts (spaces, institutions, sociocultural and political changes), minorities, images, discussions.
The participants in the topic “Governmental policies, patronage and censorship” were Mehmet Ocal Ozbilgin, Arzu Ozturkmen (Turkey), Ana Hofman, Svanibor Pettan (Slovenia), Ivona Opetceska Tatarcevska, Ganka Cvetanova (Macedonia), Naila Ceribasic (Croatia). The papers focused on various aspects of state politics, patronizing and censuring in the field of folk music and dance, educational politics and traditional dancing, constructing of national politics and practices, connected to UNESCO’s program on intangible cultural heritage.
The papers in topic “Media” were focused on actual problems of the music and dance in electronic media, sound industry, sound archives and multimedia, Romani music and dances. The presenters in these thematic fields were: Susanne Ziegler (Germany), Branka Kostic-Markovic, Sonja Zdravkova Dzeparovska (Macedonia), Zeynep Gonca Girgin Tohumcu (Turkey), Lozanka Peycheva, Ventsislav Dimov (Bulgaria), Elsie Ivancich Dunin (USA/Croatia).
Along with the ethnomusicological and ethnochoreological panels, the co-organizers of the scientific forum – SOKOM had invited to the conference musicologists (from Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia) interested in art music, medievalism, history of music, contemporary performance practices and compositorial work.
The presented papers caused many formal and informal discussions. The active, lively and stimulating talks were indicative of the necessity of such forums giving the opportunity for discussion on different events and practices, points of view and positions.
The programme also included several evening music events: performance of Folk Ensemble “Drimkol” from Vevcani; a concert of spiritual music (Byzantine Orthodox male singing); performance of belly dance (cocek) from different regions of Macedonia. Generated by the organized concerts, the festive spirit continued into the unofficial evening parties, when many participants shared a bundle of popular songs and dances from around the Balkans.
During the symposium's opening, the organizers presented two publications printed during the last year. First were the proceedings of the last international conference in Struga (September 2007 when the Study Group for Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe was founded), published in Macedonia (Velika Stoykova Serafimovska, editor, 2008. The Balkan Peninsula as a musical crossroad, Skopje, SOKOM). The other publication was the collection for Vienna and the Balkans, as a part of the pre-history of Study Group for Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe (Lozanka Peycheva and Angela Rodel, editors, 2008. Vienna and the Balkans: papers from the 39th world conference of the ICTM, Vienna 2007, Sofia: Institute of Art Studies – Bulgarian Musicology Studies). The official ceremony was attended by the Minister of Culture of Macedonia, Elizabeta Kancheska–Milevska and the President of SOKOM, Marko Kolovski who gave welcoming addresses.
The proceedings of this first symposium will be published in Macedonia.
The next meeting of the Study Group for Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe will take place in Izmir, Turkey, in 2010.

Lozanka Peycheva