"Music Education in Veles 1900–1"
Julijana Zhabeva Music Education in Veles (1900–1941) Introduction: Veles is one of the most significant cultural centers of Macedonia. It was therefore selected as the subject of research and examination of the music culture within a certain period. This inevitably influenced music education as a whole in Veles and in the other regions of Macedonia. Vasil Glavinov founded the first culture society of Macedonia in Veles in 1894. Previously, in 1857 in Veles, the first higher educational institution in Macedonia – the School of Commerce (later re-named into Gymnasium) was established. In the early 1900s, many culture and art societies (CAS) emerged as a result of the intense growth of the middle class, which helped boost the town’s economic development. The members of these societies were mostly the prosperous and educated youth. In addition to the cultural and educational activities, in the first half of the 20th century Veles was also known for its developed commerce, pottery, mutavdzhiski craft etc. It is these craftsmen that invested in their education, thus helping develop culture in their town. 1. The Gymnasium as the main element for the development of music education in Veles With the development of the Young Turk Movement and the establishment of the Huriet in 1906, the opportunity arose of revitalizing the music life in Veles. That same year, the teachers and students founded the orchestra “Slavej” (Nightingale), followed by the reorganization of the old and famous School-Church Choir. Both the orchestra and choir were conducted by the prominent music teacher Risto Elezov, who strongly influenced the activities and education of the young generation. The School-Church Choir included more than 50 students. Most of the members of “Slavej” and the School-Church Choir were students of the Gymnasium. From 1913 to 1915, a literature and choir singing teacher by the name of Kosta Doshen conducted a tamboura orchestra situated in this still incomplete Gymnasium. Kosta Doshen revived the orchestra after World War I. In the school year 1921/22 the Gymnasium became complete after it acquired a full number of eight classes. This Gymnasium is distinguished because of several people who worked there. Not only are these people important for the development of music education for the young generation, but they are also Gymnasium building significant because due to their activities in several music societies, they helped the town develop its own cultural and music life. Stefan Shijachki (1885–1957), who worked at this school during the 1920s, helped organize music events in Veles and in Skopje. He taught the subject of singing and also conducted the school choir and orchestra. One of his most gifted students was Stefan Gajdov (1905–1992). Noticing his extraordinary music talent, Shijachki motivated and urged Gajdov to study music. In 1923, Gajdov performed as conductor of the Veles Gymnasium Choir. The success he gained with the Veles audience prompted him to continue working with music. The same year, together with Zhivko Firfov (1906–1984), he founded the music society “Grom” (Thunder). Gajdov was its conductor until 1926, when he went to Belgrade to study at the Music School “Mokranjac”. Gajdov’s music activities continued to develop in different fields, so in December of 1923 he wrote his first music composition “Waltz” for mandolin orchestra, dedicated to the Gorski Orchestra. In 1929 he graduated from the Music School “Mokranjac” and returned to his home town. Full of enthusiasm, he started work as a singing teacher at the Gymnasium, achieving great success with the school choir. At the same time Gajdov conducted the choir “Jeka sa Vardara” and wrote choir and chamber music. He worked in the Gymnasium until 1932. Apart from Gajdov, during the 20 previous years Georgij Gurski also taught singing at this school, continuing the choir and orchestra tradition of the school. In the late 1920s, the mandolin orchestra was successfully conducted by Gurski. At the example of this orchestra, several mandolin orchestras emerged in the town, mainly consisting of students from the Gymnasium. These orchestras were conduced by the student Aleksandar Linin (1908–1998) who became a prominent ethnomusicologist after the World War II. In the school year 1938/39 Gurski conducted the music club of the school student fellowship “Jovan Duchikj”. Another one of Gurski’s students, and also Gajdov’s, is Kiro Spirovski (1918–) who later developed into a notable professional musician. Supported by his music teachers, Kiro Spirovski applied at the Army Music School in Vrshac and was accepted. After World War II ended he graduated from the Music Academy in Zagreb and started working as conductor, composer and teacher. In addition to Gajdov and Spirovski, the prominent solo singer Danka Firfova (1918–2003) was also educated at the Veles Gymnasium. Stefan Gajdov At the annual school concert during the 1933/34 school year, together with the choir performances, Danka Firfova performed solo. A representative from the Ministry of Education in Belgrade attended this concert. This representative and the teacher of singing Leonid Bazilevikj (conductor of the choir “Jeka sa Vardara”) advised and helped Danka Firfova receive a written recommendation to study at the “Mokranjac” music school in Belgrade, where she later graduated. She also began her music career after the end of World War II, becoming one of the most famous Macedonian solo singers. The multitude of famous musicians who came out of the Veles Gymnasium continues with Vasil Hadzhimanov (1906–1969, famous ethnomusicologist), who studied in this school during the 1930s. He was one of the best students in music and an exceptional member of the orchestra. During this period Vasil helped Ivan Nikolovski-Tango (1915–1975) learn to play the mandolin. Later Tango departed for Vrshac where he studied at the Army Music School. Upon his graduation he immediately began working with several mandolin and wind orchestras, also conducting the Monopoly Orchestra until 1941. There were many concerts held at this school, always popular with the public. As an example we will mention one of the five concerts held in the school year 1938/39. On 11.02.1939, in the “Zikovic” hall, a concert was held for the Fund for Needy Students. Leonid Bazilevikj was conductor. The program consisted of the following pieces: 1. National Anthem – Gymnasium Choir 2. Svetosava Anthem – Gymnasium Choir 3. “Pique Dame” by Franz von Suppé – Gymnasium Orchestra 4. “In the Honor of the Lord” by Ludwig van Beethoven – Gymnasium Male Choir 5. “Night” by Miloje Milojevic – Gymnasium Choir 6. “Overture” by Danyelly – Gymnasium Orchestra 7. “A Medley of Folk Songs” – Gymnasium Choir Thus, it can easily be concluded that the Veles Gymnasium was the central institution around which the other culture, artistic and sport societies revolved. These societies helped fully develop music educational and cultural activities, but also promoted political and ideological unity of the Macedonian youth. 2. The influence of the Music Societies on the gradual spreading of music culture in Veles At the beginning of this paper we mentioned that the rise of the middle class and the improvement of the economy in Macedonia created opportunities for the development of music culture through education in the elementary and high schools, and also through the establishment of numerous music societies. As a result of the situation in Veles, the chalgija emerged, which is a reflection of the music and esthetic wishes of the citizens of the time. The revival of “Slavej” and the Church- School Choir promised even further music development in Veles. In 1909, the gymnastic society “Veleshki Junak” (Veles Hero) was formed, which managed to purchase 24 wind instruments from Leipzig, Germany. The first conductor of the wind orchestra formed within the “Veleshki Junak” society was Kocho Apostolov-Chaushot (1888–1962). Wind orchestra “Veleshki junak” After a long preparation the first concert took place in 1911. Many talented citizens were members of this orchestra: Dimche Kirkov, Angel Organdzhiev, Gjorgji Minov and many others. After the end of World War I this orchestra continued working within the new Falcon Society*, with Kocho- Chaushot as its conductor. The orchestra existed until 1928. The rapid development of the progressive and revolutionary ideas of the Communist party had an effect on the Veles music life. Parade of Wind orchestra - Falcon society In the early 1920s the CAS “Abrashevic”, “Napredok” and “Pobeda” were established. The repertoire of these societies contained folk songs and Russian revolutionary songs. Regardless of those groups, in 1925 a chamber orchestra conducted by Ilija Nastov was established. This orchestra performed pieces by Mozart, Schumann, CAS “Pobeda” Schubert, Brahms, and others. Meanwhile, the first prominent music professionals Stefan Gajdov and Zhivko Firfov formed the music society “Grom”. Members of this society were students from the Gymnasium, but workers and merchants as well. This society organized seminars and courses in elementary theory and history of music. Further on this society developed into a massive organization of three sectors: music, theater and sport. The name of this organization of the early 1930s was “Gorski”. During the same period the government banned the performances of the Falcon Music. Still the citizens did not yield and after several months formed the “Railway Society”. Gjorgje Vrbikj was leader of this organization, as well as of the Monopoly choir. This Monopoly choir included a chamber wind orchestra. During the 1930s Vrbikj was succeeded by Ivan Nikolovski-Tango. From 1926 to 1941 the factory “Kolska” housed a choir, a tamboura and a wind orchestra. The Kolska Wind Orchestra had numerous successful performances outside Macedonia, in Ljubljana, Sarajevo and Osiek. The government of the time could not bear the success of these societies and could not match with their educational and cultural activities. * Falcon Societies were gymnastic and athletic clubs existing in the regions of Yugoslavia between the two World Wars. (translator’s note) Therefore, in 1929/30 it formed the societies “Jeka sa Vardara” and “Jovan Babunski” which existed for a short period of time. The Urs Unions within the Communist party before World War II were particularly prominent in the cultural, educational and ideological upheaval of the young proletariat. The Urs Union expanded its activities into musically educating the proletariat youth. Music society “Gorski” In June of 1936, this Union organized a course in violin and mandolin note playing. The main organizer was Filimon Cekov, a barber and president of the Local Union Board of the Urs Union. About 30 youths attended the course which had two parts: theoretical and practical. Wind orchestra - Kolska The theoretical part included the study of the basic music signs: treble clef, types of notes, rests and their length, types of tonality, music terms such as legato, staccato, etc. The courses took place two or three times weekly during the evening hours. After the discontinuation of the first course, Filimon Cekov organized a course in playing. The leader of the second course was Ivan Nikolovski-Tango. The repertoire of this course included the waltz, the tango and fox-trot, and the members played at dances, outings and matinees. From the many performances Cekov singled out the tamboura orchestra concert in January of 1937, where 15-20 young craftsmen performed in the Hotel Zagreb Hall, conducted by Ivan Nikolovski-Tango. The repertoire included several marches and hits such as “Renome March”, “Uspomena Velesa” (Memories of Veles), “Cucaracha”, “Congo” “Ti samo ti” (You, Only You), etc. The overall development of music life in the early 20th century and the great energy that supported it resulted in the emergence of great theoreticians, composers, conductors, teachers and interpreters: Stefan Gajdov, Zhivko Firfov, Danka Firfova, Kiro Spirovski, Ivan Nikolovski-Tango and Stojan Alchev. After 1945 they all continued to build and develop music life in the entire country. Bibliography: 1. Arhiv na grad Veles: - Veleshka gimnazija u shkolskoj 1922–1923. 1923. Skopje: Shtamparija Stara Srbija - Drzhavna nepotpuna realna gimnazija i Visha samoupravna gimnazija u Velesu-izveshtaj za shkolsku 1938–1939. 1939. Skopje: Nemanja - Sekjavanja na Filimon Cekov, I del, 23.04.1984 g. 2. Eden vek muzichki zivot. 1988. Titov Veles: Grafichar 3. Gimnazija “Kocho Racin”-Titov Veles. 1980. Titov Veles: Gimnazija “Kocho Racin 4. Muzej na grad Veles: Sliki od muzichkata zbirka na muzejot 5. Tito gradovi (Titograd, Titova Korenica, Titovo Uzhice, Titov Veles). 1977: Beograd 6. Dzimrevski Borivoje. 1985. Chalgiskata tradicija vo Makedonija. Skopje: Makedonska kniga