Media releases

wed, September 6th, 2023


Thursday, July 6th | 09:00 pm | Roman Forum

Opening Ceremony: Dedications

Croatian Radio-Television Symphony Orchestra
Pavle Zajcev
, conductor
Marta Hut, soprano
Branimir Pustički, cello
Mia Miljković Đuzel, piano

Program: A. Dolički, A. Dvořák, D. Pejačević, B. Bersa, O. Respighi

Saturday, July 8th | 09:00 pm | St Donatus Church
15,00 € / 113,02 kn

Splendori musicali della Serenissima

Contemporaneity of Early Music Cycle


Concerto Scirocco
Esther Crazzolara, violin
Pietro Modesti, cornetto
Susanna Defendi, sackbut
Luca Bandini, violone
Giovanni Bellini, theorbo
Michele Vannelli, organ
Giulia Genini, artistic direction, dulcian and recorders

Program: G. Picchi, S. Scheidt, S. Rossi, M. Neri, F. Cavalli, G. G. Kapsberger, G. P. Cima, G. A. Bertoli

Sunday, July 9th | 11:00 am | St Chrysogonus’ Church
5,00 € / 37,67 kn

Unesco Musica

Concert on the anniversary of the inscription of the Zadar Fortification System on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, in cooperation with the Palmanova International Music Competition

Chiara Bleve, piano

Program: F. Chopin, R. Schumann, E. Granados, M. Ravel, A. Scriabin, S. Prokofiev

Sunday, July 9th | 09:00 pm | St Chrysogonus’ Church
10,00 € / 75,35 kn

Rachmaninov & Bersa 150

Krešimir Stražanac, bass-baritone
Krešimir Starčević, piano

Program: S. Rachmaninov, B. Bersa

Tuesday, July 11th | 09:00 pm | St Donatus Church
15,00 € / 113,02 kn

Dalmatian Mirror (world premiere)

Contemporaneity of Early Music Cycle

Companyia Musical
Concerto Scirocco
Artistic direction: Josep Cabré

Program: F. Sponga Usper, I. Lukačić, T. Cecchini, J. Skjavetić

Friday, July 14th | 09:00 pm | St Donatus Church
10,00 € / 75,35 kn

In Honour of the Maestro

In honour of the maestro Antun Dolički (1935 - 2022)

"Zoranić" Croatian Music Choral Society
Tomislav Košta
, conductor
Ivan Štorić, piano
Sanja Filipi, soprano

Program: I. Kuljerić, T. L. de Victoria, R. di Marino, K. Odak, Š. Dešpalj, B. Bersa, J. Gotovac, A. Dolički

Thursday, July 20th | 09:00 pm | St Anastasia Cathedral

The Buturić Brothers

Ante Buturić, clarinet
Mihovil Buturić, organ

Program: J. S. Bach, B. Kovács, A. Pärt, J. Prajz (first performance), G. Fauré, A. D. Miller, H. Rabaud

Friday, July 21st | 09:00 pm | St Donatus Church
15,00 € / 113,02 kn

From the Zadar Musical Heritage

Zagreb Soloists
Marija Kuhar Šoša, soprano

Program: N. Strmić, W. A. Mozart, P. I. Tchaikovsky

Saturday, July 22nd | 08:00 pm | Bedemi zadarskih pobuna - St Rocco's Bastion

Valter Dešpalj: Exhibition

From Zadar to world stages

Ana Vidić, author

Tuesday, July 25th | 09:00 pm | St Donatus Church
10,00 € / 75,35 kn

Nela + Tea

Nela Šarić, soprano
Tea Kulaš, organ

Program: A. Vidaković, G. Caccini, J. S. Bach, P. Mascagni, C. Franck, F. von Suppè, K. Odak, M. Reger

Wednesday, July 26th | 09:00 pm | St Chrysogonus’ Church
20,00 € / 150,69 kn

Hommage à Valter Dešpalj

Zadar Chamber Orchestra
Ivan Repušić, conductor
Roman Simović, violin

Program: L. van Beethoven, A. Dvořák

Thursday, July 27th | 09:00 pm | St Chrysogonus’ Church
20,00 € / 150,69 kn

Hommage à Valter Dešpalj (reprise)

Zadar Chamber Orchestra
Ivan Repušić, conductor
Roman Simović, violin

Program: L. van Beethoven, A. Dvořák

Monday, July 31st | 08:30 pm | St Chrysogonus’ Church
10,00 € / 75,35 kn

Musicians from Zadar play Dora

Ivan ŠtorićAdrian ValčićAntonija Šoša Ledenko, piano
Bernarda Klinar, mezzosoprano
Ankica Šoša Graziani, violin
Ana Ivanov, violina
Amalija Kokeza, viola
Paola Genovese, cello

Program: D. Pejačević

Sunday, August 6th | 09:00 pm | St Chrysogonus’ Church
10,00 € / 75,35 kn

Stabat mater

Morana Pleše Petruševski, soprano
Ivanica Vunić, mezzosoprano
Petruš Petruševski, double bass
Ivana Vrban, piano

Program: C. Saint-Saëns, A. Vivaldi, I. Muhvić, G. B. Pergolesi, G. Rossini, J. S. Bach, G. Caccini, A. Stradella, W. A. Mozart, G. Bizet

Monday, August 7th | 09:00 pm | St Chrysogonus’ Church
15,00 € / 113,02 kn

Café Schubert

Antiphonus, Krešimir Stražanac & Danijel Detoni

Program: F. Schubert

Tuesday, August 8th | 09:00 pm | St Chrysogonus’ Church
15,00 € / 113,02 kn

Dancing Guitar

Zadar Chamber Orchestra
Ivan Hut
, conductor
Petrit Çeku, guitar

Program: W. A. Mozart, I. Padovec, I. Albéniz, A. Dobronić, B. Bartók


Programme 2023


Musical Evenings at St Donatus is a musical and music-performative festival which, through its reproductive, musicological, explorative and educational programme of an international character, fosters and promotes artistic values and the patrimony of Croatian and world musical heritage with two programmatic bases: chamber music, with the focus on the work of Zadar Chamber Orchestra, and early music, that is medieval and Renaissance music, with a special focus on local and national heritage of the field, with which the festival meets the demands of public needs in culture. City of Zadar is the founder and organizer of the Musical Evenings at St Donatus, while the production of the Festival has been entrusted to Zadar Concert Office – the public cultural institution of the City of Zadar. The artistic programme of the Festival from 2019 to 2023 is created by Jurica Šoša and Katarina Livljanić (early music). Musical Evenings at St Donatus has been taking place in Zadar annually since 1961, in July and August.


Musical Evenings at St Donatus were initiated thanks to the enthusiasm of a young musician who went on to become one of the greatest Croatian conductors, Pavle Dešpalj, a local of Zadar. He founded the festival hoping to fulfill two of his great wishes – to turn the church of St Donatus into a concert venue and for Zadar to get its own orchestra once again.

To meet the needs of the festival, Dešpalj founded the Zadar Chamber Orchestra, which was inaugurated in 1961 at the first concert of the Musical Evenings at St Donatus. The festival opened with the premiere of the song "Moba" for strings, composed especially for the occasion by his father, Šime Dešpalj.

The Zadar pre-Romanesque rotunda of St Donatus’ finally opened its doors to outside audiences, after a thousand-year-long slumber, to enjoy first-rate musical performances in its architecturally and acoustically exceptional space for decades to come.

The first phase of the festival was marked by an effort to bring prominent artists of both international and domestic reproductive music art to Zadar, but also by striving to strengthen the city’s own artistic forces by including their performances in the festival program on par with the other renowned participants.

From 1975 to 1990, a significant part of the program was dedicated to early music, which became the Evenings’ recognizable trademark within Europe and around the world. The local enthusiasm for early music was blooming at a time of great breakthroughs of early music and coincided almost entirely with the enthusiasm it was enjoying throughout the Old Continent. It was a period remembered for arrivals of exceptional experts and artists from various parts of the world, who passionately researched and performed music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque.

After a dramatic break in 1991, the Evenings continued to operate, maintaining defiant continuity even in the midst of war, under artillery fire, in 1992 and 1993. Nevertheless, this was also the period when the underlying concept of the festival was initially developed, lasting to this day, based primarily on select symphony and chamber concerts, along with early music, but with an emphasis on promoting local composers and performers.

Besides performances by national and international orchestras and ensembles, guest appearances of eminent domestic and international artists, Musical Evenings at St Donatus also nurture continuous cooperation with the Zadar Chamber Orchestra. Furthermore, the Evenings’ summer music stages are a reliable platform for hosting performances by all academically educated Zadar musicians, while at the same time honoring the memory of the locals who had left their mark on the history of music, such as Franz von Suppè, Blagoje Bersa, Igor Kuljerić, and others.

Today Musical Evenings at St Donatus enjoy the reputation of being the oldest Zadar festival and one of the oldest Croatian music festivals. Thanks to them, the church of St. Donatus - the symbol of Zadar - is recognized as one of the most important music stages in all of Europe!

Artistic Directors

Jurica Šoša

Jurica Šoša (Zadar, 1981) graduated in piano at the Music Academy in Zagreb in the class of Prof George Stanetti, where he later completed his postgraduate studies. During his university years, he won several awards at competitions, including the first prize at the national competition of the Croatian Society of Music and Dance Educators (2001), a special award of the Croatian Composers' Society for the best performance of a Croatian author (1998) and the University Rector's Award in Zagreb (2002).

Since 2003 he has been teaching piano at the Blagoje Bersa Music School in Zadar. From 2006 to 2016 he was the conductor of the Croatian Choral Society "Zoranić", and since 2010 he has been the artistic director of the Musical Evenings at St Donatus.

Katarina Livljanić

Katarina Livljanić, singer and musicologist, is an international specialist in medieval music and plainchant performance. Born on the Adriatic coast of Croatia, she decided to become a medieval music performer at a very early age, training at the Zagreb Music Conservatory before moving to France to study voice and musicology. She directs the vocal ensemble Dialogos, which she founded, specializing in medieval chant and liturgical theatre of the Glagolitic tradition. For her work in this field, she was decorated for cultural achievement in 2002 by the president of Croatia and received in 2016 the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.

She obtained a Ph.D. at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris. As a Maître de conferences in medieval music at the Sorbonne University in Paris, she directed a medieval music performance Masters programme for almost twenty years. Since 2019, she became a voice teacher at the medieval and renaissance department at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. She is regularly invited as visiting lecturer or artist in residence at Harvard University (visiting lecturer in 1997, artist in residence in 2003 and Blodgett Artist in Residence in 2011) and to numerous universities in Europe, in the United States and Canada (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Fondazione Cini, Boston University, Yale...) as a teacher or resident artist. With Benjamin Bagby (Sequentia), she has been awarded a Cornille Visiting Professorship at Wellesley College (USA) in 2007. She publishes articles about medieval chant performance in specialized reviews worldwide and is the author of a volume in the collection Paléographie Musicale founded in by the monks of Solesmes in 1889. In 2002 she was a guest artistic advisor at the Early Music Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands and in 2012 she was artist in residence at the Laus Polyphoniae Festival in Antwerpen, Belgium.

As a soloist, she performs contemporary repertoire in collaboration with the Croatian pianist Danijel Detoni and the french ensemble Variances, directed by Thierry Pecou. She is also active as poet and publishes in Croatian literary reviews.

Council of the Musical Evenings at St Donatus

Dina Bušić

Predsjednica vijeća

Dina Bušić (Zadar, 1979) graduated in musicology at the Music Academy of University of Zagreb. She has had a professional connection to the Musical Evenings at St Donatus since 2001, first volunteering as a student, and later as reporter for Jutarnji list, Zadarski list and Croatian National Radio. From 2005 to 2015 she worked as a producer of the Evenings and other classical music events organized by Croatian National Theatre Zadar either as producer, professional musicologist and in marketing. During that time, she worked on the development of music cycles that make up the very foundation of the city's concert life.

After multiple years of working towards enabling the city of Zadar to get its own public institution to deal with musical production and coordination and direction of concert life in the city, Bušić became the director of the Zadar Concert Hall in 2015. At that time, the Zadar Concert Hall received from the City of Zadar venues within Rector's Palace to govern, thus forming a whole array of new programs, along with the existing musical cycles, in the newly renovated space.

Since 2019, Dina Bušić has worked as Head of the City of Zadar's Public Department of Culture and Sports and council director of Musical Evenings at St Donatus. She is the author and editor of two monographs: Zadar Chamber Orchestra – Orchestra of Zadar's Desire (2015) and 70 Years of Musical School Blagoje Bersa (2017).

Ante Ćurković

Ante Ćurković (Zadar, 1985) is the assistant head for EU funds of the City of Zadar. He received his master's degree in political science, majoring in public policy, management and development, and European Studies at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb. He participated in numerous seminars and courses on EU community policies, regional and local development, and EU funds.

Since 2013, he has been actively working on the coordination and management of EU projects aimed at regional and local development, civil society development, rural development, energy efficiency, infrastructure improvement, and encouraging the development of entrepreneurship and employment at the regional and local level.

In recent years, the City of Zadar Administrative Department for EU Funds has primarily been preparing and implementing projects funded through European Union programs aimed at local development and improvement of infrastructure.

Branko Dukić

Branko Dukić (Zadar, 1966) graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Rijeka in 1992, returning to Zadar as a medical doctor to begin his medical internship at the Zadar General Hospital.

Shortly after the start of the internship, in September 1992, he enlisted to participate in the Homeland War, joining the 134th Guards Brigade, which was soon transformed into TG 134. With the founding of the 84th Guard Battalion in Zadar, he became their member as a professional soldier as an army doctor.

Before becoming a mayor, he was the head of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Zadar General Hospital for almost 13 years. He was elected mayor of Zadar in 2017.

Ante Gverić

Ante Gverić (Zadar, 1977) completed a two-year study of philosophy and a four-year study of theology at the Society of Jesus Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Zagreb, affiliated with the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He graduated in archival studies from the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Information Sciences.

He received his doctorate from the University of Zadar in 2016, and the title of assistant professor in 2019. Since 2012, he has been the director of the State Archives in Zadar.

Linda Ivić Bijuklić

Linda Ivić Bijuklić graduated in violin in 1983 from the Music Academy in Zagreb in the class of Prof Josip Klima. She returned to her native Zadar the same year and started teaching violin at the Blagoja Bersa Music School, where she still works today. She has been playing in the Zadar Chamber Orchestra since 1980, as well as participates in their work organization, and serves as the president of the Zadar Chamber Orchestra Association. Together with Drago Novak, Petar Vrbančić, and Vladimir Lukas, she founded the string quartet of the Zadar Chamber Orchestra. Since 1985, she has played in the early music ensemble Zadar Madrigalists, where she served as one of the artistic directors until 2004.

Melita Ivković

Melita Ivković (Zadar, 1976) has been the director of the Zadar Concert Office since December 2018. She graduated in guitar at the Music Academy in Zagreb. As a professional musician, she performed with the Zagreb Guitar Quartet and other chamber and guitar ensembles in hundreds of concerts in 30 countries around the world.

She taught guitar at the Elly Bašić Music School in Zagreb (1998-2010), as well, upon her return to her hometown, at the Blagoje Bersa Music School in Zadar (2010-2018). She held courses in the US, the South African Republic and Belgium, and has published papers in journals Gitara (Croatia) and Classical Guitar Magazine (Great Britain).

Jelka Milošević

Jelka Milošević (Zadar, 1954) - after graduating from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, she worked at Tankerkomerc (1982-1991), as purchasing manager at Folijaplast (today's Aluflexpack), eventually becoming commercial director and board member of the company (1991-2007). From 2007 until her retirement in 2018, she was employed at Tehno Holding d.o.o. as director of several companies.


Subscription to all concerts

By purchasing a subscription in the amount of 450 kn, you get discounted ticket prices.
Additional information and reservations are available at email or phone 023 62 77 62.

Tickets to individual concerts

The tickets can be purchased:

  • at the info desk of the Rector's Palace, Poljana Šime Budinića 3, Zadar (map), on weekdays 11 am - 1 pm and 7 pm - 9 pm, on Saturdays 11 am - 1 pm. On Sundays, tickets are sold at the concert venue exclusively;
  • in front of the concert venue before each concert, 8 pm - 9 pm;
  • at the address

Special offers

Benefits and ticket discounts for all concerts are offered to retirees, students, kids under the age of 12 and people with disabilities.

Discounted tickets can only be bought in advance (at the Rector’s Palace info-desk).

Tickets purchased at the venues before the concerts are subject to 10 kuna additional charge compared to tickets bought in advance at the info desk of the Rector's Palace.




Bedemi zadarskih pobuna - St Rocco's Bastion

Roman Forum

The Forum was the main square in Iader, a Liburnian city built in the imperial period of the Roman Republic according to the rules of classical town planning. It represents a very developed example of the forum complex, and is one of the most important among the Adriatic ancient cities. The inscription with the name of Augustus proconsul for Illyricum, Tamfil Vaale, carved on the well of the Forum, testifies that the complex construction was started as early as the second decade of the 1st century BC. In the period of late antiquity, the foundations of Christian buildings were laid. They later developed into an episcopal complex with the basilica and annexes, and were joined by the rotunda in the Early Middle Ages, eventually destroying the complex of earlier erected buildings. In the course of history, the whole complex was reduced to rubble and the Kampa was built in its place, a medieval square with a Renaissance cistern. The ravages of the Second World War turned this complex into a heap of rubble. When this was removed, it became possible to carry out research on the remains of the ancient buildings and on the square itself.

St Anastasia Cathedral

The largest cathedral in Dalmatia. Its earliest and oldest parts are that of an early-Christian basilica, and its present-day appearance of a Romanesque church was shaped in the 12th century. During the crusades and the seizure of the city in 1202, the cathedral was damaged and later rebuilt and extended. The portals are richly decorated with reliefs. The main portal features a Gothic style relief with an inscription, consecrated by Archbishop Ivan in 1324. Its bell tower was built in the 15th and 19th centuries, mostly in Neo-Romantic style.

Cathedral of St. Anastasia is used, with the approval of the Parish of St. Anastasia and Zadar Archdioceses, as a venue for major symphony concerts, such as those held by the Zadar Chamber Orchestra, as well as for organ concerts.

The Zadar organ is the third largest organ in Croatia, surpassed only by the cathedrals in Zagreb and Đakovo. They have 56 registers, 4026 pipes and were built in 2010 by the Eisenbarth Company in Passau, which builds some of the world’s best handmade organs.

St Chrysogonus’ Church

The church and the bell tower are the only preserved parts of the formerly large Benedictine abbey whose foundations were laid in the early Middle Ages. The basilica itself is a Romanesque building erected in the same period and with the same artistic forms as the cathedral. It was consecrated by the first archbishop of Zadar, Lampridije, in 1175. The basilica and the cathedral, taken as a whole, represent a crown example of Romanesque art in the architectural heritage of Dalmatia. Many important documents ant written works of art were recorded in the course materials bookshop of this abbey, including, among others, the works of art containing notated music writings, a gradual from the 1st century, an antiphonal from the 14th century, a book of rites from the 15th century, the missal of the abbot Venier, etc...

St Donatus Church

Church of St. Donat used to be a residential chapel within the Episcopal complex. A legend ties its construction to St. Donat, the 9th-century bishop of Zadar. Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus makes mention of the existence of the temple in the first half of the 10th century. In his book On the Governance of the Empire, he succinctly describes its vaults and staircase leading to the matrons, and the original titular church of St. Trinity. Results of conducted research indicate the possibility of its spatial nucleus being built based on the idea of ​​a free-standing rotunda at the end of the 8th century, which was extensively expanded in the 9th century into ​​a complex rotunda and upgraded with a matroneum (gallery) upstairs and built extensions around its center. A wing of the bishop's palace was also added at the time, with a direct connection to the temple. The church was named after St. Donat only in the 15th century. The church was desacralized in the 18th century and has been gradually losing individual segments, first the inventory and the floor which was lowered to the level of the sidewalk of the Roman Forum below the rotunda, and then the built extensions, without which the church became no more than a torso of a building missing much of its south side. The west side, in front of the entrance to the temple, features a lobby, a long narthex covered with a sloping vault that bears the upper part of the staircase toward the matroneum.

On the inside, the space remained preserved in its original harmony as envisioned when it was first built in the 9th century. It consists of a central circle and a ring-shaped ambulatory with three radially situated apses, which on the east side form the shrine of the church. Its perimeter also features three doors, the main one facing the sanctuary, one on its lateral left and one on the right. A row of windows features alongside the wall with the apses, and the high niches embossed into the thickness of the outer walls shape its mass into a harmoniously sequenced circular mantle, with the apses’ curves enclosing the temple space. A series of six powerful built pillars and an elegant tribelon resting between them on two monolithic pillars in front of the sanctuary form an impressive row that is also repeated at the matroneum level, above which rises a circular tambour mantle covered with the wooden beam of the roof structure. A staircase that was added alongside the north side of the outer wall curve leads from the shrine to the matroneum. Even the Byzantine emperor described it as having a snail form. At the top of the staircase is a lobby which is also the entry into the matroneum, its shape running parallel to that of the lower space, with a circular ambulatory and three apses, but also further into the built extensions with which it is connected by double aisles on the south and north sides of the ambulatory.

On the whole, the St. Trinity Rotonda is truly a unique building in the general heritage of the early Middle Ages, a temple intertwining the elements of Byzantine and Carolingian architecture, whose inspiring simplicity of its base structures, as spoken in the language of architectural skill, bears witness to the bivalent cultural tradition of Zadar and Dalmatia on the threshold of Europe. The Rotonda is the crown witness to the architecture of the period in the Adriatic. At the same time, it is an exceptional acoustic space, a building inside of which the whisper of a voice and the gentle sound of musical instruments are clearly understood. Adding to that its aformentioned architectural value, the Rotonda truly is the best possible choice for the venue of such a special festival of early music, as was demonstrated by some of the unforgettable early music ensembles (Hortus musicus, Pro cantione antiqua, Trio Spencer, La Maurache, Perceval, Dialogos), as well as other concert programs that have been taking place in Zadar for decades, and which have become a representative artistic manifestation of the Croatian culture in their own right. (dr. Pavuša Vežić)


City of Zadar
Department for Culture and Sport
Narodni trg 1
23000 Zadar
+385 23 208070


Poljana Šime Budinića 3
Knezeva palača, I. kat
+385 23 627 762

Melita Ivković, director
Sunčica Špoljarević, Ivana Panžić, producers
Mario Smoljan, head technician
Saša Miočić, sound engineer


Miran Bašić, designer
Otto Kušec, designer

project manager:
Prof Feđa Vukić, PhD


Official photographer: Željko Karavida
Archive photo authors: Ante Brkan, Abdulah Seferović, Zvonko Kucelin, Vladimir Ivanov, Željko Karavida

With the support of

1st Musical Evenings / 1961.

14. kolovoz 1961. | crkva sv. Donata

Zadarski komorni orkestar

Pavle Dešpalj, dirigent, Maja Dešpalj, violina, glasovir, Marijan Jerbić, violončelo, Vedrana Golubović, glasovir

Š. Dešpalj, J.S. Bach, A. Stradella, A. Corelli, P. I. Čajkovski

16. kolovoz 1961. | crkva sv. Donata

Maja Dešpalj, violina, glasovir, Pavle Dešpalj, violina i glasovir, Valter Dešpalj, violončelo i glasovir, Majda Radić, mezzosopran, Željko Veršić, oboa

G. Ph. Telemann, Ch. W. Gluck, J. B. Loeillet, J. Brahms, M. Bruch

17. kolovoz 1961. | crkva sv. Donata

Maja Dešpalj, glasovir

J. S. Bach, L. van Beethoven, F. Chopin, J. Brahms, M. Ravel

18. kolovoz 1961. | crkva sv. Donata

Marijan Jerbić, violončelo, Pavle Dešpalj, glasovir

J. S. Bach, J. Brahms, P. I. Čajkovski, D. Šostakovič