The management board of the Prešeren Fund today announced the winners of the Prešeren Prizes and Prešeren Fund Prizes for 2024. Prešeren Prizes for lifetime achievement go to the poet and translator Erika Vouk and to the ballet dancer, choreographer, director, journalist and educator Dr Henrik Neubauer, who served as director of the Ljubljana Festival from 1972 until 1982.
Under his leadership, the ballet biennial returned to the programme of the summer festival (having previously alternated with the opera biennial between 1960 and 1966). Many prestigious European institutions appeared at the festival during Dr Neubauer’s tenure as director, including the Łódź Opera, the Leipzig Opera, the Teatro Verdi of Trieste, the Croatian National Theatre Ballet Zagreb, the Bucharest National Opera Ballet, the ballet soloists of the Berlin State Opera, the Moscow Philharmonic and the Warsaw Philharmonic. Other performers included ensembles from the United States of America, the United Kingdom and India. In 1980 the celebrated conductor Claudio Abbado made his first appearance at the Ljubljana Festival when he concluded the 29th edition with a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra.
In 1977 the Ljubljana Festival became a member of the prestigious European Festivals Association, which brings together more than 100 institutions.
Through his work, Henrik Neubauer increased the prestige of the festival and consolidated its position among European cultural institutions. At the same time, he made a lasting contribution to the enrichment of cultural life, not only in Ljubljana but throughout Slovenia.
My sincere congratulations to Dr Neubauer on this well-deserved, distinguished accolade!
Ljubljana Festival General and Artistic Director
Honorary Member of the European Festivals Association