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The founder of the Slovenian Music Days, musicologist and Emeritus Professor Primož Kuret, has died

27. 05. 2022

Primož Kuret was one of the greatest connoisseurs of Ljubljana’s musical history, who gave many insights into the functioning of Ljubljana’s philharmonic societies and provided us with comprehensive knowledge of the young Gustav Mahler and many other great figures in Ljubljana’s musical past.

In 1954 he passed the matura at the Classical Grammar School in Ljubljana, in 1959 he graduated from the Academy of Music (history of music) and the Faculty of Arts (art history), and later became professor of world music history and the history of Slovenian music at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. He was head of the Music Pedagogy Department on a number of occasions, and from 1993 to 2001 was also the vice-dean of the Academy of Music. Kuret devoted a large portion of his life to his professorship, which he began in 1978 at the Academy of Music, staying there until his retirement in 2005. He trained many musicians who are now employed in almost all of Slovenia’s musical institutions.

He was the initiator of symposia organised by the Academy of Music and instigated the foundation and development of the Glasbeno-pedagoški zbornik (Journal of Musical Pedagogy) published byLjubljana’s Academy of Music, with which he encouraged post-graduate masters and doctoral students, young academics and university professors active in different fields of music to write articles about important musical subjects, thereby leading to new findings. Kuret was active for four years as the president of the Slovenian Musicological Society, and for a number of years he edited the Jeunesses Musicales Ljubljana review. He was also head of Ljubljana’s culture committee and of the national committee for the content-related renovation of musical education. In addition, he worked as a critic, translator, editor, reviewer and author.

Operating as the spiritus agens, he founded and directed the Slovenian Music Days together with the composer Milan Stibilj in 1986, and remained a member of the programme committee until the end of his life. As an attentive head of the international musicology symposium that is a part of the Slovenian Music Days, he ensured that the symposium became one of the main musicological events in this part of Europe. With his carefully chosen topics he not only encouraged Slovenian and foreign musicologists to conduct research and expand musicological horizons, but also showed how Slovenian music can find its place on an equal footing alongside that from other parts of Europe.

Kuret was the author of many monographs on Slovenia’s musical past, its famous personalities and institutions (including Musical instruments on Medieval frescoes (1973), Musical Ljubljana 1899-1919 (1985), The Words of Composers (1985), The Artist and Society (1988), Mahler and Ljubljana (1997), The Slovenian Philharmonic / Academia philharmonicorum 1701-2001 (2001), Ljubljana’s Philharmonic Society 1794-1919 (2005), 100 Years of the Slovenian Philharmonic 1908–2008 (2008), Enthusiasts and Masters: Honorary members, artistic directors and famous artists in Ljubljana’s Philharmonics (2011), and Magical batons: The Great Conductors Josef Zöhrer, Václav Talich and Fritz Reiner in Ljubljana in the light of contemporary criticism (2022)) and the editor of over 40 scientific publications. Particular mention should be made of his intensive international field of operation, which led to many close contacts with colleagues from some of the most eminent foreign universities. In total he participated in over 300 international symposia in Slovenia and abroad, and this was also one of the ways in which he spread awareness of the place Slovenia’s music has in Europe.

For his achievements, Emeritus Professor Primož Kuret received some of the most prestigious awards and accolades, among them the Betetto Award (2002), honorary membership of the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna (2002), the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Republic of Slovenia for Work in Education (2005), the Herder Prize (2005), the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class for Merit in the Field of Musicology (2005), the Mantuani Lifetime Achievement Award (2006), Honorary Membership of the Slovenian Philharmonic (2008), and the Order of Merit of the Republic of Slovenia (2012).

Thanks to his reputation and his all-round work, Primož Kuret significantly enriched Slovenia’s musicological community and musical culture in general. With his charisma and scientific breadth he persuaded many younger colleagues to continue developing the musicological field of study.

Rest in peace, dear Primož!

Prof. dr. Jernej Weiss

Darko Brlek
Artistic and General Director
Honorary member of the European Festivals Association