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The Montenegro Summer Camp for Chamber Music was founded in 2012, as an initiative of Michael Schnurr, an amateur flautist who was serving as a German diplomat in Montenegro at the time. Ever since that beginning, our camp has been held every summer at Ivanova Korita within the National Park Lovćen. The camp’s first year was funded by the German Embassy in Podgorica, in cooperation with two local institutions — the Budo Tomović Cultural-Information Center and the Vasa Pavić Art School for Music and Ballet. Since 2014, the Budo Tomović Cultural-Information Center has taken over planning and organization for the camp, with financial support from the Montenegro Ministry of Culture along with many other partners and sponsors.

The 2019 Montenegro Summer Camp for Chamber Music will be held once again in Ivanova Korita, starting on Tuesday, July 30, and ending on Wednesday, August 7.

The Montenegro Summer Camp for Chamber Music program is designed to match players based on playing level and age of participants, as determined by our carefully chosen teaching team. Our coaches, or “mentors” as we call them, are well established musical performers and pedagogues. They hail from Montenegro, of course, and from our region, and from other nations in Europe. From its inception, the camp has welcomed different conductors from abroad, all of whom have provided their own unique program design, artistic vision, and pedagogic methods: Aleksey Shatski from Moscow (2012), Elisabeth Attl from Vienna (2013-2014), Thomas Posth from Hamburg (2015), Jean-Michel Despin from Paris (2016), and Anton Martynov from Paris (2017-). Others who have come from abroad to coach our participants include pianist Tatjana Prelević from Hannover (2015-2016), violinist Nazar Kožuhar from Moscow (2012), violists Boris Brezovac from Belgrade (2016) and Jörg Winkler from Florence (2016), cellists Aleksandar Latković from Belgrade (2014-2015) and Eva Veith from Göttingen (2017-), and clarinetist Veljko Klenkovski from Belgrade (2015-). The core of our coaching faculty again this year are Montenegrin musicians, most notably musicians from the Montenegro Symphony Orchestra such as violinists Marko Simović and Slađena Cvejić and violist Petar Obradović and contrabassist Ana Cerović Zvicer, as well as professors from the Music Academy in Cetinje, such as flautist Žana Lekić and pianist Nataša Popović. This year,  cellist Maria Di Meglio from New York  and oboist Bojan Pešić from Belgrade will join our mentors team.

As would be expected, in accord with the chamber music repertoire, strings and winds and pianists make up the participant list. The repertoire chosen for participants, as well as by the participants themselves, has ranged from the Baroque to the twentieth-century.

The basic daily rhythm of the camp is as follows. Students play in different formations in the mornings and the afternoons. Evenings typically are free for practice or informal activity. The aim is to provide experience in both chamber music ensembles (morning) and a chamber orchestra setting (afternoon). So, a participant can expect to be assigned to smaller groups (duos, trios, quartets, etc), based on the recommendations of the coaches, as well as to a section of the chamber orchestra, which rehearses daily. There also are sectional workshops for strings and winds and pianists, in which the coaches and the participants go deeper into questions of technical mastery and artistic interpretation.

The Montenegro Summer Camp for Chamber music has no commercial dimension; it is a non-profit organization. The fee for participants is kept low, thanks to the generosity of sponsors and the fact that our venue inside the National Park Lovćen offers both food and lodging at a modest cost.

Besides the young Montenegrin musicians who have been the largest contingent at the camp, there have been participants from Albania, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine and the United States. The camp is attended mostly by young musicians, many of whom are high-school age, as well as conservatory students. That said, adult chamber musicians are welcome and have been part of camp every year since the beginning – enjoying not only the playing per se, but also the chance to model for a younger generation the love of amateur chamber music making.

The official language of the camp – the language that all participants are expected to understand for the purpose of rehearsals – is English.

At the end of our intensive week of learning and practicing repertoire, the camp participants and coaches perform in final concerts, open to the public. These summertime concerts, which we have held in cities and towns along the spectacular Adriatic Coast of Montenegro, such as Tivat and Perast, and Bar, have always been joyful, coming as they do at the end of a special “week-outside-of-time” devoted to music and musicianship with peers, colleagues, and new-found friends.

We are pleased to invite all music lovers to come to this summer’s final concerts, which will be held at 8:00 pm on the evenings of Tuesday, August 6, at the Ministry of Culture in Cetinje and on Wendesday, August 7, at the Budo Tomović Cultural-Information Center in Podgorica.