The New Spark Jazz Orchestra- Balkan Women in Jazz is an innovative artistic programme which aims to facilitate access to gender equal professional opportunities and to strengthen and increase the number of women musicians and composers on the Regional Jazz Music Scene. United partners in the project from Serbia- NGO ARTRUST, Macedonia- Goce Dolcev University, Montenegro- Tivat Music School, as well as experts from France and Italy, are forming a strong sustainable platform for cross-sectorial international networking, in the field of music production, education, and promotion, opening new career and job potentialities for independent artists.
Through an open call, 15 Balkan emerging women musicians and composers will be invited to participate in the 15 months long programmme, forming the New Spark Jazz Orchestra. The Programme includes 2 one week-long music residencies with ensemble and big band workshops, an on-line educational web portal, and the promotion of new jazz learning methods in symposiums led by the Educational team, formed with highly recognized music experts from the region ( Jasna Jovicevic RS, Toni Kitanovski Macedonia, Vasil Hadzimanov RS and Antoine Simoni FR). With the new professional skills obtained, and the rehearsals with original music materials, the Orchestra will perform in 4 Regional concerts in 3 countries, will publish a promotional CD/DVD of music created by the participants, participate in open rehearsals and lectures, jam sessions with local musicians, and interactive discussions, which will promote and support the development of Balkan contemporary cultural heritage. This Project is supported by the Balkan Arts & Culture Fund and the Serbian Ministry of Culture. We invite all female music instrumentalists and composers, to apply by October 30th 2015, and to participate in this unique project.
Musicians from Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with all musical backgrounds, and no age limits are welcome to apply now. More information about the application and program can be found on our website www.nsjo.org
Jasna Jovicevic (Serbia), is the leader of the New Spark Jazz Orchestra- Balkan Women in Jazz project, graduated from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, majoring in jazz saxophone and earned a Master degree at the York University in Toronto in composition. She also studied in the United States, Brazil and Austria, won a first prize at the Ethno Music International Performance Competition in Milan, second prize at the International Balkan Art Festival in Ljubljana, and third prize in the competition for best jazz composition from Hungarian Jazz Federation. Jasna represented Serbia and Montenegro at the XII European Biennial of Young Artists 2005. She has performed with prominent musicians throughout Europe and Canada. She received Artist in residency programs from New York, Banff Centre, San Francisco, and Spain. In Toronto in 2008 she released her debut album "Invented Reality" in Canada, in 2013 the album "Sound of birds" in Serbia,and in 2015 “Travellers” by her band Dharma. She works as music educator, but also licensed yoga instructor, having studied in India, Slovenia and Italy. She is also the author and leader of contemporary art, ecology and child education projects as director of the NGO "Artrust". www.artrust.org.rs
Toni Kitanovski (Macedonia) is a composer and guitarist whose first love is jazz. His activities on the international scene reflect his curiosity about diverse musical styles in a variety of settings from big band, symphonic music, film scores, to gypsy brass, Afro-Cuban and all things African. Toni's first mentor was Dragan Gjakonovski - Shpato. The Robert Share Memorial Award in the form of a full scholarship allowed him to graduate from the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He is currently Chairman of the Jazz Studies Department at UGD in Stip.
Vasil Hadzimanov (Serbia) met piano with 5 years, at the Music School Stevan Mokranjac in Belgrade. In 1991 his interest in jazz secured him a full scholarship to attend the Interlochen Arts Camp for two summers in a row and afforded him the opportunity to study and perform with jazz greats such as: Milt Jackson, Curtis Fuller, and Bayron Stripling among others. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1995 and then spent a year in New York, working with the best young musicians. When returned to Serbia, he established the Vasil Hadzimanov Band, with which, for over 18 years, he performs in concerts and jazz festivals around the world. The Band has released five albums that have won numerous awards declared of high national importance for Serbia: "11 reasons for ..." (2001 Pgp-Rts), "Kafanki" (2003 Pgp-Rts), "3 - SEGEL Mu is the mother" (2007 Pgp-Rts),"As I" (2009 Pgp-Rts), "Can You Dig It?" (2013-Mex, SRB (CD) and OverJazz Records, GER (DD)). 2011 SJF Records released Vasilov first piano trio CD, called "El Raval".
Antoine Simoni (France) is a bassist from Normandy, whose diverse interests in music led to his involvement in groups which stylistically cover the ground somewhere between rock/pop, progressive and experimental jazz and African music. He played with Balaké Sissoko, Andy Sheppard, Charlie Winston, Larry Coryell, Anthony Joseph, Mamani Keïta, Gilles Coronado, Olivier Py, Emmanuel Bex, and with the conductors Denis Badault and Mark Foster. Also producer, he realised albums for Jeanne Balibar, Maestro, Bow Low, Le Petit Label. His latest musical associations are with a quartet featuring the master of African balafon Lansine Kouyate (African tour over 21 countries)