Interview with cellist Mladen Miloradovic

With each project realized, the Citizens Association “CONVIVIUM MUSICUM” introduces novelties, some of which have grown into traditions and many years of excellent practices and cooperation. The Third international festival of chamber music Convivium Musicum, held in 2016, brought an opportunity to students of the Faculty of Philology and Arts in Kragujevac, from the Department of Music in the Media, to practically apply their acquired knowledge in the form of interviewing artists who performed at the Festival. This practice continued with great mutual satisfaction in 2017. The students, as well as in 2016, created and realized interviews under the mentorship of Dr Marija Ciric, associate professor.

Second year student Vanja Filipovic interviewed cellist Mladen Miloradovic, after a concert that closed the Festival. This interview was also published in the journal “Muzika klasika”, no. 27, year VIII, April – June 2017.


IMG_6934The 4th International chamber music festival Convivium Musicum was held in Kragujevac from 14th to 17th March. Concerts were organized in the hall of the First Kragujevac Gymnasium, and we had the opportunity to talk with the artistic director of the Detmold cello ensemble, Mladen Miloradovic. Since 2011, this ensemble is under his leadership, and is composed of current students of the Detmold Music Academy. At the Festival dedicated to Detmold city, celebrating the century from the birth of cellist Andre Navarra, the Detmold cello ensemble got the status of a residential ensemble throughout the event. Mladen Miloradovic is for a year now a solo cello in the Symphony Orchestra in Aachen and an assistant professor at the Detmold Music Academy. His particular passion is chamber music. In addition, he is into arranging pieces and performing his own composition. His work Baroque Suite was accompanied by great critic in German newspapers.

After six years of working with Detmold cello ensemble, whose artistic director you are, what are experiences and are you satisfied with what you have achieved?
It is an ensemble in which members change up to two times a year, because new students are always coming. The composition consists of students of Academy and students from a high school in Detmold and it is very difficult to make some continuity in work. However, in spite of that, the ensemble is making a lot of progress, because the core that some people make is retained for two to four years, so that’s interesting. It is very difficult to keep this composition for the reasons given, and on the other hand it is very exciting because I am first of all their friend… I know some of the members for almost ten years. The ensemble enjoys a very friendly atmosphere and I believe that it will remain the same, as I always try to bring good energy.

How do you feel when you go out on a scene? What is the nearest feeling to be compared?
It is a feeling of great excitement. Although this is not always a well coordinated ensemble, there is a small dose of fear that everything will take place properly. Much of it is on the verge, as sometimes should not be, with a certain degree of uncertainty. Before every concert, there is a lot of excitement, maybe a little bit of stage fright, but I like to take risks at the performances. There is a great anxiety and, of course, applause which is the most beautiful reward for all of us.

What kind of personal reconsiderations led you to music?
Unfortunately, in Serbia, classical music is not fully accepted as a part of culture and is not on an enviable level, and I do not know when it will be. When I studied here, I often wondered if what I was doing was the right thing. Because artistic music is hard to promote here, those are complicated ways. For example, this Festival is great, but it’s certainly difficult to deal with all the problems, unlike someone who does something else and promotes something that is more popular. Personally, I never doubted that music would be my call, but such were the circumstances in my studies and in my entire life. We all have different temptations. It’s tough, but one needs to be persistent on the road to its goals, because perseverance and persistence yield results.

We know that your special passion is chamber music. Is that also the case with composing, which you do as well?
Composing is my hobby. I’ve done enough of my compositions abroad and on order. I did not study composing, it is more talent “on the side”. At one time I felt the need to compose and it turned out that I was good at it. In addition, I am also working on arrangements for orchestras.

How do you look at your work, how critical are you?
I am very self-critical, but I am also indifferent to whether I have done enough. Everybody does as much as one thinks he needs, how much he can, and in the end, the results show themselves. When it comes to quality, the musician is never satisfied, it can always be better, but that’s too much of contemplation. You just have to think of the art.

Which composers and what works are the biggest challenge for you?
Every day I discover a “new” composer. For me the greatest revelation this year was Richard Strauss. I’ve been a solo cello for a year at the Symphony Orchestra in Aachen. There I began to play a lot of extensive pieces for larger ensembles. We are preparing a Strauss opera and this is a big challenge for me at the moment.

When you look at your current career, what are you most proud of?
I’m proud after every concert. I cannot be proud of myself, because I think it can always be better, I quickly forget and I go on to some new victories, but I am the most accomplished player when I play with someone.

Lately, in the world, but also in our country, young music artists are performing in a new way, similar to performance. How much do you agree with this new trend and is the aesthetic value of art music lost?
I do not think that the value is lost, but everything that is new is sometimes encounters some level of non-acceptance. Such a thing can be compared with atonal music that many people still do not understand, but there are also those who accept and love it. The Detmold ensemble cooperates with the Architectural school located in this city: there is a University that wants to turn abandoned buildings in Detmold into concert halls. And so, it is our ensemble that should play in a couple of abandoned buildings that are architecturally interesting and which will, of course, be reconstructed. I do not know how it will look, will anybody come to such places, because those buildings are not in the city centre. But one should certainly try to support such an idea. I grant completely new projects … and performance.

What, in your opinion, is the future of artistic music?
When I was studying, one professor always said that young people must invent the wheel again. That says a lot. Such things, like this festival make me happy very much. Tonight, at concert there was about sixty percent of young people were, to be exact- younger than thirty-five years old. I have to point out that in Germany, the average age of the concerts is sixty, and in Serbia when I was studying, the young ones were those who came to hear performance. I visited them as well, I went to Kolarac and when I did not have money, waiting for two hours just to hear a concert. I think that on such things depends the future, from such people who, regardless of everything, will attend the concerts and support music.

What are the indicators that what you are doing is really well?
The first indicator is my audience. If it is satisfied, then I am too. Basically, I do not have to be satisfied, it’s important that the audience is fulfilled after the performance. Another indicator is that many have already heard of my work. So, the biggest indicator is the audience. The presence of all these students who came to the concert tells me that this is the right thing, because from their feelings a person can conclude that our music feels nice to them.

What is the greatest success for you in art and how much art can be therapeutic?
It can and in such ways! When I’m not in the mood, I always play some music, and it works, although I’m in the music whole day. The greatest success in art does not exist, perhaps possibly some personal satisfaction. I think one should always have high goals. I cannot say exactly what the biggest success is in art, but I know that every next concert for me is my biggest success.

Author: Vanja Filipovic, second year student at the Department of Music in Media, FILUM, Kragujevac
Translation: Ljubica Guzvic