Balkan Quartet is a dynamic and inspiring string group of Serbian violinists Sinisa Ciric and Mirna Ogrizovic-Ciric, violist Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi, and Bulgarian cellist Martin Gueorguiev. The idea to form a group that would revive the powerful and the unique Balkan sound started early among these four friends. Their collaborative playing portrays an energy and musical understanding that comes from their mutual background.
Balkan Quartet performs traditional string quartet repertoire, combined with the works of contemporary composers. Their focus is to involve and inspire composers to create new music that would use an indigenous Balkan language, reviving the rich Balkan folk heritage on the highest artistic level. Balkan Quartet is a Quartet in Residence at the Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, GA.
Violinist Sinisa Ciric received his undergraduate degree from the Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad (Yugoslavia) and master degree from University of Georgia. He is currently pursuing DMA degree in violin and viola performance at University of Georgia in Athens studying with world renowned professor Levon Ambartsumian (student of Kogan and Yankelevich) and Dr. Mark Neumann respectively. Sinisa is concertmaster of New Atlanta Philharmonic, Gwinnett Ballet Orchestra and Rome Symphony, GA. He appeared as a soloist with New Atlanta Philharmonic, Rome Symphony Orchestra and Georgia Philharmonic as well as Bach Festival Orchestra, GA. As a member of ARCO Chamber Orchestra Mr. Ciric performed in Carnegie Hall and was featured as soloist on ARCO’s most recent recording of Vivaldi’s concertos for two, three and four violins. He can also be heard on several CD recordings of New Trinity Baroque as violinist and violist. Prior to coming to the USA, his orchestral experience involves Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra (Yugoslavia), the Symphonic Orchestra of the Radio-Television of Serbia, the Orchestra of the National Theatre, ensemble Camerata Academica and the Opera Orchestra of the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad. Sinisa participated on many concerts as a soloist, member of chamber ensemble, member of an orchestra, etc. He attended master classes with William Preucil and Jean-Marc Vajerbedian. While performing with the Symphonic Orchestra of Serbian Radio Television, he cooperated with many national and international conductors, such as Zubin Mehta, Christian Mandeal, Gyula Nemet, Milen Nachev, Mikis Teodorakis, Christian Badea and many others. Sinisa is Artist Affiliate at Emory University and teaches violin, viola and chamber music at Oxford College of Emory University.
Violinist Mirna Ogrizovic was born in Croatia, but grew up in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where she received her violin performance degree from School of Music, Belgrade University of Arts. She also received Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from Georgia State University in Atlanta and is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in conducting at University of Georgia. Before she moved to United States (in 2001), she was Associate Concertmaster of the Symphonic Orchestra of the Serbian Radio Television in Belgrade, the Associate Artistic Director of the Ensemble of the Studio for Early Music, and a soloist of the Ensemble Renaissance and the Orchestra of the National Theatre. As a baroque violinist Mirna performed with John Holloway, Evelyn Tubb, Michael Fields, and has participated in masterclasses with late Micaela Comberti, as well as with Julia Bishop. She has received numerous awards in national and international competitions, including the silver medal on the international violin competition in Strezza, Italy. She recorded several CDs and videos. Mirna currently teaches violin, viola and chamber music at Berry College in Rome, GA.
Violist Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi was born in Croatia where she began her violin studies in 1984. At the age of 11 she joined the Zadar Chamber Orchestra as its youngest member. Her college level studies began in 1993 at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia, studying violin performance with Professor Eugenia Tchougaeva. In 1998 she graduated from the Academy and joined the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra that same year. In the 1990s Ms. Zezelj-Gualdi concertized throughout Central, Southern and Eastern Europe, performing in Serbia, Austria, Croatia, Italy, and Montenegro. Ms. Zezelj-Gualdi moved to the United States in 1999 to pursue graduate studies in music. In 2001 she graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a Master's degree in music. In 2006 she graduated from the University of Georgia earning a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Since moving to the U.S., Ms. Zezelj-Gualdi has performed throughout the country, including two performances in Carnegie Hall. She has proven herself an amazingly adaptable musician, performing as a soloist (both orchestral and recital), chamber musician (with notable ensembles such as the ARCO Chamber Orchestra and Duo Lunaire) and orchestral musician (as violinist and violist). Her musical career is noted for collaborations with remarkable musicians, including Evgeny Rivkin, and contemporary composers Augusta Reed Thomas and James MacMillan. Ms. Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi currently serves on the faculty of Georgia Perimeter College.
Cellist Martin Gueorguiev is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Georgia in the studio of David Starkweather. Mr. Gueorguiev has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout Europe and the United States. As the first prize winner of the National Competition for German and Austrian Music, Mr. Gueorguiev has played Haydn’s two cello concertos with orchestras throughout his native Bulgaria. Mr. Gueorguiev holds a Bachelor Degree in Music Performance from Lynn University (formerly the Harid Conservatory) in the studio of Johanne Perron and a Master Degree in Music Performance from the University of Southern California in the studio of Ronald Leonard (former cello principal of Los Angeles Philharmonic). Mr. Gueorguiev has also participated in numerous music festivals such as Sarasota Music Festival, Musicorda Music Festival, Hot Springs Music Festival and most recent, the Perlman Music Program Chamber Workshop where he worked intensively with Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein and Paul Katz.