BIJELO POLJE – RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro with the support of the Goethe Institute and French Cultural Centre in Montenegro organized the Western Balkan-French-German Jazz Meetings “Balkan Academy of Music (BAM)” in Bijelo Polje, Montenegro on 18 – 21 September. The event brought renowned jazz teachers to work and perform with dedicated, devoted and passionate young jazz musicians from the Western Balkans.
The opening ceremony of the Balkan Academy of Music kicked off with the introductory speeches delivered by Ambassador of the French Republic H.E. Ms Christine Toudic, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany H.E. Robert Weber, President of Municipality of Bijelo Polje Mr Petar Smolović and RYCO Head of the Local Branch Office in Montenegro Mr Edin Koljenović. They all highlighted the importance of such events allowing young artists from the region to network and grow by learning from the prominent professors they were allowed to cooperate with during the Balkan Academy of Music festival, as well as from each other.
The four-day festival was structured to embrace different activities, e.g. daily workshops dedicated to specific instruments, styles and individual skills, as well as master classes, lectures, stage performances, jam sessions. The selected participants – young musicians from the entire Western Balkan region, were mentored by eight academic, experienced and internationally recognized master musicians from Germany, France, and the WB6.
Every night the joint performances were brought to the stage by teachers and participants in different line-ups, generating a creative atmosphere for the mutual benefit of different generations of musicians, as well as of the audience that was allowed to attend such a memorable event in Bijelo Polje.
The jazz meetings are an extraordinary tool aiming to prepare students for a music career by teaching them essential skills and allowing them to meet artists that have already made success in their music business.
Finally, in this case, the jazz meetings could be also regarded as a strong cross-cultural tool, contributing to building bonds between youngsters in the region, and rising of awareness about rich cultural heritage that our region cherishes.
Day by day
The first day of the Balkan Academy of Music started with an introduction and orientation session during which participants got to know each other better as they were all coming from different parts of the region. During the session, they presented themselves and spoke about their drives as well as their achievements in the field of jazz music. The day ended with the concert open to the public, coming from different neighbouring towns, interested in this genre of music.
The second day was dedicated to individual coaching and team building sessions, while the afternoon workshops put focused on the large ensemble as well as on the selected thematic coaching approach. The workshops were aiming at providing students with the opportunity to significantly improve their talent by deeply focusing on the key elements of instruction for jazz trumpet, trombone, saxophone, guitar, piano, bass, drums, and vocals.
The third day included activities such as master classes by instrument, listening and analysis classes, special topics, small and large ensemble rehearsals.
Finally, the last day of the Balkan Academy of Music brought served as a theoretical reflection on the festival being a strong cross-cultural tool, contributing to building bonds between youngsters in the region, and rising of awareness about rich cultural heritage that our region cherishes.