Velikani Šibenika ENG

cro       The great people of Šibenik


F. Vrančić:
inventor of parachutte



P. Nakić
the most important
Venetian-dalmatian organ builder



A. Vrančić
Monumentum Ancyranum
the works of the emperor Augusta



R. Visiani
first botanical garden in Europe, Padova



A. Šupuk
first hydroelectric plant in Europe


Julije Skjavetić (Giulio Schiavetti/o)

(Šibenik, c. 1530. – after 1565.)

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Julije Skjavetić is the most prominent representative of Renaissance polyphony in Croatia. He built his colourful expression as a composer on the bases of the Franco-Flemish school and the opus came to these areas in the form of a torso. He had published ali his independent collections in Venice. There exists an incomplete collection of madrigals dating from 1563, while the second book of motets from 1565 has been lost and the only completely preserved of his collections is the Motetti a cinqueet a sei voci. Libroprimo (In Vinegia appresso Girolamo Scotto, 1564). The madrigals from 1563 and the flrst collection of motets Skjavetić had dedicated to the Šibenik bishop Jeronim Savorgnano with the obvious intention of making the respectability enjoyed by the bishop, a guarantee of his music being accepted in Šibenik. The 18 motets from 1564 are very complicated for the performers, so that the skills and training of the singers had to be at a very high level in order for them to be able to perform the complex polyphonic material. Skjavetić’s Motetti is a work of art of supreme Renaissance polyphonic combinatorics and at the same time represents a clear and direct expression. Skjavetić’s motets themselves confirm the high level of performance practice in the coastal region of Croatia even better than a secondary source of information would. It is still little known in international circles that the famous Franco-Flemish school of polyphony had spread to Croatian areas during Renaissance. The Croatian coast represents thes southeast-moxt point of the penetration of Franco-Flemish Renaissance polyphony and the influence of Franco-Flemish music on European soil.

Ivan Lukačić (Lucacich , Fr. Joannes de Sibinico)

(Šibenik, c. 1.585. – Split. 1648.)

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Very little is known about the life of Ivan Lukačić (Šibenik, around 1585 – Split, 1648). At the age of thirteen, the greatest master of early Croatian music, entered the Franciscan order in the monastery of Saint Frane in his birth-town Šibenik. He most likely completed his musical education in Venice, Padua, or Rome. It is known that in 1612 he signed himself as baccalaureus, while in 1615 in Rome he was awarded the title of Magister Musices. However, his artistic roots should be sought in Venice, primarily in the circle of Franciscan musicians brought together by the grand Dei Frari church. After spending nearly twenty years in Italy, he returned to his original Franciscan monastery in Šibenik and a few years later in mid 1620, he moved to Split. There, for many years he was director of music (musicus praefectus) at the Saint Duje Cathedral and prior of the Saint Frane monastery. He lived there until his death, respected as both a musician and successful prior of the monastery community. Today, we know of only one of Lukačić’s published compositions – the collection of motets Sacrae cantiones. The collection was published in Venice in 1620 and consists of a total of 27 compositions – monodic motets to five-part motets accompanied by the organ continuo. Even though the motets were most likely written in Italy, the clear melodic lines and simplicity of harmonic flow show that they were created for the Croatian public in line with domestic circumstances and possibilities and to fulfill the expectancies of Split’s clergymen. However, there is a noticeable influence of early baroque Venetian liturgical music, while restrained expression can be explained by the affinities of Franciscan northern-Italian composers. The great reputation of Lukačić’s Sacrae cantiones can best be seen thanks to the fact that certain compositions have been reprinted into anthologies like the magnificent J. Donfrid’s Promptuarium musicum (Strasbourg, 1627) and Reininger’s Deliciae sacrae musicae (Ingolstadt, 1626).


Ivan Šibenčanin (Giovanni Sebenico)

(Šibenik?, c. 1640. – Cividale del Friuli, 1705.)


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was probably the most respected Croatian baroque composer who had enjoyed the greatest of respect during his life. He is believed to have been educated by the Venetian composer Giovanni Legrenzi and perfected his mastery of organ playing. Between 1660 and 1663 he acted as the chaplain of the cathedral in the town of Cividale del Friuli, while until 1666 he was the tenorist in the chapel of St. Mark’s Church in Venice. In the same year he continued his work in London as a musician at the court of Charles II, as well as an organist at the chapel of the English Queen Catherine. In 1673 he returned to Italy. At first he worked as maestro di cappella at the court of Savoy in Turin and later he worked in the small settlement of Corbolo and then in Cividale del Friuli, where he died. He initially earned his reputation as an opera composer. After returning to Italy he composed three operas, ali of them staged in Turin – Atalanta (1673), Gli amori delusi da amore (1688) and Leonida in Sparta (1689), which has later been rewritten as L’oppresso sollevato for a performance in Venice in 1692. The mentioned are the earliest known operas written by a composer of Croatian descent. Sadly, the original musical scores of these operas have not been preserved.

Only six compositions by this Šibenik-born artist have been preserved as manuscripts and all of them belong to the realm of sacred vocal-instrumental music. The Dedit abyssusforbass and continuo, as wellas the three-part Laudatepueri, the motets recently discovered in Oxford, probably belong to his London era. It seemsthat the three-part O dolor, o moreor had been written while the composer waslivingin Turin. The remaining three compositions were written after 1672, during the period that the composer was living in Cividale del Friuli. The most extensive mass L’imitazione zoccolantissima was written for a double choir of sopranos and basses accompanied by the organ. The composer’s sheer mastery could best be experienced in the virtuosic concert aria Responsorio di S. Antonio di Padova for soprano, two violins and continuo. The wealth of harmonies, the baroque luxurious sounds and the refinement of the treatment of the voices of the soloists can be particularly well experienced in the Lauda Jerusalem Dominum motet, meant for five voices and a smaller instrumental group. The appealing polyphonic vocal and instrumental sound of this composition points to the fact that the respect gained by Šibenik-born opera composer was well deserved.


Petar Nakić (Pietro Nacchini de Sebenico )

(Bulić, c. 1694. – Conegliano, 1769.)



Ester Mazzoleni

(Šibenik, 12.3.1883. – Palermo, 17. 5. 1982.)

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She studied with the soprano Amelia Pinto and made her début in 1906 in Il trovatore at the Teatro Costanzi, Rome. She became well known throughout Italy, appearing at La Scala first in 1908. Her roles there included Medea in the first Italian performances of Luigi Cherubini’s opera (1909) and the heroines of Gaspare Spontini’s La vestale and Fernando Cortez. She also sang Isolde, Norma and a wide range of dramatic roles, travelling occasionally to Spain, France and Hungary. In 1913 she sang
Aida at the opening of the Verona Arena, to which she returned for the commemorative ceremonies 50 years later. She retired in 1926 and then taught in Palermo. She sang and acted in a highly charged, emotional style, her voice vibrant and her treatment of the vocal line emphatic, so that her many recordings offer some excitement as well as instructive demonstration of the methods of another age.

Lovro Županović

(Šibenik, 21.7. 1925. – Zagreb, 18.3. 2004.)

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Lovro Županović, Fellow of the Croatian Academy
of Sciences and Arts

Academic titles:
Fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Doctor of Science
Professor (retired) – Academy of Music, University of Zagreb
Membership in Academy:
Full member – The Department of Music and Musicology (07/24/1991 – 03/18/2004)
Extraordinary member – The Department of Music and Musicology (03/11/1986 – 07/24/1991)
Associate member – The Department of Music and Musicology (03/31/1980 – 03/11/1986)


Maksim Mrvica

(Šibenik, 3. 5. 1975. )

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Maksim Mrvica  is a Croatian pianist. He plays classical crossover music.

Mrvica was born in Šibenik, Croatia. He took up piano lessons from the age of nine from Marija Sekso and gave his first public performance in the same year. Just three years later he gave his first concert performance of Haydn’s Piano Concerto in C major. When war broke out in 1991, both Mrvica and his professor were determined that this would not disrupt his music studies. In spite of the war and surrounding turbulence, Mrvica entered in, and won, his first major competition in Zagreb in 1993.
Mrvica went on to study at the Music Academy in Zagreb where he spent five years under Professor Vladimir Krpan, who himself was a pupil of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. He then spent a year at the Franz Liszt Conservatoire in Budapest and during this year he won first prize at the Nikolai Rubinstein International Piano Competition. In 2000, he moved to Paris to study with Igor Lazko and gained first prize in the Pontoise Piano Competition in 2001.
When he returned to Croatia he found himself to be the focus of intense media interest and he made frequent television appearances as well as giving a great number of interviews. He soon found himself recording his first CD, Gestures, an album of contemporary Croatian piano pieces. Gestures became one of the fastest-selling classical recordings to be released in Croatia, and Mrvica was even invited to officiate the Porin award ceremony, an honour not usually granted to a classical artist.
International appeal
Soon after this launch Mrvica was spotted by the musician, author and manager Tonči Huljić, who composed several tracks for the crossover string quartet, Bond, and it was Tonči who put Mrvica in touch with British impresario Mel Bush. Mel had, by chance, been looking for a new pianist for some time and he recognised Maksim’s potential to appeal to a wide range of audiences. EMI Classics was also interested in Mrvica and soon a new album was underway. This album was The Piano Player, which gave a new spin to compositions by Handel and Chopin. Since its release in 2003 it has been very successful, particularly in Asia, where it has achieved Gold status in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China, Platinum in Taiwan and Croatia and Double Platinum in Hong Kong. It was also in the number 1 slot in the HMV international pop chart in Hong Kong for twelve consecutive weed.
Mrvica has performed in a couple of international beauty pageants and MTV awards. His image and charisma also attracted the interest of global brands such as American Express, who sponsored him in Singapore.
Mrvica’s Piece “Exodus” was also used as the floor music of Russian Artistic gymnast Anna Pavlova in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.