80 gigs, over 20 orchestral arrangements, lots of new music… I’m grateful to report that the past year has been full of interesting and rewarding events, as have the past years.

In July, the first performance of my new project Planetarium took place at the Sumo Festival in Slovenia, celebrating 50 years since the Apollo moon landing. The audience was swept away in a trance-like state as I gave my best before succumbing to the flu for the next three days. 🙂

I’ll remember April (!) for two big band projects. The first one, RTV Slovenija Big Band featuring amazing drummer, cellist and composer Kristijan Krajnčan. My contribution was as section player with the trombones, as bassist with a couple of tunes, and I managed to wow some people with a multiphonics/circular breathing solo. The second event was in Cerknica, where the enthusiastic community big band sold out the local culture hall by hosting acclaimed singer Matevž Šalehar – Hamo, to which I contributed the arrangements, conducting and a couple of tuba solos.

In June, an extraordinary concert took place: Janez Dovč & Sounds of Slovenia. Twenty musicians on stage performed Janez’s music, including arrangements of Slovenian traditional songs, as well as newly written music to the words of foremost Slovenian poets. Not only was this a great challenge for each of us (I contributed some arrangements and played tuba, bass guitar, euphonium and synth bass!), but it carried a strong socio-activist motivational message. Truly extraordinary!

In July, Sounds of Slovenia Trio (Janez Dovč, Boštjan Gombač, Goran Krmac) performed Janez’s choir arrangements on the Okarina Festival in Bled before a chock-full open-air arena. We were joined on stage by the local youth choir Do-re-mi.

We performed a mini-tour in July and August with the amazing singer-songwriter Rudi Bučar. After eight years playing together, our bond and musicianship keeps deepening and growing.

During the summer, I also took part in a trio with Janez Dovč and amazing singer and guitarist Gregor Volk.

In September, we performed at the Jazz Ravne festival with Boštjan Simon’s project There Be Monsters, where we presented our new album The Ark. Boštjan wrote some really interesting music, inspired by 20th-century European composers and African polyrhythms. The band went on to play a couple more nice gigs in October.

In October, Planetarium was released as a digital album! I presented the album on a couple of interviews on Slovenian radio.

In November, I orchestrated half an hour of chamber orchestra music for a movie soundtrack composed by Janez Dovč. After two weeks of intense writing, I ended up conducting the 18-piece orchestra at the two-day recording session as well, which was a blast!

A great performance, full of nostalgia, folk rhythms and violin virtuoso displays, took place as part of concert cycle Drama Akustika at the SNG Drama theatre in Ljubljana. The author of the project is Slovenian actor Saša Tabaković, who collected and interpreted a number of folk songs from the Pannonia region.

To finish off the year, we played a sold-out concert at the Cerknica Cultural centre with Big Band Cerknica and special guest, amazing singer Eva Hren. There were some really interesting moments: a 20-minute group-improvisation performance based on Glenn Miller’s music, including real-time sound manipulation of the horns, Eva’s beautiful interpretation, a number of arrangements of Slovenian music, a very well rehearsed sax soli, and a surprise that stunned the audience 🙂 Truly a great ending of a great year!