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The Vinko Vodopivec Choir
More than sixty years after it was founded, the Vinko Vodopivec Choir is still going strong. Just as in 1953, it is composed primarily of students from the Primorska region who are determined to bring a touch of Mediterranean warmth and joie de vivre to the Slovenian capital. Foto: PAZ Vinko Vodopivec

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The Sounds of the Mediterranean

Slovenia Revealed
12. September 2017 ob 06:18
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

After years of Fascist rule, the region of Primorska rejoined Slovenia in the wake of World War II. In just a few years, students from the newly integrated province founded a choir that went on to share the musical heritage of their homeland with many generations of Slovenian and international music lovers.

The Vinko Vodopivec Choir was established in 1953 by young Primorska natives who were studying at the University of Ljubljana. They longed for their native region, a land of Mediterranean sun, olive groves, and pine-covered hills. The students came up with the idea in a local club, where they played sports and sang songs that had been prohibited under Fascist rule simply because their lyrics were in Slovenian.

Despite the anti-Catholic nature of the Communist regime, the students named their choir after Vinko Vodopivec, a recently deceased composer who also happened to be a priest. Their wish was to bring the culture and the temperament of the Mediterranean to the rest of Slovenia, and their choir was an instant hit.

The Vinko Vodopivec Choir was initially headed by Anton Nanut, who went on to become a widely respected classical conductor. Within a year, his choir was performing throughout Slovenia. Most of its repertoire consisted of traditional music from their native Primorska region, but it also performed the works by leading Slovenian and international composers.

To this day, the Vinko Vodopivec Choir draws large crowds in Ljubljana, where it is based, and in towns throughout Primorska. Once a year, it organizes a concert just for college students. But it has also shared its music with audiences around the world, from the United States to South Africa, as well as throughout Europe.

The choir has never shied away from the new and the innovative, but in some respects, it remains steeped in tradition. New generations of freshmen are still inducted into the choir with annual concerts held on Ljubljana’s Prešeren Square – as has been the case for decades. And the choir frequently pays homage to the man who gave it its name by performing songs composed by Vinko Vodopivec.

More than sixty years after it was founded, the Vinko Vodopivec Choir is still going strong. Just as in 1953, it is composed primarily of students from the Primorska region who are determined to bring a touch of Mediterranean warmth and joie de vivre to the Slovenian capital.

Jaka Bartolj