The Epic of Prince Marko Kraljevic and the Contemporary Movement. Gusle and ballet. Piano and concert halls, music for film and games. The common denominator is the young and successful composer Ana Krstajic, creative ambassador for the Serbia Creating Platform.
After obtaining a master’s degree at the prestigious Berkeley College of Music, you returned to Serbia and created “Marko”, a contemporary dance performance based on epic poetry about the life of Prince Marko Kraljevic. Where did the idea for this extraordinary work come from?
– I grew up listening to my grandfather who used to play songs and sing verses of Serbian epic ballads, so this aesthetic is very familiar to me. Fascinated by sound, I wanted to bring the richness and creativity of our national epics to younger generations, tattooing the art of epic poetry in a contemporary way, through the sound of a string orchestra and with modern electronic instruments that mimicked the sounds of gusal. I felt it was only possible to collaborate on a project like this with young artists who are actually from the region and who therefore instinctively understand Serbian epic poetry.
As well as composing music for concerts and contemporary plays, you also create music for film, TV series, TV commercials, and most interestingly for video games. How different are these processes?
– Creating music for film or television is a similar process in that both are composed in linear time using the image as the main guide. Video games require a different composing technique altogether, because game music has no definite duration and it responds to whatever the game-player triggers in the game. Although I have been working on applied music projects for some time, I have to admit that I enjoy it even more than composing music for concerts or contemporary plays. Although it requires specific time commitments and a stepping out of the usual comfort zones, these are precisely the conditions where art can flourish.
What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?
– I am composing music for a theater play by Vashe Zheleznov, Maxim Gorky, directed by Zlatko Sviben at the National Theater in Belgrade, together with my colleague Jana Rancic. With the Devotion Studios team, I am working on the final details of music for Heroic, a Nordeus video game. As part of the Sonic Tree Studio in Belgrade, I am composing and orchestrating music for a feature film and a domestic TV series to be aired on RTS this year, and I am planning to move to Los Angeles soon to continue my professional development.