Miljenko Prohaska, one of Croatia’s most gifted musicians and composers was awarded a special medal from his govermnent for his work in this field,
and is the conductor of the zagreb Radio and Television Orchestra
and bassist with the Zagreb Jazz Quartet. He was recently elected president.
of the "Association of Composers in Croatia".
Prohaska was born in Zagreb in 1925. He started his musical career by taking lessons on the violin at the age of nine and made his first professional engagement in 1939, playing accordion with a small combo. After the war, he decided to study the contrabass, and, in 1951, enhanced his musical development by studying theory and composition at the Music Academy until 1956.
His career continued as bassist with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra,
the "Chamber Music Orchestra", and the "Symphonic Orchestra of Croatia Radio-Diffusion", playing with them on their many European tours. Later when not playing with the Zagreb Jazz Quartet, he worked as teacher and Professor in the music school and Academy.
From 1954 until 1962, Prohaska organized and arranged for several jazz and
dance bands and became the director of the Radio Dance Orchestra
of Zagreb which has toured several European countries, including the Frankfort
Jazz Festival in 1964. The year of 1963, however, marks a very important time
in his life, in that he discovered and synthesized his true musical expression
through the rich source of folk music in his native country. He has since been
the recipient of many awards for composing and arranging.
As a composer, he has written for the ballet, theatre, concert stage,
movies, radio and television. His many compositions in the jazz and "Third
Stream" idiom include such titles as "Overture", "On The way", "I Am Looking
Around During The Night", "Variations On Theme Patelin", "Obsession",
"Bagatelles", "Dilemma For Alto Sax", "Bosa-nova No.2", "Intima", (recorded by the Orchestra USA, directed by John Lewis and released on
Columbia LP CS-9195, and by the Modern Jazz Quartet in both big band and
combo versions on Atlantic LP 1449 and 1486) . "Intima" has also inspired
Leonard Feather, noted writter and jazz critic, to compose lyrics entitled
"Intime"; and "Concerto No.2 for Orchestra" (recorded by the Orchestra USA,
on Columbia CS-9l95;and in 1967, was performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Erich Kunzel) . His "Concertino For Jazz Quartet & Strings" received its world premiere December 9, 1966, in Cincinnati, and New York premiere in Carnegie Hall by the Modern Jazz Quartet and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Max Rudolf.
Later on he appeared as guest conductor for the music festival in Munich, and conducted two concerts in Copenhagen and Brussels.
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