Isidora Žebeljan, Composer & Librettist (Serbian)
Isidora Žebeljan was born in 1967, in Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia. Her father was a journalist; her mother, a professor of literature and of the Serbian language. She started studying piano and music at the age of five and attended a high school for music in Belgrade where she won first prize in the piano and solfeggio competitions.
Isidora wrote her first simple compositions at the age of 14, and after that decided to study composition at the Belgrade Music Academy. At 16, she joined the class of Prof. Vlastimir Trajkovic, a composer who was the head of the Department of Composition and Orchestration, at Belgrade Music Academy. Her graduation piece, in 1992, was her first symphony - Scenes of the Picars (sinfonia in tre movementi).
Isidora Žebeljan has written about 20 compositions for different chamber and orchestra ensembles. Some of the most recent ones are: Three Pieces for Guitar Solo, premiered at the BEMUS Festival, Belgrade, by Srdjan Tosic in 1998; Four Old Serbian Songs for Soprano Voice and String Orchestra, first performed at the Barbican Centre in London, 2000, by the Chamber Orchestra of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama; Sarabande for Flute, Soprano Voice and Piano, first performed in the Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome, June 2001; and A Harvester Cuts a Handful of Songs, Five Songs for Soprano Voice and Orchestra, first performed at the Kolarceva Zaduzbina Festival Hall in Belgrade, February 2001.
Isidora also composers and orchestrates for films - she worked on several scores for director Emir Kusturica as well as for theatre. She is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Composition and Orchestration at the Belgrade Music Academy. Isidora has won several significant prizes for art and theatre music: she twice won the highest Yugoslav annual award for original music composed for the theatre, Sterija's Award; and she has won the Grand Award of the YUSTAT Biennial three times. Her orchestral and chamber compositions are often performed in concert halls and theatres.
Isidora has a young son.
Milica Žebeljan, Librettist (Serbian)
Milica Žebeljan is collaborating on the revision of the opera libretto for Whatever Happened to Zora D with her sister, the composer Isidora Žebeljan.
Milica graduated from the Faculty of Film and Theatre Art in Belgrade (in the Department of Dramaturgy) having, as her major project, written the screenplay The Retreat, and the play The Adjustment.
During her studies Milica was involved in several interesting students' projects. She also experienced all aspects of making a play: directing, acting and writing as well as helping backstage. She is a writer for Serbian radio and television, having produced a dozen radio dramas and dramatisations. She has also written three TV plays A Champion Through the Window, A Friend From the 14th Planet, and Peaches Leaves Medicine.
Milica has worked as a film critic and also as a dramaturg in The Belgrade Drama Theatre. She is currently working as both a copywriter at the McCann-Erickson Advertising Agency in Belgrade and a critic for the daily newspaper Glas Javnosti.
Dusan Ristic (Serbian)
Dusan Ristic is a writer, playwright and screenwriter who was born in Belgrade in 1967. The story of the opera Whatever Happened to Zora D...? was developed with his collaboration.
His plays include A Small Love for Me or What Frightens Vincent Price? (1998, produced at Theatre Atelje 212 in Belgrade 2001), In Fact (1996, which was the official Yugoslav entry at the Young Balkan Theatre Festival - Neighbouring Voices in Bulgaria in June 1997), and Sunset Boulevard Revisited (1995, produced and broadcast by Radio Belgrade and voted Best National radio play of the year).
Dusan continues to work in film and on radio and is completing another play.