United Through Music, Peace concert in Sarajevo

United Through Music

“Concert for Unity and Peace”
Bosnian National Theatre – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In partnership with Beth Duke-Red Oak Productions and Emir Nuhanovic, Director Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Zonic has produced and conduct a Unity and Peace concert in Sarajevo. The Gala event was performed in conjunction with Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra and its director Emir Nuhanovic, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and its director Neal Gittleman, and Stivers Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra
Members: Dayton Philharmonic and Stivers Philharmonic Orchestras
Michael and Sandy Bashaw – Puzzle of Light
Almer Imamovic, Acoustic Guitar
Vocal and Instrumental Soloists
Guest Orchestra members from: Croatia, Serbia, Russia, Germany, Bulgaria, and Albania.

Neal Gittleman, Conductor
Music Director Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra

Dino Zonic
Composer, Conductor, Director
Stivers Philharmonic Orchestra

Featuring: Suppe, Bethoven, Aranjuez, Zonic, Led Zeppelin…


By Stuart McDowell, Ph. D., October 22, 2004
Chair and Artistic Director
Wright State University
Department of Theatre, Dance, and Motion Pictures

It is difficult to describe what happened last night here in this city they call the Jerusalem of Europe. Simply say it was one of the great triumphs of the human spirit. Tickets for the concert “United through Music” went on sale only forty-eight hours before the event and were immediately sold out. The orchestra and soloists brimmed the stage. Dayton and Sarajevo were greeted warmly. Earlier in the week they had planted a tree in Sarajevo’s Peace Park honoring a growing relationship between these two sister cities. I took part in meetings intended to build close ties between institutions of higher education in our cities. The concert United Through Music at the National Theatre proved a crowning culmination of such an astonishing week of cultural encounters. Among an inspiring two and one-half hour concert Neal Gittleman conducted the world premiere of Maestro Edin Dino Zonic’s astonishing Symphony Entrata – drawn from Zonic’s experiences when Sarajevo was suffering its horrible siege. A little over a decade ago this city fought for its life amidst armies of hate and intolerance. As a close friend of Dino’s said: Sarajevo was fighting for civilization itself!.

Last night, the stage performers from Dayton, Sarajevo and throughout Europe were greeted by a standing ovation. I wish I could have put all of Dayton in my pocket so it could witness what happened here in Dayton’s sister city in the beautiful Balkans. March will commemorate the Peace Accords that were signed in Dayton. Dayton-a name people in Sarajevo know as a place where peace was made. Let us spread the word that the name Sarajevo is a place where hope is again in bloom.

* * *

By Stuart McDowell, Ph. D., October 18, 2004
Chair and Artistic Director
Wright State University
Department of Theatre, Dance, and Motion Pictures

I am standing in a graveyard. Surrounding me are endless rows of gray, white, black stone markers, some with images of loved ones, old and young side by side. Now and then, a weather worn wooden marker has hand painted letters and numbers. Most bear the years 1992 and 1993. Buried beneath are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Gypsies. Death is not partial here. Fresh flowers cover many graves, perhaps commemorating a birthday that would have been, the sun shines down in all its ironic brightness. A young Dino’s student emerges from our group of twenty, and unzips a large vinyl bag. He sits at the base of a towering stone statue.

A large sad lion with haunting eyes looks down on the student as he positions a cello against his shoulder and begins to play. From this cello emerges a strong, doleful tune that seems to drift through the graveyard, curling around the markers. Beside me stands a tall handsome man, the brilliant composer, conductor, director and humanitarian who had invited us all to this place at this time and for this reason. We are all here to honor the dead, to learn from the past, and to celebrate life. Name of this remarkable person is Maestro Edin Dino Zonic.

Some dozen years before Maestro survived the great and hideous Bosnian war as commander of military platoon. Later he change rifle into conductor’s baton to emphisezed and honor human life, a multicultural life. Maestro Zonic left Sarajevo with clefts of his compositions and conductor’s baton under his arm and forgiveness in his heart. After touring the capitals of Europe and prestigious theatres and concert halls he settled in Dayton Ohio, as cultural Ambassador of Dayton Peace Accords and Dayton Peace Prize. He has returned to Sarajevo and with him has brought a delegation of United States from the schools and colleges, businesses and government.

Our stay will culminate with a concert of Maestro Zonic’s mission of United Through Music; with his remarkable Stivers Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dayton Philharmonic, musicians from other countries and the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra in the Bosnian National Theatre one of the buildings that survived when Sarajevo was under a terrible siege which killed tens of thousands multicultural peaceful citizens of this lovely Balkan city. The concert will commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords, a diplomatic triumph that finally brought peace to this war torn region. A bird begins to sing. The music of the cello wafts over this sacred ground. Thursday the concert will celebrate life. Today we honor the dead.