20 Dec 2018
Montenegro Podgorica Montenegrin National Theatre
18 Jul 2014
22 Aug 2014
The Slovene Octet was founded on the initiative of Slovene emigrants in the USA, who wanted – after having lived in a foreign land – their Slovene consciousness to be strengthened and ennobled by native Slovene songs. On 27 September 1951, 8 male singers (Janez Lipušček, Gašper Dermota, Marij Kogoj, Božo Grošelj, Roman Petrovčič, Tone Kozlevčar, Tone Petrovčič, and Artur Šulc) were chosen at a demanding audition, after a tender had been put out by the then Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Slovene Emigrant Association. In its over 50-year-mission more than 40 singers (also some notable Slovene opera singers) have participated in the octet. The artistic leaders of the octet have been: Janez Bole (1951–1957), Valens Vodušek (1957–1972), Darijan Božič (1972–1974), Anton Nanut (1974–1999) and Mirko Cuderman (2000–2008).
An important milestone for the Slovene Octet was when the entire group of singers changed in 1991. The octet rejuvenated and started a new path, remaining faithful to the tradition. In 1996, the Slovene Octet took a new road with an important reorganisation of the ensemble. At that time the octet was also legally founded and named the Cultural Society Slovene Octet. Their 50th anniversary concert was composed of the most known songs which have brought the octet its world-wide fame.
The Slovene Octet has received numerous awards including: the Prešeren Award (1957), the Prešeren Foundation Award (1964), A National Certificate of Merits (1966), the award by the Society of Slovene Composers (1971), the Drabosnjakova Award (1975), the Orlando Di Lasso Award (1984), and a Gold Medal of Honour and Freedom of the Republic Slovenia (1996). In 2007 the book Slovenski oktet [Slovene Octet] by Boris Pangerc was published as an overview of the octet's activity over the years.
Beside folk and folkish songs from all over the world, the Slovene Octet's repertory has always consisted of a variety of Slovene and Yugoslav songs, as well as classical choir material from the Renaissance to contemporary authors. It is well known that the ensemble has always learned some special programme related to the music of the country that was about to host them.
The octet has recorded an enviable number of records, cassette tapes and CDs, as well as several TV programmes and movies.
The Slovene Octet performs at all important music festivals and its activities have brought its members to all 5 continents of the world. The octet has held more than 5,000 concerts in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Australia, as well as at home – in Slovenia, and among the Slovenes of Italy and Austria. Especially resounding was the octet's collaboration with famous Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda with whom they recorded an LP. They have most recently toured to England, Uruguay, and Argentina.