23 Jan 2013
Croatia Zagreb Studio Zvonimir Bajsić
The establishment of the orchestra and its early successes can be largely be attributed to Bojan Adamič (1912–1995), a conductor and composer who led his own orchestra during World War II. Immediately after the war he reassembled the band and organised its first public appearance at the reopening of the Postojna Cave in June 1945. As early as Autumn 1945 the orchestra was officially taken under the auspices of Radio Ljubljana as the Radio Ljubljana Dance Orchestra. During the years of socialism, Adamič subtly enriched his music with jazz elements, remaining the orchestra's conductor until the early 1960s. The most prominent soloists of that period were Ati Soss, Dušan Veble, Mojmir Sepe, Zoran Komac, Albert Podgornik, Franci Puhar, and producers Dušan Hren and Jože Kampič.
From 1961 the orchestra was conducted by piano and vibraphone player Jože Privšek (1937–1998), a composer and arranger of excellence. During this period the orchestra dominated the music scene within the former Yugoslavia, gaining high recognition abroad (including the prize of the German Deutsche Phono Akademie in 1978 for best record). Leading soloists included Petar Ugrin, Andrej Arnol, Tone Janša, Silvester Stingl, Ratko Divjak, Ladislav Rebrek, Milan Ferlež, Pavel Gračič (as the first trumpet player), Lojze Krajnčan, Emil Spruk, and Milko Lazar.
In 1992 the orchestra was taken over by Lojze Krajnčan, together with Petar Ugrin, Milko Lazar, Emil Spruk, Tomaž Grintal, and some others. Since 2002 Hugo Šekoranja has been the Artistic Director and Manager. The orchestra's current soloists include Primož Gračič, Tadej Tomšič, Dominik Krajnčan, David Jarh, Blaž Jurjevčič, Matjaž Mikuletič, Aleš Avbelj, Ratko Divjak, Aleš Suša, and Blaž Trček.
In the 2011/12 season the RTV Slovenia Big Band performed regularly in Jazz Club Mons. In a cycle of six concerts the orchestra cooperated with famous Slovene artists Nuška Drašček, Uroš Perić, Lucienne, Tomaž Grintal, Janez Bončina Benč, Neža Drobnič, and Neisha. In September 2020 the orchestra celebrated its 75th anniversary with a traditional Summer night concert as a part of 68th Ljubljana Festival programme in the company of some of Slovenia’s most prominent singers and jazz soloists, whose careers have been marked by this professional ensemble: Alenka Godec, Nuška Drašček, Eva Hren, Jadranka Juras, Mia Žnidarič, Nina Strnad, Anika Horvat, Saša Lešnjek, Janez Bončina Benč and Oto Pestner.
The orchestra has frequently hosted leading musicians from abroad, including some of the biggest jazz conductors (Peter Herbolzheimer, Mercer Ellington, Maria Schneider, Jerry van Rooyen, Carla Bley, Herb Pomeroy, Mathias Raegg, Miljenko Prohaska, David Murray, George Lewis, Bill Holman, Michael Abene, Bob Mintzer, Ed Partyka, Mike Westbrook, Izidor Leitinger) and soloists (Clark Terry, Stjepko Gut, Johnny Griffin, Ack van Rooyen, Toots Thielemens, N. H. Pedersen, Jiggs Whigham, Albert Mangelsdorf, Bobby Shew, Mario Gonzi, Duško Gojkovć, Bosko Petrović, John Riley). Since 1997 first trumpet has been played by one of the best European "screamers", Andy Pesendorfer.