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Aleksandra Vrebalov, native of the former Yugoslavia, left Serbia in 1995 and continued her education in the United States. She holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan (DMA, 2002), where she studied with Evan Chambers and Michael Daugherty, and a master’s degree from San Francisco Conservatory (MM, 1996) where her teacher was Elinor Armer.
In 2008 Vrebalov led Summer in Sombor (Serbia), a composition workshop that she initiated and co-founded in 2007 with the South Oxford Six composers’ collective. Vrebalov’s string quartet …hold me, neighbor, in this storm… commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation was premiered by Kronos Quartet in Zankel Hall in February 2008. The Spell, written for the Sofia Music Weeks was premiered by pianists Pavlina Dokovska and Vladimir Valjarevic in June 2008. In October 2008, Vrebalov’s new work for solo violin is to be played by Ana Milosavljevic at the Times Center in New York City. Transparent Walls, written for the San Francisco Conservatory is to be premiered on November 15 by the New Music Ensemble with Nicole Paiement conducting.
In 2007, Vrebalov’s Orbits were performed by Belgrade Philharmonic and Peter Leonard. In NYC, Vrebalov participated in the American Lyric Theater’s composer/librettist development program, collaborating with Deborah Brevoort on Altezura, an opera scene premiered at the Symphony Space in January 2008. Her string quartet Pannonia Boundless was published by Boosey&Hawkes as part of the Kronos Edition, and was one of the signature works at the Kronos’ Carnegie Hall workshop for string quartets. Vrebalov was awarded the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her two Bagatelles were premiered at the Mannes’ Beethoven Festival by pianist Evi Yundt in NYC in March 2007.
In 2006, Vrebalov was awarded the Barlow Commission to work on Stations for orchestra, chorus and soloists, for the 50th anniversary season of the RICCO Ensemble in Providence RI. Her piano concerto Forgotten Anthems, commissioned by Abingdon Art Festival was premiered by Vladimir Valjarevic and Knoxville Symphony with Cornelia Loemli conducting. Piano trio Passion Revisited was premiered by Stella Trio at the Mannes’ Bach and Baroque Legacy Festival in New York in March 2006.
In 2005, Vrebalov became a permanent resident of the US under EB-1 classification. Her work for solo violin Lila was premiered in Weill Hall by Ana Milosavljevic. Her orchestral work Orbits opened the 30th Novi Sad Music Festivities and was broadcast live on National Television NS Channel. The same channel produced a 25-minute television biography of Vrebalov. In the fall of 2005 she worked on the score for Seeing Beauty, an experimental film introduced at New York City’s Anthology Film Archives.
In 2004, Vrebalov received awards from ASCAP, American Music Center, Meet the Composer, and Friends and Enemies of New Music. As the Douglas Moore Fellow, supported by the Columbia University’s Alice Ditson Fund, she spent eight months in Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Memphis and Florida Grand Opera, immersed in all aspects of opera production. Her full-length ballet The Widow’s Broom, based on a book by Chris Van Allsburg and choreographed by Boston Ballet’s Viktor Plotnikov, opened the 27th season of the Festival Ballet in Providence, RI.
Wishing to expose students to different ways of experiencing and thinking about music, Vrebalov initiated the Summer in Sombor (Serbia) Composition Workshop in 2007, and brought the US Hip-Hop Ambassador Toni Blackman to lecture at the City College of NY in 2003. In 1997 Vrebalov created the Composers’ Forum, a weekly gathering of composition students at the Novi Sad University/Serbia, devoted to discussion of compositional process.
Her cross-disciplinary interests led to engagements with the Serbian Fund for an Open Society, and participation at interdisciplinary round tables, seminars, and residencies that include MacDowell Colony (NH, 2006, 2003, 1998), New Dramatists (NYC 2003), Rockefeller Bellagio Center (Italy, 2000), Moral and Mythology in Contemporary Art (Guest Artist, Novi Sad, 1995), and MultiMedeja (Lecturer, Novi Sad, 1995).
Vrebalov is a member of ASCAP (since 1999) and American Music Center (since 2002) and a founding member of the South Oxford Six (2003).