Period 1964 – 1968
In 1964, a handful of cultural enthusiasts gathered and established The student cultural and arts association Študent (KUD Študent) with the support of college directors in Maribor. This was the first step towards the union of all college students with the great aim of preserving and developing the Slovene dance and choral heritage. The result was a folklore group and a male choir.
The male choir KUD Študent was run under direction the talented only seventeen-year-old music student Stane JURGEC, who was invited to become the new conductor. The first period of growth and development began, which was reflected in the excellent repertoire and the interpretation of performed works. The choir also made some guest appearances in former Yugoslavia. At the beginning, it appeared with the folklore group, but later, it performed alone more and more frequently. Soon the news of its superb performances spread among general public and the leading people at the Union of Cultural Societies of Slovenia. The Union recognized the choir’s quality and honoured the young men with the permission to represent Slovene choir music also abroad. This was a great privilege, because travelling abroad was very tempting and unattainable for many people at that time.
Period 1969 – 1975
The male choir proved its quality at home and abroad, it grew even bigger and developed further. In early 70ies, the idea of performing together with the women’s choir sprang up. After the project was finished, however, both choirs went their own ways and the attempt to unite fell through. A few years later, in 1975, the University of Maribor was officially established and became the second Slovene university.
The number of students at faculties and colleges grew with every year, which was a good basis for a mixed choir. The idea, given by the male choir and the University of Maribor was finally excepted. Within the framework of the University, a mixed choir was established and named the Academic Choir Boris Kraigher. In the first year of its existence, it was conducted by Ivan VRBANČIČ, because Stane Jurgec was absent.
Period 1976 – 1990
A few years passed, in which the new mixed choir got through some teething troubles and learned to stand on its own feet. The young women brought a new wave of creativity as well as youthful enthusiasm, and caused a literal artistic boom. The choir had more than 100 members, their performances made a great impression on friends of choir music in Slovenia, former Yugoslavia and other countries. At home and foreign competitions, the choir won most prestigious laurels.
At the international competition in Cork (Ireland) in 1986, the choir reached the top of its success by wining the golden medal and the flattering title “best choir”. After this famous achievement and long years of hard work and success, Stane Jurgec started thinking about leaving the choir.
Period 1991 – 1994
The excellent conductor Stane Jurgec accepted the new challenge at the Slovene National Theatre in Maribor. The new commitment engaged him too much to dedicate himself to the choir as much as in the past. After 27 years, he handed over the conductor’s baton to his young colleague Alenka KORPAR. She conducted the choir three years.
Her work was far from easy. Many members left and new, younger joined, so the choir hat to start almost anew. According to the new era that had just started the choir was renamed The Maribor Academic Choir. Already after a short period with the new conductor, the choir won the silver medal at the Slovene choir competition Naša pesem in 1993. This was a proof that it had taken the right way. In Slovenia, every achievement at choir competitions at home or abroad meets with appraisal, because choir music has always been the most widely spread cultural activity in our country. It is the home competitions, which still open doors for our choir to take part at competitions abroad.
Period 1995 – 1999
In 1995, the Englishman Simon ROBINSON took over the direction of the choir. Mister Robinson, who was increasingly gaining the international recognition, met the choir’s expectations by his work and enthusiasm. Its first success with the new conductor was the golden medal at the 1997 competition of Naša pesem. After that, it performed at some guest appearances in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria and elsewhere. In 1994, the next achievement followed – the choir won the golden medal at the international competition of academic choirs in Pardubice in the Czech Republic. After this great success, the cooperation with Simon Robinson was over.
Period 2000 – 2002
In 2000, Jože FŰRST – also an internationally recognized conductor – took over and directed the choir three years. In this time, the choir performed at various competitions and guest appearances, and won some prizes. In 2001, it won the silver medal at the Naša pesem competition. It took second place and won the title “choir with best programme” at the international competition in Lithuania. In 2002, the choir was also successful at a competition in Italy. Its performance made a great impression on the audience in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria and other countries. Unfortunately, the period with the new conductor was very short.
Period 2003 – 2014
In season 2002/2003 Jože Fürst took leave and was succeeded by the young, enthusiastic Hungarian conductor Zsuzsa BUDAVARI – NOVAK. She is determined to lead the choir on a new way of success. In spring 2003 we have visit Poland, where we took part in International academic choir festival, on competition Naša pesem 2003 were we awarded with bronze and in Christmas time we had many concerts across Štajerska.
In year 2004 the choir took place in University choir festival in Bologna and we celebrated our 40th anniversary with big concert.But the best moment came when we returned from International choir competition in Jersey with 2 prizes (gold in mixed choir competition and audience award for best choir).
Again in March 2005 we participated on Naša pesem competition and we won another silver medal with 87,3 points. In this season we have a lot in mind what to do and so we might see you on some competition.
In the second part of the season 2005/06 the conductress Zsuzsa Budavari – Novak dedicated herself to her newly born and gave the leadership of the choir over to Jasmina DOBAJ who performed her work perfectly and returned from the Spanish Cantonigròs with two gold plaques.
In the season of 2006/07 Zsuzsa Budavari – Novak resumed her work as conductress. The choir received a silver plaque on the national competition Naša pesem. An important step in the cooperation between choirs was made by APZ Maribor who organised the first meeting of three academic choirs (APZ Maribor, APZ Tone Tomšič of the University of Ljubljana and APZ of the University of Primorska).
The season of 2007/08 was the season of collaboration. It started with the collaboration in the opera Cavalleria Rusticana (SNG Maribor). This was followed by Christmas concerts in Štajerska (Styria) and the second meeting of the three academic choirs, this time in Ljubljana. After the regional choir festival the choir left for Poland where they achieved second place in the category of sacral music and third place in the category of folk songs. In June APZ Maribor performed its 44th yearly concert. To spice up the program the concert also saw the performance of the dancers of the Academic folk dance group Študent (AFS Študent).
The choir started the season of 2008/09 with a concert at the opening of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Maribor. This was followed by auditions for new members and shortly after the introductory picnic at the RTV building (Radio-television Slovenia in Maribor). Through the year the choir performed on various occasions within the University and its various faculties in Maribor. In November they performed at the regional theme concert of adult choirs Sozvočenja in Murska Sobota. The choir performed three pieces under the title ‘Smrt v glasbi – od bolečine do tolažbe skozi čas’ (Death in Music – from Pain to Consolation through Time). Up to March 2009 there followed months of fun, socialising, individual minor performances and work on the new repertoire. In March APZ Maribor appeared with a slightly different programme on the TV show Spet doma for the first time. After four appearances the choir made it to the super final in June where they won 3rd prize. In March the singers in a smaller ensemble sang at the opening of photo exhibition of co-singer Matej Strašek (second bass) in the club Satchmo in Maribor, moreover the full ensemble attended the regional choir festival of adult choirs and smaller vocal ensembles in Maribor. In April there followed the hight of the season of 2008/2009 – the competition Slovakia Cantat in Bratislava. The choir competed in three categories (sacral and folk songs and the category of mixed choirs) and scored gold in all of them. Besides that the conductress Zsuzsa Budavari – Novak was also awarded the prize for the best conductor of the competition. The season finished in the month of June with the following events: 3rd meeting of academic choirs in Koper, the yearly concert in the hall Union in Maribor (with the octet Ljubljanski oktet as guests) and the aforementioned super-final in the TV show Spet doma.
The season of 2009/10 was started by the ‘old group’ with a performance at the day of engineers of Slovenia in Hotel Habakuk. After the auditions there was an introductory picnic at the RTV building in Maribor. After the picnic the work started with a full swing: the performance at the Maribor municipality’s holiday, the performance at the celebration of 50 years of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Maribor, collaboration at the festival of folk song in Prevalje (Sušnikovi dnevi), the performance at the day of ŠOUM (Student organisation of University of Maribor) in Štuk, the two-day recording of the Christmas CD in the church of St. Mary in Pobrežje in Maribor, the performance at the awarding of the diplomas of the University of Maribor, the performance on the festival Mišičevi dnevi in the Kazinska concert hall of SNG Maribor, the performance on the awarding of diplomas at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Maribor, the publication and sale of the CD Praznične drobtinice (Holiday Crumbs) and four Christmas concerts under the same name. The time of the holidays is also the time of fun and it was of course not left out: ‘St. Nicholas celebration in 2050’ in the APZ-um and the (after)new year’s dance of KUD Študent (Cultural Art Association Študent Maribor). The time of fun again turned to the time of work with intensive preparations in Jesenice in January where the choir perfected its new repertoire. The successfulness of the work was tested in March on the regional choir festival of adult choirs and smaller vocal groups in Maribor. In the same month the choir performed as guests on the concert of the mixed choir MePZ Gorenje Velenje. They were also happy at the nomination of the new president of KUD Študent Maribor; Metka Šalika (second soprano). The highlight of the season came when the choir attended the 21st competition of Slovenian choirs Naša pesem in Maribor in April where the choir received a silver plaque. The spirit of the competition continued during the time of the May Day holidays when the choir went on tour in Italy. They attended the competition Venezia in Musica in Venice and sung in the categories of sacral music and mixed choirs, where they were awarded a golden plaque in both and had the honour of performing in the Grand Prix. In May they prepared in a relaxed spirit for their final concert of the season which was at the same time also the 4th meeting of the academic choirs. They also presented their yearly work in June with two repetitions of the yearly concert in Rače and Makole.
The season of 2010/11 was very busy. That year was also marked by performances at the awarding ceremonies for diplomas, doctorates … In the advent time the choir sang for charity cause at the event Koraki za korakce. The time was marry until the end of December when APZ finished the year with the festival Naša božična pesem (Our Christmas Song) where it hosted three vocal groups: KUD Rače, Octet Raskovec from Vrhnika and the mixed choir MePZ Škofijske gimnazije Antona Martina Slomška. This was followed by months of preparations for important performances and competitions. In March they were invited by APZ Tone Tomšič to the Slovenian Philharmonic where the choirs of the three universities sang together for the fifth time. In April it was traditional again, the members sung and danced on the joint concert of the sections of KUD Študent. At the beginning of May the choir confirmed their excellency at the regional choir festival for adult choirs and at the end of the month where they treated lovers of choral music with their yearly concert. The concert was named 365 and their songs and lyrics presented the four seasons and members of APZ within them. The end of the season was really busy. First there was the competition at the Festival in Limburg an der Lahn in Germany where the choir received two silver plaques in top competition–the folk programme awarded them 4th place and the category with free programme 6th place. At the opening day of the Festival Lent 2011 they sang with 300 musicians on the concert Gala 2011 in cooperation with the wind orchestra KUD Pošta Maribor and soloists Andreja Zakonjšek Krt and Janez Lotrič and seven other choirs from Maribor. They ended the season with their northern neighbours on the renowned choir competition in Spittal an der Drau in Austria. They again competed in two categories. In the category folk song they were awarded 7th place, the mandatory programme brought them 6th place.
Season 2011/12 In October they held auditions for new members and thus gained 15 new singers. They also experienced some change in leadership, the president of APZ Maribor Metka Šalika became the president of the whole association KUD Študent, the position of the president of APZ was taken over by Marko Perger (1st tenor). In December the choir cooperated with Brass Band Maribor and two other choirs (MPZ Laudamus and MMPZ ŠgAMS) and performed Karl Jenkins’ Mass for Peace. The choir also organised the festival of Christmas carols Naša božična pesem which was a cycle of three concerts with the cooperation of other choirs (mixed choir of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Maribor, chamber choir Orfej from Ljutomer, mixed student choir Mohorjan from Prevalje and chamber choir Hugo Wolf from Maribor). The festival ended with the performance of a very successful and sold out charity concert Mass for Peace which was organised in collaboration with Rotary klub Maribor – Park, the money went to primary school OŠ Gustav Šilih Maribor. At the beginning of 2012the choir held another series of auditions for new members. In January they performed on the opening ceremony of the European Capital of Culture on the new Leon Štukelj square in Maribor. Before the coming performances they had 4 days of preparations with traditional initiation ceremonies and the acceptance ceremony in the Dominikov dom on Pohorje. The sixth traditional meeting of academic choirs of the three universities titled V troje je lepše (Ménage à trois or. It is nicer in a company of three) the idea for which came from Tilen Žibert, the president of APZ Maribor in the season 2006/2007, was held in Koper that year. The choir also participated the choir festival in Maribor and organised a joint concert Pod KUD-ovskim dežnikom (Under KUD’s Umbrella) with other sections of KUD Študent. In April they headed for Turkey where they participated in the 4th international choir festival in Antalya. Their excellent performances won them 1st prize and golden plaque in the youth category and 1st prize and silver plaque in female category. Here we have to stress the success of Zsuzsa Budavari Novak again, she received a special jury prize for the best conductress of the category. At the end of May the choir presented itself to their home audience with an independent concert titled Orient ekspres, where they presented their journey to Turkey through song, dance and lyrics. In June they sang for their former choir members Vesna Domitrovič and Martin Hrastnik on their lovely wedding–APZ Maribor has joined many a couple this way. During the year the choir participated at the events of the University of Maribor and its members.
The season 2012/2013 started with a great change, after ten seasons of successful work with Zsuzsa Budavari Novak the choir opened a new chapter with a new artistic director, academic musician, professor of music and composer Tadeja Vulc. The president of the choir Marko Perger became the president of the entire association and the presidency of the choir was handed to Nastja Spasković. The season started (and continued throughout 2013) with workshops under the European Capital of Youth Maribor 2013; the choir and folklore group of KUD Študent cooperated with Dom pod gorco, the University Medical Centre and Inter-municipality Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to revive old songs and dances and spend time with the elderly who live in an elderly home, children in medical care and the blind and visually impaired. In December they were invited to a Christmas concert in Novo mesto. The mixed choir Pomlad Novo Mesto organised the event Koncert treh zborov (Concert of Three Choirs) where APZ Maribor sang for the first time under their new conductress. The concert also saw the performance of the singers of the choir Koroški akademski pevski zbor Mohorjan from Plrevalje. At the end of the year the members of the APZ organised the third festival of Christmas songs Naša božična pesem where they repeated the very successful charity concert–Karl Jenkins’ Mass for Peace. They performed the concert together with Brass band Maribor (conductor: Aleksander Čonč), the mixed choir Laudamus and soloists Renata Gračnar, Daniel Gajšt and Samir Jusić. With the help of Rotary klub Maribor – Park the money was again given in most part to primary school OŠ Gustava Šiliha Maribor and in smaller portions to schools Franc Rozman Stane, Bratov Polančičev and Prežihov Voranc and the church parish office Maribor – Pobrežje. In the second day of the festival there were concerts of APZ Tone Tomšič of the University of Ljubljana and the percussionists of the Slovenski tolkalni projek. 2013 began with practises for Verdi’s Requiem which was successfully performed twice in March with the opera choir of SNG Maribor (Slovene National Theatre Maribor). In the same month the choir also performed at the regional choir festival in Maribor. In April it was time for intensive practise on Pohorje, where the choir tested and accepted new singers and intensively practised the coming singing programme ,which they later presented on the seventh meeting of the three choirs of the three universities in Ljubljana and impressed the public with their new conductress. The yearly concert followed with the title Kolo časa (Wheel of Time) on 7th June, which was traditionally held in the Union hall in Maribor and was repeated on June 9th in Radlje ob Dravi. On July 6th the choir sang on the beautiful wedding of former members Marta Kavčnik and Robi Muršec. In July there was another highlight of the season, the competition in Spain at the prestigious international competition Festival Internacional de Música de Cantonigròs, where members of APZ more than successfully competed in three categories. Category of mixed choirs: 2nd place in competition with 8 other choirs, women’s category: 5th place in competition with 9 other choirs and folk music category: 5th place in competition with 13 other choirs. The competition hosted choirs from many countries: Belgium, Estonia, Venezuela, Spain, Portugal, Ukraine, Indonesia, Switzerland, Italy and China. After the competition they earned their well deserved rest: 3 days in Barcelona where they also sang in the magnificent basilica Sagrada Familia thanks to the honorary general consul of the Republic of Slovenia in Spain Mr. Alberto Estrada Vilarrasa, where they were hosted by Msgr. Lluis Bonet i Armengol himself, who is the pastor of the church and Vice Postulator of the beatification process of Antonio Gaudi. The distinguished consul also introduced the singers to his wife and son Albert Estrada-Rius who is curator in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and associate professor doctor on the university. He also introduced them with the man who was president of the government of Catalunya from 1980 to 2003–Mr. Jordi Pujol i Soley, who shared with them the story of his cooperation during Slovenia’s struggle for independence. The season ended full of great impressions and socialising.
The season 2013/2014 was especially rich, coloured with the 50th anniversary of KUD Študent.
It all started with the concert of the Kulturno umetniško društvo Študent (Cultural Art Association Študent), i.e. the KUD concert, which the members of the KUD revived in the past years (2011 and 2012) because it had not been held for many years before this and it should be pointed out that KUD Študent actually started their creative path with joint KUD concerts because the individual sections did not have enough repertoire to organise their own events. After this APZ MB had a performance on 4th November 2013 when the singers appeared on the opening of Stanovanjska kooperativa (Housing Cooperative) in the organisation of Mestni mladinski svet Maribor (City Youth Council Maribor) and the former singer Barbara Bedenik. On 7th and 21st November they performed at the University of Maribor at the promotion of new doctors of science, on 28th November they performed at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. On the 29th November they headed to Hrpelje where they had a full-length concert in organisation of the family Prosen (the family of one of their singers) and their municipality in the Cultural Centre Hrpelje. A themed St. Nicholas celebration followed on 3rd December 2013. On 4th December they had a performance in the Union hall during the diploma awarding ceremony of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Maribor..The evening of 20th December 2013 was especially interesting, the singers namely went for a Christmas walk through the Fairy City of Maribor and offered the city life of Maribor some of their Christmas spirit by singing carols in cooperation with Živa dvorišča (Living Courtyards) and the Društvo Hiša! (House! Society). It also has to be mentioned that the choir made a Christmas-New Year’s greeting video within this project (video production Zala Pia Lipičnik) which you can see on the Youtube web-page, on the channel KUD Študent. After the New Year the busy tempo continued. 10th January was marked by a more relaxed event, which again brought together all former and current generations of KUD Študent, the After New-Year’s Ball of KUD Študent. Hard work continued a lot of practise and new knowledge was achieved by the singers of APZ from 27th February to 2nd March when they had intensive preparations on Pohorje. On 16th March they participated at the regional choir festival (within the event Zborovske harmonije (Choral Harmonies, the 2nd concert on the national level)). 20th March was marked by the yearly meeting of the three APZs with the title V troje je lepše (Ménage à Trois), this time in Koper in the Social centre Zadružni dom Spodnje škofije. On 28th March and 4th April they performed at the University and made the day for the new PhD’s. On 2nd April they had a concert called Za zborovske sladokusce (For Choir Gourmets) together with Akademski pevski zbor Tone Tomšič from the University of Ljubljana (led by Sebastjan Vrhovnik) and the vocal group Rusalke led by Tadeja Vulc. On 6th April they went to Ljubljana where they participated in the filming of the TV show Moja Slovenija (My Slovenia). This was followed by one of the bigger projects, which will be remembered for ever. This was the choir biannual national competition Naša pesem. The singes of the Academic Choir Maribor received a gold plaque after seventeen years with ninety-three points. They also received the award for the absolute second place with a monetary prize of 1500€ and the prize of 400€ for the best performance of a contemporary Slovenian piece written after 1995; Tadeja Vulc: EPILOG, the composer also received the award for the most promising débutante conductress. In addition APZ MB received an invitation from the Glasbena matica Ljubljana to stage a concert in Knight’s Hall of Križanke in Ljubljana (in 2015). More about the competition Naša pesem in Slovene on the webpage: http://nasizbori.jskd.si/bili-ste-odlicni-bodite-naslednjic-se-boljsi/. The singers of APZ Maribor performed at the commemoration of the day of the resistance in the Volkmer’s crossing at Hotel Orel on 24th April 2014. On 6th June they performed at the foundry Mariborska livarna Maribor, which celebrated its 90th anniversary. After this there were many important events which were marked by the 50th anniversary of their association. During 26th May and 8th June there was an exhibition which celebrated their 50th anniversary (http://ssum.um.si/2014/06/kud-student-praznuje-50-let/) and was prepared by the team of members of KUD Študent. On 13th June the singers performed their yearly concert titled Mozaik preteklosti (Mosaic of the Past) as the highlight of their season (more on this in Slovene at http://nasizbori.jskd.si/50-let-apz-maribor/) which they repeated in Bistrica ob Sotli in the church on Svete Gore (on 21st June). This was followed by one of the biggest and main concerts of this season which marked the 50th anniversary of the association Študent Maribor on the gala academy on the main stage of the Festival Lent on 30th June, where the present members of KUD Študent connected with the previous generations and once again sang and danced on stage together. On 2nd July the members of APZ performed a concert in the scope of Živa dvorišča (Living Courtyards) on the courtyard of the Franciscan monastery with a stroll through the city centre and on 11th July they headed for Ribnica na Pohorju where they staged a performance at the art camp at the traditional smithy Kovačija pri Kovaču at one of their singer’s Tinca Vomer. As the completion of the season there was yet another important competition, a tour to Germany between 17th and 25th July where the singers of APZ Maribor won 2nd place in the category of mixed choirs and 3rd place in the category of folk, spiritual and jazz music in Miltenberg. The season continued in September when the members of APZ Maribor performed at the festival of the old vine Festival Stare trte on three wine evenings in the house of the old vine Hiša Stare trte.
The season finished quickly and soon a new one started where the singers began to diligently practise and prepare for the new, and most of all, a successful season.