Marjan Kozina. A Contribution to His Biography


  • Primož Kuret



The Slovene composer Marjan Kozina was born in Novo mesto in 1907. Except for the first two classes of elementary school, he spent the whole of his school time in Novo mesto. Music had already attracted him in his early youth as he grew up in an intellectual family where the mother and father were keen musicians. Apart from music he was also very interested in mathematics and physics and was an enthusiastic chess player, achieving some notable successes. After completing school, he enrolled at Ljubljana university in order to study mathematics and at the same time studied the violin at the Ljubljana conservatory and played for some time in the opera orchestra. In 1929 he finally decided to concentrate on music and went to Vienna where in autumn of the same year he began studying under Professor Joseph Marx. Because they quarrelled a number of times Kozina secretly took lessons from Alban Berg. However this was not satisfactory either. With difficulties and doubts about the Tightness of his chosen path he graduated in 1930. After his Vienna degree he went to Josef Suk at the conservatory in Prague to perfect his compositional technique. At the same time he studied conducting with Nikolaj Mal k, finishing both composition and conducting with great honours. After this he was the practice pianist at the Ljubljana opera for two years and then became director and conductor to the choir and orchestra of the Glasbena Matica in Maribor. During this time he composed little, but prepared several successful concerts. Because of difficult conditions Kozina moved to Belgrade in 1939 where he began to teach at the music academy in 1940. Some of his successful works fall into this period, such as the Ballad of Petrica Kerempuh, Beautiful Vida, the opera Equinox, which he finished in 1942. It was first performed in 1946. In 1943 he returned to Slovenia and after the capitulation of Italy joined the partizans, where he mostly worked at the Slovene headquarters, organising choir courses and he also composed a great deal. For some time after the war he was the head of the music section of Radio Trieste, and then became a lecturer at the Belgrade music academy. In 1947 he returned to Slovenia as director of the Slovene Philharmonia. He was elected professor at the Ljubljana music academy in 1953 and became a member of the Slovene academy of arts and sciences. In the first years after the war a number of works were composed, among which the imposing Symphony with the movements Mt. Ilova, Bela Krajina, To the Fallen, Towards the Sea should be mentioned. He composed film scores and music for children, and also wrote essays on numerous subjects, not confining, himself to music. He retired early (1960) and was rather ill during the last years of his life but continued to write and travel. He died on the 19th June 1966 while still working on his second opera Cyrano de Bergerac. His works are characterised by optimism and serenity and a strong Slovene feeling. Although his work is not very extensive, because of its exceptional qualities it is an important part of the Slovene musical picture of the middle of this century.


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1. 12. 1971




How to Cite

Kuret, P. (1971). Marjan Kozina. A Contribution to His Biography. Musicological Annual, 7(1), 90-101.