Continuing the fine tradition of the Zagreb Madrigalists, the Croatian Radio Television Choir was founded in the 1940s. Operating first of all as a chamber ensemble under the leadership of Mladen Pozajić, and then of Slavko Zlatić, in time it turned into the first professional choir in Croatia. During the last seventy years, its artistic identity has been given shape by a run of distinguished musicians, whose path, after Igor Kuljerić, one of the greatest Croatian composers and conductors, has been continued by today’s chief conductor, Tonči Bilić.

The choir’s very large repertoire includes a cappella compositions and vocal and instrumental works in a range from the early Renaissance to the most recent pieces, particular attention being devoted to the Croatian music heritage.

It has received excellent reviews for concerts in Rome, Moscow, Salzburg, Milan, Paris, Venice, Berlin  and numerous appearances in Croatia. The ensemble has worked with distinguished Croatian conductors such as Lovro von Matačić, Milan Horvat, Pavle Dešpalj and Nikša Bareza, as well as with international guests such as Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Igor Markevič, Valery Polyansky and many world-celebrated soloists.

The Croatian RTV Choir has earned high reputation with its performances of Schnittke’s Psalms of Repentance and Concerto for mixed chorus, Rautavaara’s Vigilia; Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and A Croatian Mass of Boris Papandopulo, Monteverdi’s Madrigali Guerrieri et Amorosi and Vespro della Beata Vergine, Bach’s St Matthew Passion and St John Passion, Haydn’s Creation, Händel’s Messiah, the St Luke’s Passion of Penderecki, Trois poemes d' Henri Michaux of Witold Lutoslawski (a work commissioned by and composed for the Radio Television Zagreb Choir, today the Croatian Radio Television Choir), Wedding of Stravinsky, Kuljerić’s Croatian Glagolitic Requiem and his opera Animal Farm, and the Triptych of Ivan Brkanović.

The Croatian Radio Television Choir is the recipient of the 2004 Milka Trnina Diploma for outstanding artistic achievement for the performance of Boris Papandopulo’s Croatian Mass conducted by Tonči Bilić. The Choir has twice received the prestigious Croatian discographic award Porin in 2005 for Album of the Year in the classical music category (CD Croatian mass released for Cantus label) and in 2007 for  best composition written for solo voice or  small ensemble (Kuljeric piece Oh Cross Give us your Mercy on the CD As a deer looks for the water brooks produced by Orfej and Croatian RTV), both conducted by Bilić.

Since 1998, the CRT Choir and its chief conductor Tonči Bilić have been focusing on a cappella singing and pieces with small instrumental accompaniment. Thus was created the Sfumato cycle – which over the last decade has been presenting classical and contemporary masterpieces together with less familiar compositions and recent creations of choral music to the Croatian audience. The concert series, with its curious sub-title, Spiritual Sounds, Hues and Forms  is produced in collaboration with the Mimara Museum and includes an interesting combination of music and visual arts.





Transcendental journey