Invaluable Music Treasures from the Past

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir – Total Immersion and Focus

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir, from Ljubljana, Slovenia ranks among the best girl choirs in the world. It is one of the five school choirs at The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in St. Stanislav’s Institution. The choir comprises of 40 girls between the ages of 15 and 18, but there is much turnover among singers; each year about a third of the girls leave at graduation, while new singers join.

Last year the choir prepared an outstanding musical event intertwining songs and dances with the music of an exceptional woman from the High Middle Ages, Saint Hildegard of Bingen. It bears the title Caritas abundant in omnia/ Love Aboundeth in All Things. The musical performance is enriched by a new musical setting by a Slovene composer Damijan Močnik, which combines seamlessly past and present.

Hildegard’s music, which represents the spiritual expression of The High Middle Ages, is extremely demanding to recreate. For this very reason, it is so valuable that this project has been launched by such young girls. With all their hearts’ creativity they dedicated themselves to the studies of almost one thousand-year-old musical notation and spiritually rich texts, which are so different from anything they encounter today. With courage and determination, they have left behind the world they know, the fast world, often of superficial nature, and entered into the profound message of love, wisdom and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The choir’s interpretation of this Medieval mystic, composer and polymath are full of girls’ tenderness and so convincing that overwhelm even the most demanding listener.

Music and choir activities at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium along with the above-mentioned concert reflect the school’s mission statement in its main points. St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir with 40 teenage girls, who each definitely seek for their own identity and role, who undoubtedly cannot succeed without each other, without the complementing community, as only together they can sound harmoniously. With their teacher Saint Hildegard, the girls could not but include the Christian values – from their personal faith to music making in a singing community, which both inevitably result in personal growth and excellency in anything the young singers do. The result is inspiring and it fully realises the school’s motto Amor magister optimus/Love is the Best Teacher. This is the most precious piece of advice a teacher can give to a student. You are kindly invited to listen to how love sounds!

/Helena Fojkar Zupančič, Lily Schweiger Kotar/

St. Stanislav’s Day 2022 – Let Us Do Good To All People (Gal 6,10)

Each year the entire school community celebrates St. Stanislav’s Day to mark the feast of the Institution’s patron.

We have the pleasure of inviting you to this year’s celebration which will be marked with holy mass and a formal celebration on Tuesday 15th November 2022. Holy mass will be celebrated at 3 p.m. in the parish church of St. Vitus in Ljubljana Šentvid by the Archbishop of Ljubljana Msgr. Stanislav Zore. The formal celebration will take place at 5 p. m. in the sports hall of the Alojzij Šuštar Primary School. Prof Ddr Klemen Jaklič, a Judge of the Slovene Constitutional Court and a full professor of constitutional law, will hold the official speech. The performance will be given by the students of all schools in St. Stanislav’s Institution.

We look forward to celebrating with you.

Anton Česen, M. A., Director of St. Stanislav’s Institution

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir to participate at the choral contest in Tolosa, Spain

St. Stanislav Girls’ Chior -the pure joy of singing

We are proud to announce that 40 girls, students of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in St. Stanislav’s Institution under the conductorship of Helena Fojkar Zupančič, are taking part in the International Choral Contest of Tolosa. The choral contest will take part from 28th October to 1st November 2022 and brings together the best choirs in the world, in order to exchange their knowledge of styles, interpretation, vocal know-how and customs of each participating country. The contest has been held annually since 1969 and the event has developed into one of the most prominent choral happening in the world.

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir will have a rather extensive and versatile repertoire. On the tour they are accompanied by conductor Marjetka Kozmus and Tina Tandler, the indispensable organizer. We wish the girls the best of luck. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Matej Lukan to participate at The International Geography Olympiad 2022 in Paris

Matej Lukan – National Champion in Geography

Matej Lukan, The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium graduate, is to represent Slovenia at the 18th Geography Olympiad, which should be held in Paris, but due to the strict Covid related regulations put in place in France, the competition will be held online. International Geography Olympiad (IGO) stimulates active interest in geographical and environmental studies among young people, contributes positively to debate about the importance of geography. Such events as also facilitate social contacts between young people from different countries and in doing so, contribute to the understanding between nations. It was first held in 1996 and is held in a different country each year.

The IGO is an annual competition for the best 16-19 year old geography students from all over the world. Students chosen to represent their countries are the very best and we are extremely proud that two of the DCG students, namely Lara Celar (year 3) and Matej Lukan (year 4), took the gold at national competition. Moreover, Matej became the national champion in geography, excelling other competitors, which qualified him for the IGO. The IGO consists of three parts: a written test, a multimedia test and substantial fieldwork requiring observation, leading to cartographic representation and geographical analysis.

Matej Petrevčič, B.Sc., Geography teacher at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, is Lara’s and Matej’s mentor and it has to be admitted he shared and passed on most effectively his knowledge of geography. The community of St. Stanislav’s is proud of both Matej and Lara for their outstanding success and wish Matej all the best at the online Olympiad in Paris. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Marija S. Benedičič qualified for International Biology Olympiad in Yerevan, Armenia

Marija Snežna Benedičič, the champion

Marija Snežna Benedičič, The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium graduate, joined four other representatives from Slovenia to participate at the 33rd Biology Olympiad, which is scheduled from 10-18 July 2022 at Yerevan State University in Armenia. International Biology Olympiad (IBO) brings together gifted students from all over the world and challenges them to expand their talents, which promotes their future careers as scientists. The organizers claim that one of the important aspects of the IBO 2022 is bioinformatics, a broad scientific research field that combines Biology, Computer Science, Data Science, Mathematics and Statistics. Bioinformatics is in fact essential for the management of data in modern Biology and Medicine.

After competing successfully at the national level, Marija Snežna was chosen to join online preparations for the big event, taking part in the competition on 21st May 2022 at the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. The practical part, which took 60 minutes, was followed by a theoretical examination, which lasted for 120 minutes. The students who qualified for the Olympiad are besides Marija Snežna Benedičič from St. Stanislav’s Institution also Urban Bauk from Poljane High School in Ljubljana, Ema Šuligoj from Tolmin High School and Urh Šarlah from First High School in Celje.

This is how Marija perceives her qualification for the Olympiad: »For me, Armenia used to be just another country on the map, another country I knew from playing that game of guessing countries’ capitals. But that has changed drastically in the past couple of weeks and I already know this country will have a special place in my heart. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate at the IBO and I am looking forward to travelling to Armenia, exploring the country, its history and culture, meeting other enthusiastic biology students from around the world, feeding my curiosity and furthering my knowledge.«

Brigita Brajkovič, B.Sc, and Ana Bavec, B.Sc., both biology teachers at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, introduced Marija most successfully to the contemporary challenges of Biology. The community of St. Stanislav’s is proud of Marija and her outstanding success and wishes her all the best at the Olympiad in Armenia. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

The Music School in St. Stanislav’s Institution Leaves a Mark – 25th Anniversary Concert

The Big Family of Musicians from The Music School in St. Stanislav’s Institution

It has been 25 years since the establishment of The Music School in St. Stanislav’s Institution. It was established by the then Archbishop of Ljubljana dr. Alojzij Šuštar. In two and a half decades the Music School has left a remarkable trace and offered countless joyous music events of artistic excellence.

The jubilee will be marked by a special anniversary concert which will take place in the Slovenian Philharmonic on 24th May 2022 at 6 p.m.. A sparkling programme features works by Bach, Corelli, Chopin, Slovene composers and as some modern beats with film music. We are delighted to include the hymn that was specially written for the occasion of 20th anniversary of Music School by Primož Bratina, pianist and piano teacher. The concert will be performed by present students – soloists, chamber ensembles, small and large string orchestra with guests from Ukraine, the pupils’ choir of music theory and solfeggio, as well as solo singers with guests.

Today The Music School under the leadership of Daniel Eyer, employs 27 teachers engaged in teaching and inspiring 240 students. Apart from musical theory, sight singing, jazz singing and preschool music, 15 instruments are taught, along with music making in chamber and large string orchestra as well as the guitar ensemble. A lot of students excel in competitions at different levels from regional to international, some take in music as a professional path in their lives and continue studies at music academies at home and abroad. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

27th Annual Concert of the Choirs and Orchestras of St. Stanislav’s Institution

Choirs From St. Stanislav’s Institution – The Abundance of Music and Love in One Place

After a two-year break for Covid, we are bringing back the 27th annual concert with great joy and pride. It  will take place on Sunday, 8th May, 2022 at 6.00 p.m. in Gallus Hall in Cankarjev Dom (Ljubljana). Despite challenging circumstances in the last two years, the musicians from St. Stanislav’s Institution have not been silenced. Having embraced the reality, they have never been more determined to continue to bring the abundance of life and love through music making. In fact the key notion of this year’s concert is caritas abundant, which suggests that it is the abundance of love which brings about the creative force and offers the much needed boost to our everyday endeavours, opening our hearts for all the good abound us.

Nine choirs and two orchestras will perform a variety of compositions ranging from renaissance to modern genres. We are particularly pleased we are able to perform tonight together with some young Ukrainian musicians, who fled the atrocities of war in their homeland. Discovering the everlasting message of music with them has been simply priceless. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

War and Peace – Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

These are the words by Valerija Lah Peternel, a teacher of Russian language and literature at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium that reflect also the attitude of St. Stanislav’s educational community on the Russian Ukrainian war.

“Two weeks ago, I was shocked by the news from Eastern Europe: Russia attacked Ukraine under the pretext of defending and protecting its citizens and sovereignty. Without taking a full advantage of diplomatic endeavours, the Russian president decided to invade Ukraine, which has so far claimed thousands of victims and millions of people living in fear. They have decided to run to safety, away from their homeland. I stare in the screen powerlessly and think of the unthinkable – there are images of aggression, havoc, desperation and terror. I wonder how it is possible that in the 21st century we still are such bad students of history – uneducated, undisciplined, crude – unworthy of their teacher.

On the other hand, Russian culture is a rich treasury of humanistic thought, rebelling against any autocratic power and supporting the freedom of people and nations. If we want peace, it seems we still need to deliberate again and again over the past wars. We may as well start with Tolstoy, who wrote in this diary in 1853:  »Война такое несправедливое и дурное дело, что те, которые воюют, стараются заглушить в себе голос совести.« /War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves./ Ten years later he started writing his great work, which bears in its title the word war, but conveys above all the message of peace. The mankind has not comprehended it yet. Svetlana Aleksijevič, a Belarusian Nobel Prize winner, provides us in her long novel War’s Unwomanly Face with a shocking account of untold (women) stories about being caught in the atrocities of war. She cannot possibly put a human face onto any war – in fact she considers war as a monster, which devours life itself; only our memories and unconditional pledge to peace can repel it.

As a Russian teacher I have been trying for years to boost enthusiasm in my classes about Russian culture – through language, literature, fine arts, film, music, architecture, cuisine and folklore. Russian politics and its irrational behaviour are a massive slap in the face for any teachers’ efforts to cross borders, listen and understand each other and enter the dialogue by teaching a foreign language. There have been different reactions to the news from the east, and it may as well be true that fewer students will wish to learn Russian. Nevertheless, now it is the time to build bridges and absorb the message from Russian humanists. There a lot of them and they did not keep silent”. /Valerija Lah Peternel, B.A., teacher of Russian/

St. Stanislav’s Day 2021 – The Focus of Harmony

Rok Pogačar, counsellor in The Jeglič Student Home: Fire, Water, Earth, Air, (Debeli Rtič, Slovenia), watercolour

Each year the entire school community celebrates St. Stanislav’s Day to mark the feast of the Institution’s patron. This year it is under the title of The Focus of Harmony, which adequately points at the 25th anniversary of the establishment of The Music School of St. Stanislav’s Institution.

This year as well all celebrations have been restricted to virtual mediums only. Therefore, we have the pleasure of inviting you to follow us online. The occasion will be marked with holy mass and a solemn celebration on Thursday 11th November 2021. Holy mass will be celebrated at 3.00 p.m. by the Archbishop of Ljubljana Msgr. Stanislav Zore in St. Stanislav’s Chapel. https://tiny.cc/masa2021

The solemn celebration will take place at 5 p. m.. Ivan Florjanc, M.A., a Slovene composer, will hold the official speech. The performance will be given by the students of all schools in St. Stanislav’s Institution. https://tiny.cc/akademija2021

We are looking forward to meeting you online.

Anton Česen, M. A., Director of St. Stanislav’s Institution

 

Two Choirs Under the Conductorship of Damijan Močnik to Feature at Europa Cantat

St. Stanislav Youth Choir of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium

Damijan Močnik, Slovene composer, conductor and a long serving music teacher is the deputy chairman of the Europa Cantat Music Commission and the chief music advisor for the music image of the opening ceremony and concerts representing Slovene choral music to international audience. Unfortunately, the intended programme will be materialised only partly due to pandemic restrictions. Damijan Močnik is the conductor of both Megaron Chamber Choir and St. Stanislav Youth Choir of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium.

Megaron Chamber Choir will perform at the concert on Thursday, 22nd July 2021 at 5 p.m. in Cultural and Congress Centre Cankarjev dom in Gallus Hall. In the section Listen to Slovenia Slovene sacral music by Jacobus Gallus will be presented; the programme will also include pieces from the flourishing period of the 19th century Slovene music to timelessness of choral works by contemporary Slovene composers including Mav, Klemenčič, Ipavec, Dev, Lebič, Vulc, Makor, Mlakar and Sojar Voglar. For more detailed information please follow: https://europacantat.jskd.si/programme/special-projects/sing-to-slovenia/ and https://europacantat.jskd.si/programme/concerts/listen-to-slovenia-concerts/

St. Stanislav Youth Choir is the festival choir of the residence and is to perform in Open Singing section and Discovery Ateliers. Open Singing is a daily open-air event where everybody is welcome to join in for the sake of pure joy of singing. An intensive musical experience is guaranteed. Open Singing is led by Jan Schumacher, German professor of conducting and conductor of award winning ensembles. Discovery Ateliers are designed for those who love diversity in terms of style, singing techniques and genres of choral music. Workshops are to take place from 17th-20th July, 2021. For more details follow: https://europacantat.jskd.si/programme/workshops/discovery-ateliers/

Both Megaron Chamber Choir and St. Stanislav Youth Choir will perform at the concert Sing to Slovenia in Slovenian Philharmonic on Sunday, 18th July, 2021 in the morning (9.30-12.00 a.m.) and evening session (6.p.m-8.30 p.m.). This event celebrates the 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence.

At St. Stanislav’s Institution we strongly believe singing is an important part of education of every young person. Students of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium and alumni take advantage of probably the best musical education available in Slovenia. Singing brings with it also the benefits of skills that will last a lifetime and singers gain a natural self-confidence, as well as the appreciation of good time-keeping and the rewards that result from hard work. Warmly welcome to any of the above mentioned events. The more, the merrier! /Lily Schweiger Kotar/