As a teacher at both the Central Elementary School and the Big Serbian Orthodox Lyceum in Novi Sad (today known as High School “Jovan Jovanović Zmaj”), Isidor Bajić observed daily the lack of educated musicians in the community as he prepared sermons for the occasion of Saint Sava Day in the Lyceum, led three choirs and the singing society Neven, and collaborated on various musical aspects of Serbian National Theater productions. The educated music audiences which were present in Novi Sad at the time required music of a higher artistic level. Realizing all of this, Isidor Bajić announced his intention to the public after an initial period of pondering, consulting, and planning:
Music School (Conservatory) in Novi Sad
“The Music School (Conservatory) will be open in Novi Sad in September. Our town as well as our children will benefit, as our young generations will have the opportunity to be musically educated by professional musicians, further propelling the cultural progress of this city. We hope the public will joyfully support this new cultural undertaking!”
Flag, number 94, May 15, 1909
Isidor Bajić Music School, 1910
Isidor Bajić Music School was launched officially on September 1, 1909. Apart from the Music School in Subotica, the new school was at this time the only specialized music school in Serbia north of the Sava and Danube rivers.
“Without subvention, without any sort of assistance…a music school in Novi Sad now exists and works. The successful classical music concerts this school gives on a regular basis …are the best indicator that the educational level of the school is serious and up to date. It is obvious from the students’ performances that devoted and serious work precedes each event.”
Flag, number 28, 1913
Isidor Bajić was the first Principal of the School as well as a teacher of music theory. The teaching staff of the School’s early years also included Mrs. Mayer, professional singing teacher and wife of doctor Oscar Mayer; Miss Olga Kenin, piano teacher, Emil (Milan) Saks, famous violinist and music critic, and Mrs. Gabrijela Berić, an eminent pianist from Zagreb. Future professional music artists were educated in Bajić’s Music School, as were the audience members and music lovers who came to hear them play. Due in large part to these efforts, Novi Sad soon began to gain the status of “a big city”. The beginning of the First World War and the early death of Isidor Bajić interrupted this progress and resulted in a temporary closing of the School (September 15, 1915). The repercussions of the war resulted in a burdensome and slow reestablishment of the school in the following years.
„The difficulties the school faced cannot be grasped today… The support from the government was small… that from such modest beginnings the School has evolved into an institution of such stature today is a testament to the endurance and farsightedness of the teachers of the time… »
Isidor Bajić Music School, 1929
In 1919 a question was put forth regarding the founding of an institution which could restore the musical activities of Novi Sad in the spirit of Isidor Bajić’s ideas. In the following year (1920), upon the initiation of Vladimir Karakašević, the Music Society was founded with the aim of gathering music lovers from Novi Sad, amateurs as well as professionals, in order to improve the nation’s arts. Despite the serious efforts of the Music Society of Novi Sad management, the Isidor Bajić Music School started working again only in 1927, when it became the first half-state music school upon the approval of the Ministry of Education. Numerous problems accompanied and put in jeopardy the work of the School until 1930, when Svetolik Pašćan-Kojanov, a famous conductor, composer and music writer, became the School’s Principal. A period of renaissance followed in 1936 when Rikard Švarc was appointed Principal. By 1941, 210 pupils were enrolled in the school, but the successful work was again interrupted by the Second World War.
„In a concert hall filled to capacity and in the presence of many esteemed individuals, the students of the School have proven themselves worthy of their ultimate ambition to raise the level of the School to an even higher level through their own devoted efforts“
Day, April 27,1939
After the Second World War, and upon the proposal of the Local Command Office of the Department of Education, Milutin Ružić was hired to organize and gather teachers so that Music School Isidor Bajić might again begin its work. An experienced staff including Milica Moč, Anton Tot, Arsen Triva, Jelena Kasović, Petar Bingulac, and Karl Krombholc was joined with and strengthened by the addition younger colleagues, such as Anton Eberst, Nikola Petin, Dušan Stular, Rudolf Bruči, and many other diligent, highly professional, and devoted music pedagogues who ushered in a successful new period in the School’s operation. The number of students grew constantly, as did the number of teachers. With such prolific growth, the School soon faced the problem of finding premises large enough for all its classes to be taught. Though this issue remained relevant for several years, it was finally resolved in 1953 when the school was relocated to 9 Njegoseva Street, where it still resides today. When composer Rudolf Bruči became Principal of the School soon after, another period of constant improvement was born, resulting in 20 years of improved classes and student enrichment, and greater funds for instruments, records, and sheet music.
Music School teachers 1952
The results of such efforts are displayed each and every year.
Even a century removed from its establishment, this educational institution and specialized school has remained true to the ideas and hopes of its founder. Of far greater importance than the mere continuity of work is the demonstrated ability of Isidor Bajić Music School, its students and teachers, to maintain such a high level of professional success over these many years. At virtually all of the music competitions, both nationally and internationally, in which the students and teachers of the school participate, they receive numerous awards for excellent performance and pedagogical achievement (totaling approximately 100 awards per year, on average). Such a high degree of success is largely due to the excellent pedagogues of the school, who ceaselessly and unselfishly share their combined experiences as performers and their significant knowledge of music with their many students. In accord with such an approach, the students of Isidor Bajić Music School appear not only at competitions, festivals, gatherings and other such celebrations, but also become part of the fabric of daily musical life in Novi Sad.
Music School teachers 1975/76
Nearly every week of the year, the music performances of our students are displayed not only at poetic evenings, promotions, exhibition openings and other cultural manifestations of note, but can also be heard by any and all persons interested in attending the many concerts held at the Concert Hall of the Music School, or at venues of every significance across Novi Sad.
This tradition has continued on year to year, decade to decade, and across an entire century…
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