Tatjana Rankovich: Celebrating the Balkans through Music & Art  

Tatjana Rankovich performing at Carnegie Hall (Photo credit: David Milkis)

Machiavelli might well have summed up the volatility of life in the Balkans when he informed Lorenzo de’ Medici II., that “[The Romans] decided to wage war against Phillip V. of Macedon and King Antiochus III. of Syria on the Balkan peninsula, rather than having to fight them in Italy.”  As Machiavelli implies, the Balkans have always been at the forefront of great-power conflict.  However, that very volatility also endows the peninsula with the very best the disparate civilizations to the east, west, north and south have to offer.  The pianist and global citizen Tatjana Rankovich recognizes that rich inheritance: she grew up in the former Yugoslavia, where she learned that diversity is enriching and that, astonishingly, people living there have as much in common as they do differences.  With that vision of strength in diversity in mind, she founded the Music & More SummerFest to bring together music students and professionals from around the globe to study, perform and collaborate every summer in the Balkan heartland town of Trebinje.  There, surrounded by green mountains, the musicians are received as cultural ambassadors who are contributing to a new, bright chapter in the peninsula’s history.  If Tatjana is successful, who knows, maybe a successor to Machiavelli will be informing his patron that, to disarm the belligerents, the Balkans had dispatched their very best artists. 

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