Piano virtuoso Simon Trpceski has put Macedonia at the pages of the November issue of world-renowned magazine for classical music "BBC Music" under title "Macedonian Magic: We Visit the Balkan City of Skopje".
In the framework of its cycle "Musical Destinations" and inspired by Macedonian pianist Trpceski, journalist Jessica Duchen paid a visit to Skopje, or as she calls it in the text title "Ancient Heart of the Balkans". In the subtitle, she says the Macedonian capital is where, thanks to pianist Simon Trpieski, "an exciting classical music scene is beginning to take shape".
"Macedonia, formerly part of Yugoslavia, is best known as the birthplace of Alexander the Great. But it's also famous for having suffered a devastating earthquake in 1963. In Macedonia, though, the deeper you dig, the more there is to find, in every sense. Its soul remains very much intact, historic, atmospheric and fascinating - and its forays into classical music are becoming more exciting by the year. This owes much to the influence of one crucial firebrand: the pianist Simon Trpceski, who at 33 has already been the country's chief cultural ambassador for over a decade. He has made it his mission to put Macedonia on the cultural map, working with his management in London as well as with the local culture and arts organisation KulturOp to raise standards of both performance and operation", says Duchen.
According to her, the effects are tangible. Thanks to sponsorship from local businesses, the city now has a Steinway concert grand piano and state-of-the-art equipment to transport it. And international orchestras have begun to visit Skopje at last: the Bolshoi Orchestra was first, in 2009, and a year later the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowski became the first major British orchestra to play there.
"I believe that those concerts were one of the reasons behind the project to build a new concert hall which will be the home of the Macedonian Philharmonic," says the pianist.
Duchen refers to the Ohrid Summer Festival, Skopje Summer, Skopje Jazz Festival, Macedonian Philharmonic, Macedonian folk music, Macedonian composers, churches, the Old Skopje Bazaar, Kale fortress, archaeological sites, Kokino observatory etc.
"Macedonians love good, fresh, local food and wine- the country is well suited to vineyards. And it's no exaggeration to say that Skopje's welcome is among the warmest I've experienced, even in chilly December", concludes Duchen.