Building Musical Bridges 2021

1st Working Phase - 08.-17.10.2021

The 1st working phase of WBYO was originally scheduled for the period March 1-14, 2020, but had to be postponed due to the development of the Corona pandemic. A couple of new dates had to be discarded one after the other - for the same reason. But in October 2021, 1 1/2 years later, the WBYO was finally able to take off: On 8. October 2021, 30 professional young musicians from the 6 non-EU Western Balkan countries* (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) with two guests from Germany were to come together in Prishtina/Kosovo for their first "real" working phase - in this first round as a string orchestra. On 7. Octobre 2021, the orchestra members were collected by the WBYO tour bus from their different locations in the Western Balkans. The first days were packed with masterclasses of the different instrument groups at the Music Faculty of the University of Prishtina, headed by an international spectrum of eminent lecturers. In the afternoons and evenings, the orchestra convened for tutti rehearsals under the guidance of WBYO artistic director and conductor Desar Sulejmani.  


Originally, the concert tour was planned to offer concerts in all 6 WB countries*. Due to the impediments of the Corona situation, this time the concert tour was limited to only 3 cities rather close by, in order to minimize the risks for the tour. On 14. October, the first concert was given in the Red Hall in Pristhina. Due to the pandemic situation, only some 60-70 persons were able to witness this inaugural concert of this orchestra - a great moment! On 15. October, the tour bus brought the orchestra to Skopje/North Macedonia. In the evening, the orchestra had its second appearance in the beautiful concert hall of the North Macedonian Philharmony, which is blessed with phantastic acoustics. The concert was part of the Festival Skena e Muzikës Serioze Shqiptare. Again, the restrictions due to Corona limited the size of the audience. But some 150 music lovers could enjoy a sparkling performance. Next day, the tour bus moved on to Tirana/Albania, where on 17. October the final concert was given as part of the German October, a row of cultural events presented by the German Embassy in Tirana. The venue of this evening was the concert hall in the lower level of the Orthodox Resurrection Cathedral - again a phantastic setting for an inspring evening of music. 


This first working phase and concert tour found a lot of interest by local and international media. Here you find some of the recordings and clippings, as well as photos and videos of the events.


Thankfully, this first working phase and concert tour could be carried out without any problems. It marks an encouraging basis for the orchestra to develop and grow. Plans already are forged for the coming months and years. And the countries which could not be visited this time are definitely part of these plans.

First time - WBYO on tour
First time - WBYO on tour

Date Activity City  Location 
07.10.2021 Arrival of participants Pristina  
08.-14.10.2021 Master classes and orchestra rehearsals Pristina  
14.10.2021 1st concert Pristina Red Hall 
15.10.2021 2nd concert Skopje Concert Hall of the North Macedonian Philharmony 
17.10.2021 3rd concert Tirana Concert Hall of the Orthodox Church
Concert Programme see below    
Lecturers Instrument Name Affiliation 
  1st Violins BALOGLU, Önder, Turkey/Germany Duisburger Philharmoniker 
  2nd Violins  TEZUKA, Yukiko, Japan/Austria  Camerata Salzburg 


Czech Republic 

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra 
  Violoncellos  HERNANDEZ SUAREZ, Diego, Spain/Germany 

Quart.essence String Quartet, 

Euphonia Orchestra Munich

  Double Basses  VYBÍRAL, Tomáš, Czech Republic  National Opera Orchestra Prague 
  Artistic Director & Conductor SULEJMANI, Desar, Germany German Rhine Philharmonic Orchestra
Musicians (CVs here)
1st Violin     ALIU, Gentian     SRB  |  Viola   KUKAJ, Lirdina,   RKS*
    ALLIU, Alesia   AL  |      JAGODIĆ, Anđela   SRB
    BUÇUKU, Leufat   RKS*  |      MILOŠEVIĆ, Ivan   BIH
    DODAJ, Xhulia   AL  |      QARKAGJIA, Entela   RKS*
    GASHI Arsim   RKS*  |      SERAFIMOVSKA, Jelena   BIH
    PETRAŠ, Staša   SRB  |      SHTALBI, Suel   AL
    RADULOVIĆ, Milutin   MNE  |  Violoncello   ALJI, Enis   NMK
    FANTE, Johanna, as guest*   D  |      BERISHA, Kaltrina   RKS*
2nd Violin   ABDULLAHI, Hana   NMK  |      CVETKOVSKI, Dejan   NMK
    GLIGOROVSKA, Stefanija   NMK  |      KOMAR, Nejla   BIH
    NICAJ, Dea   MNE  |      ZAKRAJŠEK, Andrej   MNE
    TEŠIĆ, Bobana   BIH  |  Double   PEŠUT, Mihailo   MNE
    VEJZOVIĆ, Senka   BIH  |  Bass    DABETIĆ, Nađa   SRB
    ZEKA, Dijetar   RKS*  |        VELJANOV, Jovan      NMK   
    URBANIAK, Annie, as guest*   D  |      ŽIVANOVIĆ, Boris   SRB
    *East Bavarian Youth Symphonic Orchestra                

Programme of the Western Balkans Youth Orchestra’s concert tour

Autumn 2021 in Prishtina, Skopje, Tirana

Many strings, one direction!


Peter Warlock (1894 – 1930)

Capriol Suite for String Orchestra


Basse-Dance & Mattachins (Sword Dance)


Alexandre Tansman (1897 - 1986)

Variation for string orchestra on a theme by Girolamo Frescobaldi


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1751 – 1791)

Piano Concerto in A Major, KV 414




Allegretto (Rondo)

Dag Ivar Wirén (1905 - 1986)

Serenade for String Orchestra Op. 11



Andante espressivo

Allegro vivace


Gustav Holst (1874 – 1934)

St. Paul's Suite 





Finale (The Dargarson)

Western Balkans Youth Orchestra

Desar Sulejmani, Piano & Conductor


To support the next step of WBYO - the working phase and concert tour of Octobre 2021 - eight clubs of the Rotary family in Aachen invited the Rotary Orchester Deutschland to give a big open air charity concert in Aachen in June 2021. Tickets were being distributed and donations collected beginning autumn 2020. So there was already a substantial amount of donations available when in February 2021 the concert had to be postponed to 2023 due to the Corona situation. Still, the donations were made available for the project, together with the unused funds from the first attempt of March 2020 which had to be cancelled due to Corona.


Involved clubs:

  • Rotary Club Aachen-Land
  • Rotary Club Aachen
  • Rotary Club Aachen-Charlemagne
  • Rotary Club Aachen-Connect
  • Rotary Club Aachen-Frankenburg
  • Rotary Club Aachen-Nordkreis
  • Rotaract Club Aachen
  • Inner Wheel Club Aachen

With special thanks to the Rotary Orchester Deutschland whose members were to give the concert free of charge and carry their costs themselves.

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*) In the WBYO context, the designation is without prejudice about positions on status.