"... an ecstatic musical experience, in its own dream sound-world"
Marc Greenfest, New Music Connoisseur
Integrating the leading-edge technology with her classical training and bold, yet sensuous style, Bukvich has been billed by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) as a "concert composer/performer whose music defies boundaries".
"one of the most interesting electronic writers around" (SoundWordSight), Svjetlana Bukvich grew up during the wildly creative music scene in Sarajevo's eighties, with Arabian horses and four major religions at her doorstep. Integrating cutting-edge technology with tuning of her own design and her classical training, Bukvich has emerged as an uncommon figure on the New York music scene. Her genre-bending performances, described as "ecstatic musical experiences" (New Music Connoisseur), weld deconstructivist dance suites with microtonal sympho-rock tone poems, experimental prog rock/world/classical fusions with musique concréte, and contemporary art-song with electronic soundscapes. As an artist with exceptionally wide range, and a passion for innovation, she has worked with instrumentalists such as Martha Mooke, Tony Levin, Mari Kimura, Rob Schwimmer, Cornelius Dufallo, Patrick Derivaz, Johnny Reinhard, Leonardo Suarez Paz, Kamala Sankaram, Ha-Yang Kim, Gareth Flowers, Susan Aquila, Eddie Venegas, Jessica Meyer, and Mordy Ferber. Her "powerful and atmospheric, evocative of the sacred" (IAWM Journal) sound draws from the energies of the places she has lived in - Addis Ababa, Edinburgh, Boston, New York City, and Sarajevo.
Sarajevo has been described as "the most eastern place of the West and the most western place of the East", balancing these points for centuries. In the eighties, the city "moved to the rhythm of an Austrian waltz with a Slavic lilt, a Turkish flourish in its architecture, and a thriving arts scene". As a musician on that scene, Bukvich played with rock bands, composed for independent television and theater, and performed as a piano soloist with the Sarajevo Philharmonic. Her flourishing career was cut short by the war.
In the US, Bukvich was awarded a full scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. She earned an MFA in integrated electronic arts, the first multimedia program of its kind. She has since appeared in venues as varied as the The Kennedy Center, the Tribeca Film Festival, American Festival of Microtonal Music, The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn's Bargemusic, Music With A View Festival, Sarajevo Winter Festival, Serial Underground at the Cornelia Street Café, The Kitchen, The Anthology Film Archives, Rose Studio at Lincoln Center, (le) Poisson Rouge, ASCAP's Thru The Walls Series, the [New York] Times Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, The Cutting Rooom, Spectrum, the Bohemian Hall, and internationally including Beijing, London, Johannesburg, Belgrade, Knin/Croatia, and Copenhagen.
Bukvich's music has been broadcast on Voice of America, American Music Center's Counterstream Radio, WQXR's Q2Music in NY, John Schaefer's New Sounds on WNYC, New York's MNN Public TV, Australian SBS Radio, WOMR out of Provincetown, MA, WTUL out of New Orleans, LA, KALW out of San Francisco, CA, KXUA out of Fayettewille, AR, WMBR out of Cambridge, MA, WCBN out of Ann Arbor, MI, WWFM out of West Windsor, NJ, KALX and KPFA out of Berkeley, CA, and Marvin Rosen's Classical Discoveries out or Princeton, NJ.
Bukvich is the 2013 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellow in Music/Sound, and has enjoyed support from diverse institutions, such as the Soros Foundation, the American Composers Forum, the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University, the New England Foundation for the Arts, ASCAP's Buddy Baker Film Scoring Scholarship, O'Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, Inc., GENERATE: The Frances Richard Fund for Innovative Artists of Promise, and USArtists International. Among her mentors were Philip Glass, Carl Stone, Miroslaw Rogala, Josip Magdic, Neil Rolnick, Kurt Munkacsi, Goran Bregovic, Martin Bresnick, and Robert Ashley.
Along with twenty-five contemporary women composers, including Meredith Monk, Joan Tower, Pamela Z and Pauline Oliveros, Bukvich is featured in the book "In Her Own Words - Conversations with Composers in the United States" published by the University of Illinois Press. In the fall of 2011, she was an artist-in-residence at Lafayette College, and has collaborated with Pomegranate Arts in support of Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra's North American tour. The tour culminated with sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall, and consequently, Bukvich wrote about the concerts in Carnegie's Playbill and lectured on Balkan music at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her score Interior Designs, commissioned by the Carolyn Dorfman Dance, was listed as one of the top ten dance events of 2013 (The Star-Ledger) and has received the New Music USA, 2013 Live Music for Dance award. She wrote, arranged, and produced EVOLUTION, "astounding", "mind expanding" (babysue), mixed by the Grammy-award winning team David Frost and Tom Lazarus, and released in April 2014 on Big Round Records, a PARMA Recordings company. New York City-based, she continues to write for trail-blazing instrumentalists, electro-acoustic ensembles, film, animation, and dance. In July of 2015 she was an artist-in-residence at the historic Manley-Lefevre House in Dorset, Vermont. The same year Bukvich was honored when she performed her music for 190 United Nations delegates and representatives at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Other recent activities include new commissions from the Carolyn Dorfman Dance, Jeanette Stoner and Dancers, performances at the Bickford Theater in NJ, Alvin Ailey City Center, National Theater in Sarajevo, a solo show at Roulette in New York City, a premiere at the Festival of Microtonal Music in Berlin, and New Music USA, 2016 Live Music for Dance award. She is a board member of the American Festival of Microtonal Music, an honoree in 2014 Selected Honors, Awards & Achievements in ASCAP Concert Music, and associate director of the New York-based Composers Concordance organization. Bukvich is on faculty at NYU, and writes a new music and art column in Modern Diplomacy International.
Once You are Not a Stranger, my collaboration with Janis Brenner & Dancers and visual artist Eva Petric, premieres Feb 10, 2017 at the National Theater Sarajevo as part of XXXIII Sarajevo Winter Festival - The Silk Road Art. The work received the 2016 O'Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, Inc. grant, and will receive its NYC premiere in June 2017!
On Jan 26 2017, the fantastic ETHEL quartet premiered my piece for string quartet, bass guitar and tape at (le) Poisson Rouge in NYC as part of Composers Concordance's 'RoundTable' concert. The event featured new and recent works by Dan Cooper, Melissa Grey, Peter Jarvis, Robert Levin, Milica Paranosic, Gene Pritsker, and Randy Woolf.
The Ask a New Yorker interview where I talk about scoring for dance and my collaboration with choreographer Carolyn Dorfman. Thank you, Denise Marsa!
"Interior Designs... exhibits a dazzling ingenuity" - read the review about my collaboration with Carolyn Dorfman Dance here!
"richly colorful dreamscapes... highly stylized form vs. improvisatory freedom... " - read the review for Stairs, my collaboration with Jeanette Stoner and Dancers here!
Read my music and art column in Modern Diplomacy International! The latest article is about violinist Tim Fain and Composers Concordance.
Watch my live TV Voice of America (VOA) Interview - Thank you to Inda Swanke and Glas Amerike Studio Washington!
I'm featured in the book "In Her Own Words - Conversations with Composers in the United States" along with Meredith Monk, Pamela Z, Jennifer Higdon, Tania Leon, Chen Yi, Joan Tower, and Pauline Oliveros. "...an exquisite picture of the power and beauty of human creativity."