top of page


Year composed

Scored for





Marimba and Strings



Premiered in Zagreb, DEC 18 2003 by Ivana Kuljerić Bilić, marimba and  Rucner Quartet

Program notes

Original: Folk art II


The piece Folk art is a result of the collaboration between Kuljerić and his daughter, marimbist and percussionist Ivana Kuljerić Bilić. The starting point was her solo marimba piece Tafate which inspired the composer to add a string ensemble. His idea was to emphasize the chameleon features of the marimba (lyrical, dramatic, playful, singing, percussive and much more…) by giving the strings a very percussive character in the piece. Except for the middle section, just before the marimba cadenza, where solo strings display a beautiful lullaby like melody.

The marimba part started as an improvisation, exploring the folk heritage of Croatia and looking for some simple tunes to improvise on. Although Croatian music is strongly rhythmical and rich with dances and storytelling, there is no particular percussion instrument except for occasional rattles and funny noise makers... Still, many of the folk string instruments use repeating notes, rhythmical writing and patterns that are similar to the ones used in percussion music. And the marimba with its warm and mellow, yet rhythmical and hypnotic sound was the ideal playground for variation and interpretation of those basic sonorities. There is also the tradition of melisma and free improvisation over a pedal point which are used for the middle section. The music is not organized around a specific key but rather exploring different modal landscapes around the tone E.

bottom of page