Category Archives: News


NEW 2014 CD release (Com)Passionate!

Now available:

Petar Jankovic Ensemble: (Com)passionate


About the works

“(Com)Passionate Music includes two contrasting movements: I. Passionate is very energetic and powerful, and II. Compassionate is vulnerable and warm. Passion, the zeal within you, makes you move forward; and compassion, the heart for others, compels you to reach out. Passion and compassion together seem more effective than one without the other.” – Elliott Bark

Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 is a monumental work originally written for solo piano. Inspired by J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, the full piece is over two and a half hours long and cycles through all 24 major and minor keys. Each key contains a prelude and a fugue in contrasting style. The three selected for this recording are Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C Major, No. 5 in D Major, and No. 24 in D Minor.

Debussy’s six-movement suite Children’s Corner was written for solo piano and was dedicated to his daughter Claude-Emma who was three years old at the time of composition. It was not intended to be performed by children, but is rather an adult’s nostalgic reminiscence of childhood which features several children’s toys brought to life musically. It was published in 1908 and in 1911 the work was arranged for an orchestra by Debussy’s good friend André Caplet.



Petar Jankovic Ensemble on NPR’s Performance Today this week!
On Monday, June 11th, the NPR’s Performance Today will broadcast a selection from Petar Jankovic Ensemble concert played on March 31, 2012 in Auer Hall at IU Jacobs School of Music. Tune in to your local NPR station to hear Petar Jankovic Ensemble perform Dyens’s Fuoco!
American Public Media’s Performance Today is broadcast on 260 public radio stations across the country and is heard by about 1.3 million people each week.  Each station individually decides what time to air the program.  To find out where and when Performance Today is broadcast in your area, please visit
Click anytime to listen and watch Petar Jankovic Ensemble video clip.
If you would like current information about the ensemble, visit us online at .

RAVE REVIEW from our European tour

After the concert in Belgrade, Serbia Zorica Kojic, music critic from Daily News Paper “Danas” had this to say about our concert:

“Classical guitarist Petar Jankovic and his four ensemble members (string quartet from Jacobs School of Music), are well-tuned ensemble, in a strong all-around instrumental voices and sensibilities, perfectly aligned in the noble musical  and enjoyable repertoire from De Falla’s works over to Brazilian pieces, and ending with especially flavored interpretations of Astor Piazzolla.  Fresh and magnificent Jankovic’s guitar tones, in perfect harmony with his ensemble mates and particularly impressive cellist Martinez among others, indeed are spreading perfumes  and audio backgrounds of all the continents, coloring and shading with their sound and interpretation depths.”

RAVE REVIEW for the new CD from

We are very happy to share with you our newest “From Spain to Tango” CD review just published at!

” The PJE has to be one of the best, and most convincing, chamber ensembles that feature a guitar in recent years….Works are performed with an incredible rhythmic precision, huge dynamic range, and intensity…The interaction between parts is stunning, and the highly expressive style that Jankovic is known for comes into full spectrum… From Spain to Tango is an amazing CD that will hopefully be marking the beginning of a new era, idiom, and repertoire where the guitar has an established role within chamber music!”

read the full review

From Spain to Tango

 $17.99 plus S&H      

 2012 CD release From Spain to Tango is finally out! The CD explores the music of three countries: Spain, Brazil and Argentina. The CD starts with two dances from De Falla’s ballet El Amor Brujo and opera La Vida Breve, works well-known among both guitar and the violin playing communities as an attractive concert showpieces. They are followed by beautiful lullaby-like Andante, originally composed as a second movement of Sonatina in A-major for guitar solo, and famous Asturias, originally written for piano solo. Anacleto de Medeiros, a Brazilian schottische composed as part of Suite Retratos for two guitars, leads to Paulo Bellinati’s Jongo, a dance and musical genre of black communities from southeast Brazil. The CD closes with three tangos by Astor Piazzolla, an Argentine tango composer and bandoneón player who has revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style named “nuevo tango” by incorporating elements from jazz, classical music and traditional tango music.

Track list:


MANUEL DE FALLA (1876-1946)
From El Amor Brujo
1 Danza Ritual del Fuego
From La Vida Breve
2 Danza Espanola
From Sonatina in A major
3 Andante
ISAAC ALBENIZ (1860-1909)
4 Asturias
5 Anacleto de Medeiros
6 Jongo
7 Primavera Portena
8 Oblivion
9 Tango No 3

Petar’s Leyenda Album Reviewed at Guitar International!

By: Brad Conroy

Petar Jankovic’ Leyenda is an incredible recording that features a mix of standard works by Granados, Villa-Lobos, Albeniz, and Tansman, along with more recent additions to the classical guitar repertoire by Merlin and Dyens. Jankovic is a strong personality on the instrument, who possesses his own unique and distinguished style of playing. As one would expect from such a seasoned performer, his interpretations and performances are solid throughout the album.

Jankovic does not fit neatly into the modern idiom of classical guitar perfection; though he does play the pieces with precision, grace, dynamics, and style. Jankovic has a character to his playing that is reminiscent of artists like Segovia or Bream. He performs as if he is conducting an orchestra, bringing every performance to life with his incredible dynamic palette and knowledge of the instrument and its repertoire.

Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Cinq Preludes” begins the album with Jankovic breathing new life into these oft played pieces with his rhythmic precision, deep sense of expression and obvious admiration for the composer. He manages to avoid playing these pieces too fast, or too slow, which he might have been tempted to do after having played and taught these pieces for many years. It is easy to hear his artistry and mastery of the guitar on these familiar pieces.

“Danza Espanola No. 5″ by Enrique Granados is another one of the many highlights on Leyenda. Jankovics’ personalized approach to the right hand thumb execution can be heard in the opening measures of this piece. Those have seen him perform will know that Jankovic puts his whole arm into the bass notes, giving them an enormous sound that really captures the essence of the guitar with his myriad use of tonal colors. Jankovics’ interpretation of this piece is unique and exciting, providing a new vision of a standard piece.

“Suite del Recuerdo” by Jose Luis Merlin is an example of a newer composition for classical guitar, one that has become a part of the popular repertoire of students and concert guitarists alike. The music itself is strikingly beautiful, with Jankovic giving perhaps the finest interpretation and performance of the opening movement “Evocacion” in recent recorded memory. His interpretation of this suite, alongside the more traditional repertoire, showcases the dexterity of Jankovic’ ability as a performer and his deep knowledge of a wide breadth of the classical guitar anthology.

Jankovic gives an incredible performance on Leyenda with his artistry and individual style putting him in a category with the likes of Segovia and Bream. Jankovic plays with virtuosic precision, grace, expression, and with a unique character to his sound, something that will appeal to both guitarists and non-musicians alike.

Classical Guitar Magazine – Review of Petar’s CD – December 2009 Issue

by Steve Marsh, Classical Guitar Magazine

With this, his third recording, Serbian guitarist Petar Jankovic shows his highly developed technical and musical skills in a programme of very entertaining and contrasting compositions.

Of particular interest in reviewing this CD was hearing the now unfortunately seemingly neglected beautiful miniature masterwork of Alexandre Tansman, Cavatina, here played with all five movements. Jankovic instills a great deal of passion in this rendition and for this reviewer here is the high point of the programme.

Elsewhere everything is top quality, too this player managing to infuse some of these war-horses with new vigor and outlook. All together a very enjoyable and rewarding new release.

Review: Guitarist brings romantic concert to Carson crowd

By JOHN CUTLER / For the Lincoln Journal Star | Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2010

For classical guitarist Petar Jankovic, Saturday night’s concert at the Lied Center’s Johnny Carson Theatre was another chance to innovate and teach.
The young Jankovic, a medalist from several world competitions, demonstrated his embrace of Spanish and Latin-American guitar literature before 240 patrons.
Changing the order of the “Cinq Preludes” of Heitor Villa-Lobos, Jankovic chose to lead off with the first, then played the final four in reverse order.
With extreme accuracy behind his excellent technique, Jankovic showed why he did this. Those familiar with this work came to realize the progression was smooth and in some ways more logical than Villa-Lobos’ sequence.
The Federico Moreno-Torrobba “Sonatina in A major” was done beautifully. Its lovely, Romantic  Andante movement was followed with rapid fingering and fast fretwork on the concluding Allegro.
Jankovic called the “Asturias” of Isaac Albeniz a “war horse” because of its concert popularity among guitarists. But CD enthusiasts would need to go a long way to find a version so well played as Jankovic’s.
Innovation continued after intermission as Jankovic took two movements from the “Suite del Recuredo” of Jose Luis Merlin and inserted Dr. Jorge Cardoso’s “Milonga” between them. The result was a pleasing flow with excellent empathy.
Roland Dyens seemed to write some discord into his “Libra Sonatine”  opening movement, but the house certainly was glued to the ensuing Largo, which Jankovic beautifully pulled through his guitar like taffy.
Three tangos of Astor Piazzolla were last on the bill. The third was a complex work that dealt with the death of an angel, at once sad, then furiously fast a few measures hence.
The crowd gave Jankovic heavy applause on the concert’s conclusion, and the guitarist offered Dyens’ “Tango en Skye” as an encore.

Classical guitarist shows link between artist, instrument

BY KENNETH ROLLINS-Special to The Telegraph

If you attend Thursday’s performance by Petar Jankovic, you will likely encounter more than an evening of classical guitar music.
Jankovic, a soloist, offers much more. His concerts become remarkable studies in the relationship between a musician and his instrument, a connection that creates its own brand of sparks.
Of course, that connection validates Jankovic as an international master. Moreover, he is also a multi-award-winning artist, teaches classical guitar at the Indiana University School of Music and plays as many as 50 concert dates annually.
Through it all, he has acquired a reputation as a gifted translator of a composition’s emotional integrity.
Although he says his upcoming Macon program is a standard repertoire for the Spanish classical guitar, there will be both new and older compositions, which reflect the guitar’s golden age with compositions by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Isaac Albeniz and Federico Moreno-Torroba. Naturally, he will feature selections from his 2008 CD titled “Leyenda.”
“It can be really engaging,” said Jankovic, commenting upon the dynamics of a live performance. “Luckily, I am able to internalize and identify with the music I want to play that is so deep that people can perceive it.”
It is a variation on the immortal conundrum: How can you distinguish the dancer from the dance? “I work to produce that on stage,” he continued. “That is the most important aspect of any performance.”
Jankovic’s acquisition of his hand-crafted Ignacio Fleta guitar might be a tale for the ages, too.
Produced by the famous Spanish guitar maker from Barcelona, the instrument is a fairly new accoutrement for Jankovic, who underwent a 13-year odyssey to identify and then wait for his guitar’s creation.
“It is a rare instrument,” he said. “There is a personal connection with the musician and the instrument you decide to play on. It can take many years to find that.”
The Jankovic concert is the latest presentation by the Macon Concert Association, which has been a Middle Georgia cultural force for 76 years. Before the introduction of the Macon Symphony Orchestra, the association was the primary host of classical music performances. Through a relationship with the Columbia Artists booking agency, the association presented outstanding virtuosos such as Isaac Stern, Izak Pearlman and Jessye Norman, noted Susan Morton, the organization’s secretary.
Quarterly, the association presents small, intimate recitals and concerts in the Burden Parlor in the Olive Swann Porter Student Life Center at Wesleyan College. “The place seems to suit our audiences,” Morton said. “It is gorgeous and the sound is wonderful.”
Thus, it appears Jankovic’s concert may just have all the proper ingredients for an extraordinary musical evening.

Petar Jankovic, guitarist performs at Max Noah

By: Ryan Del Campo

From the first sweet sounding melody his guitar played in the Max Noah Recital Hall, he instantly engaged his audience. He then had them hooked until the last note reverberated through the room.
Petar Jankovic, a professor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, truly puts his soul into music. He displayed his mastery of the classical guitar with a performance of several compositions for GCSU music students, teachers and enthusiasts last Thursday.
The sweet melodic tones he played expressed a broad range of emotions. Each melody had its own story, much like Jankovic.
He began playing guitar at an early age.
“I found my first guitar under the Christmas tree when I was about seven years old,” he said. “It was really only a toy.”
But this toy began his path to study and master many forms of the classical guitar.
“I heard the guitar somewhere and knew that I wanted to study it,” Jankovic said.
Jankovic began his studies at the renowned Music Academy in his home town of Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He earned several awards for his performances, and eventually began to take the first step towards a teaching career when asked to share his musical mastery with other students.
He left Yugoslavia to pursue further education at the Indiana University where he earned an Artist Diploma Degree. He then continued there to teach and has happily stayed at IU while recording and performing.
In his performance at GCSU, Jankovic played a beautiful six-stringed golden Spanish guitar. When asked about how much a similar guitar would cost, he compared it to that of a fine imported car.
Like his guitar, many of the pieces he performed originated from Spanish and Latin culture. These pieces varied from slow sonatas to quick-paced tangos, just as the intensity of sound in each fluctuated.
Jankovic described the fascinating history of one piece, “Libra Sonatine.” He told the audience it was dedicated to the composer’s heart surgeon, and that each of the three movements respectfully represented the time before, during and after surgery. The melodies indeed did have the feel of a heart beating, the sharp sting of the surgery and the return to normalcy.
Freshman Natalie Ricker attended Jankovic’s recital.
“He is a very talented guitarist,” said Ricker. “The style of his music surprised me, but I connected to it because it was unlike anything I had ever heard before.”
During Mr. Jankovic’s performance, the audience’s eyes remained focused on his passionate expressions and his talented hands. Each listener, despite their musical background, understood the depth of his love for music. His dedication should serve as inspiration to students and teachers of music alike.

© Copyright 2009 Colonnade

15 Questions to Petar Jankovic

By Tobias Fischer, published 2008-09-22 at

“I would say the relationship with my Guitar is the same as a samurai feels about his sword”, Petar Jankovic says and he means it. Hardly a day goes by without Jankovic performing live and whenever he’s not on stage, he devotes time to his duties as a faculty member of Jacobs School of Music. It may even be that this philosophical stance towards performance and his restless creativity have kept him from recording more albums. For seven years, he focussed on nothing but establishing an outwardly relentless rhythm of touring. Now, however, he is back with new full-length “leyenda” and already plans for a follow-up in the forseable future. Here, Jankovic presents himself as a classical Guitarist with a serious, thoughtful and yet romantic voice, captured perfectly in the nostalgic production of Peter Nichols. Without a single doubt, “leyenda” sticks out, if only for its program, which eschews the downtrodden paths and makes a point of investigating the sidealleys and backyards of the canon, exploring the music of Jose Luis Merlin, Alexandre Tansman and Roland Dyens, among others, while keeping an eye on the grand masters by including Villa-Lobos, Granados and Albeniz. It is a meditative and minimal world he is delineating, but worth every penny investigated in it, inviting listeners to spend their lonely nights and many pensive moments in it. There’s no a gram of excess fat on this album, though which Jankovic’ Guitar cuts like a samurai sword, flying straight towards the heart of the music.

Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Very well, thank you. I am currently in Europe (Belgrade, Serbia). This is where I usually spend my summer months when I am relaxing.

What’s on your schedule right now?
I have a full season schedule ahead of me. I will be playing throughout the United States. Around 50 concerts from September through May. Even though I just released my new CD in April, I am already working on my next album, which I intend to record sometime late next year.

Can you still remember the first time you heard a piece of classical music?
Yes, it was a soundtrack to a movie. It was a documentary about animals. I cannot remember the title, But the soundtrack at one point was Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz. I was very young, maybe 5 or so, and I remember when the melody developed I sang out so loud that the public in the movie started to clap and laugh. My mother, who took me to the moves, said she was embarrassed and proud at the same time.

What was the deciding moment, which made you want to become an artist?

When I was 15, I was reading Arc de Triomphe by E. M. Remarque, and I was so inspired with the atmosphere in that book that the choice to become the artist was the only one at that time. I had been studying the classical guitar for about 8 years by then and it was the time to decide if I was going to pursue engineering, or music academy. This book, and several others in the same genre, were very decisive factors.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?

I do not see many hard parts about being musician. Maybe travelling, and being often away from the loved ones? That’s probably the hardest part for me. But, the best part is the opportunity to express and share deep emotions on stage with the audience. I really cherish every moment I have the opportunity to do this. It’s a blessing!

Do you consider it important that more young people care for classical music? If so, how, do you think, could this be achieved?
Absolutely! Maybe the best way is to expose them to it. But, with some education, and at the same time to show them the attractive and fun part attached to it. For example, in addition to an evening performance an all-important aspect of my presentation is establishing an open dialogue with your community, especially kids; therefore, I usually offer some type of a lecture-demonstration for kids in local schools. I believe that this type of interaction enhances their understanding and appreciation of the artist’s work and hence builds a stronger relationship with the artist and classical music.

How would you rate the importance of the internet and new media for classical music?

As important as it is for any other type of music! Of course, the big problem with classical music and young generations is that classical music is not presented to them early enough, but also it is not presented to them in the same fashion as other styles. For example, teenagers do not sing classical melodies when showering, or walking, or playing. But they should! No reason why not. The melodies are very pretty. What I want to say, is this: Classical music has this distant- high class -noble veil around it. And that is not particularly appealing to the teenagers. It should be demystified and simplified for the young. I think they would appreciate it much more that way. Therefore, the internet and electronic media can play a big role in it.

With so many different recordings of a particular piece available – how do you keep yours fresh and different?
I do not really try intentionally to make it fresh or different. What happens is that I internalize every piece I play. I try to live through it; attaching my emotions and thoughts to it. Through this kind of very deep and personal filtering, the interpretation of a piece reflects my personality and my emotions. So, it becomes fresh and different by the virtue of this process: of becoming one with a piece of music.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
In my opinion a good live performance requires intense and expressive communication with the audience through the music. An audience should feel inspired after the concert. To achieve this, I invest my entire energy and a whole palette of deepest emotions on stage, and I share them openly with the public. They feel it and they react. They become attentive even to the smallest nuances that I iclude in the music in a performance like this. That’s my approach.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

For me, it means internalization of a given composition. When the artist become one with the piece of music, then he interprets it in the most honest way. Actually he uses the composition as a vehicle to deliver his way of thinking and feeling.

How do you balance the need to put your personal emotions into the music you play and the intentions of the composer?

Intentions of the composer, or we can also say “proper style of playing” for a particular composition is a set framework within which I operate. It’s like giving a title and very basic guidelines to the writer, and then ask him to write a story. He has to follow the title and guidelines, but he uses his imagination, experience and emotions to write a very unique and personal story. I feel like this writer.

What’s your view on the relationship between musical education and classical music?

I believe musical education should be applied only through classical music. I feel they should be very much interlaced.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
This a difficult question that requires a longer answer. It poses the same dilemma when I choose my own program. To try to answer it shortly: I would certainly first analyze and study the community, and see what they want to hear. Then, I would see what I think they should hear, and then I would balance it, so it has both parts well related and well paced throughout the season. Putting a successful program, or a season is a difficult task. It requires a lot of trying, testing, and studying. What you need to do is to combine what people expect to hear with the new and progressive (in my opinion as the artist or director) compositions that change the taste and direction of the public in the proper way (again in my opinion).

How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?
Very intense. My guitar (Fleta) inspires me to become a better artist. It’s almost like a living being. I would even go as far to say that the relationship is the same as a samurai feels about his sword. It’s very philosophical.

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?

Not really. I was always focused on a classical guitar. I started as a kid (at age of 7). I played a little bit in a local garage band (electric base), but that was only a short flint with rock.

Classical Guitar Magazine – Review of Petar’s CD – March 2008 Issue

“Romantico” – 1998
After listening and reviewing many CDs of late which have featured non standard guitar music ie. seldom heard pieces or ultra – modern works by contemporary composers, it came as a much needed breath of fresh air to sit, listen and savour the lovely performance Petar Jankovic gives on this self release CD Rent -a- programme it may be, but when old favorites are played as well as this, then it matters not.
Jankovic has thought through the phrases carefully and his high technical ability enables him to do exactly what he wants to do with the music, which for the majority of the time is execeedingly musical. If  you already have most of this material in your recording collection this CD is still worth checking out and at six minutes over an hour length this is a generous offer.

Steve Marsh
Classical Guitar Magazine

Classical Guitar Magazine – Review of Petar’s CD – March 2008 Issue

“Bogdanovic” – 2001
This is the second recording to be released by the Yugoslavian guitarist Petar Jankovic and although most of works on this programme receive regular outings by other players this album is less of a ‘popular’ set then his first recording.
Once again, this player delivers the goods in great style, his playing ability is well up to all the demands asked for from this music and he proves many times in the performances which he gives on this disc that he not only has the technique for the high drama, but he also displays his sensitive nature many times during theis 60 minute programme.

Steve Marsh

Classical Guitar Magazine

Guitarist communicates emotions through classical music

by Jenna Sprattler,The Pointer

Reverberating sounds of a guitar were all that could be heard in Michelsen Hall Tuesday evening, as Petar Jankovic plucked at his six-string.
Stories were communicated from the artist to his audience through expressive renditions from a handful of the greatest musical masterpieces ever written.
The classical guitarist, a native of Yugoslovia, began his musical career at the age of seven. He doesn’t remember exactly what prompted his desire to play, just that he was born to do so.
Eventually, Jankovic developed his art at the Music Academy in Belgrade. Afterward, he continued his education, earning a master’s degree from Indiana University School of Music, where he stayed and launched a teaching career.
A wide range of styles were evident throughout the hour that he played. The majority of classical guitar music stems from South America and Spain, he said.
“I play all styles with classical guitar,” Jankovic said. “I prefer to play from romantic and contemporary periods.”
He feels the most inspired while performing on a concert stage and is content with practicing in any area, from hotel rooms to office spaces or wherever there are “the least distractions you can have.”
His technique was flawless, and he played with great ease. The staccatos, scale runs and vibrato action added to his sensational narrative performance.
Brock Wojtalewicz, an English as a second language instructor, brought twelve of his students to the performance. He wanted to introduce them to something out of the ordinary.
“It was quite amazing,” he said. “I was truly impressed.”
Jankovic has acquired numerous prestigious awards throughout his career and is known all over the world for his beautiful art.
The preludes of Heitor Villa-Lobos and the tangos of Astor Piazzolla were played. The “Libra Sonatine” by Roland Dyens had been written for the composer’s heart surgeon with each movement representing the emotions had before, during and after surgery, explained Jankovic before he gave his artistic interpretation.
“It’s really wonderful that we have artists of this caliber coming to UW-SP,” Wojtalewicz said. “I think our community is really fortunate.”


“…Finally–to crown a remarkable concert of intimate but powerful music–the audience found itself treated to what some musicologists recognize as the most frequently performed concerto of all:  Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez,” for Guitar and Orchestra, with soloist Petar Jankovic.
The soloist’s realization proved rather “secco,” or “sec,” or “dry,” like a superior champagne, in a slight departure from the fierily impassioned, magma-like renditions one often hears.  That a great number of various approaches to realizing this faultless music compliments both the composer and his interpreters.  A weak work–at the hands of either a composer or a performer–will permit but one, only, approach to itself.  But any bona fide master of his/her instrument, such as Jankovic, will bring out the heart and truth of a great composition, as was so in this case.
Nothing fascinated the ear, or gratified it, also, more than to hear cadenza passages played “secco” instead of “inflammatus.”  It worked splendidly, and lent just the right intimacy and good taste borne up in the “intimate” Beethoven, and the exquisite, bijou overtures.
A remarkable concert, indeed, and a merciful break in a harsh, long winter, the night seemed washed in a rush of vernal greens and golds”.

Harvey Hess, Critic
Wartburg Symphony

Music into emotion: Professional classical guitarist performs in Shawnee OK

By April Wilkerson – The Oklahoman
November 2, 2007

Jankovic brings a wealth of musical and life experiences to the stage from his childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia, to his stint as a street musician in Europe, to his current position as college professor and performer. But daily practice and public performances are still the essence of who he is. Each time he picks up his guitar, he’s seeking to make an emotional connection with those who are listening.

“I try really intently to start feeling certain things when I play, and if I can impress that on an audience, I think that’s a successful connection,” Jankovic said in a recent phone interview. “After all, art is an emotional connection between the artist and the person on the other end.”

Although the phenomenon of musical expressiveness may be difficult to explain, its effect on the listener is profound. Jankovic describes the guitar as a delicate instrument whose sounds command the listener’s attention.

“The instrument itself, from the first note, forces the audience to listen to it. It’s a smaller sound than the piano or an orchestra,” he said. “Segovia (Andrs Segovia, Spanish classical guitarist) said the guitar speaks more with the silence between the notes than with the notes themselves.

“It’s a very expressive instrument. You’re producing the sounds with your fingers. There is no bow or other mechanism. The smallest nuances are heard.”

Jankovic’s journey toward becoming a professional guitarist has been compelling. He began studying guitar at age 8 in his native Yugoslavia, and he later earned a degree in classical guitar from the Music Academy in Belgrade. But it was a troublesome time in his war-torn country, and it became hard to survive financially, he said. Inflation was unbelievable, he said, and it was difficult to earn enough money to survive a whole day, let alone a whole month.

So Jankovic decided to go to Europe and become a street musician. In addition to giving him a glimpse into Renaissance musical times, that period developed Jankovic into a better performer with a better perspective, he said.

“When you play on the street, you are an entertainer, first and foremost,” he said. “It contributed to some toughness that I needed. The term ‘street smarts,’ I literally used.   “But it also helped me understand the role of an artist. Sometimes an artist starts thinking too much of himself, and the arts are connected to higher social levels. But the very core of the arts is entertaining and inspiring people for everyday life. That was the good that I took from it. It gave me a better perspective of understanding quite well what the role of the artist is.”
Classical guitarist Petar Jankovic will perform Tuesday evening in Shawnee. He plays 30-50 concerts a year.

Jankovic’s career soon progressed from street musician to acceptance into the master’s degree program at the Indiana University School of Music in America. In the mid-1990s, the IU School of Music invited Jankovic to pursue the esteemed Artist Diploma Degree under the guidance of Maestro Ernesto Bitetti. Since then, he has developed a guitar program at Franklin College in Indiana, in 1997, and he is currently a faculty member at the Indiana University School of Music. He said he has the best of both worlds performing 30 to 50 concerts a year and sharing with college students his own passion and experience with the guitar.

This will be Jankovic’s first time to perform in Oklahoma, he said. The first part of his concert will be devoted to classical guitar works, while the second half will feature newer works, including a French composer’s piece dedicated to the heart doctor who saved his life. The music will speak to variety, from the romantic Latin American sounds to his concluding piece, a tango.

The pieces he’s performing on tour now will likely make their way to his third CD, which he’ll record soon, he said. His other two CDs are “Romantico,” focusing on the sounds of the Spanish and Latino-American world, and “Bogdanovic, Brouwer, Dyens,” featuring works by the most prominent classical guitar composers.

Dr. Paul Hammond, dean of OBU’s College of Fine Arts, said both college students and the public will enjoy Jankovic’s performance and conversation.

“We are pleased to present an artist of Mr. Jankovic’s stature,” Hammond said. “He is a faculty member at one of the world’s finest music schools, and his program will be a delight for our students and community patrons.”


By: Shannon Witter October 3, 2007 Wheaton Wire

The Wheaton community was treated to the musical talents of classical guitarist, Petar Jankovic, on Thursday, September 27. The performance was held in Mary Lyon Hall, an intimate setting in which nearly forty guests, encompassing a range of ages, had the opportunity to form a close connection with the artist. The tiny room, complete with couches and paintings, was the perfect setting for such a recital; every note reverberated off the walls with melodic entirety, ringing long after a piece was completed.

Jankovic played an array of traditional classical guitar selections, often pausing in between numbers to tune his guitar amongst the echoes of the room. Throughout the performance, Jankovic remained completely immersed in his music, captivating the audience with his intricate finger work and remarkable grasp of rhythm.

The most extraordinary aspect of the performance was how, by paying careful attention to the volume and speed of each piece, Jankovic was able to convey a wide spectrum of emotion through his music. Some songs were upbeat and celebratory, with a Spanish sound and deep staccato rhythms, whereas other songs were rather supernatural, an effect Jankovic achieved by vibrating his hand over the neck of the guitar.

Many of these pieces were like soothing lullabies that gently assisted the audience in escaping from a hectic day. One selection entitled “Libra Sonatine,” by Roland Dyens, was Jankovic’s most modern piece, and was composed in 1986. Dedicated to Dyen’s heart surgeon, the song follows the course of the composer’s surgery after suffering a heart attack. It begins slow and melancholy, as the patient slips under anesthesia, and then suddenly becomes intense as the first incision is made. The last movement, “Fuoco,” meaning “Fighter,” is characterized by melodic pulses signifying the beating of a heart and blood throbbing through veins.

Jankovic, who is originally from Yugoslavia, began his guitar studies at age eight. He graduated from the renowned Music Academy in Belgrade and pursued a prestigious Artist Diploma Degree at the Indiana University School of Music, where he is currently a faculty member. Since the beginning of his professional music career, Jankovic has been honored with many esteemed awards, including two gold medals from the National Music Competition and an Indiana University Graduate Top Strings Award. He now plays over thirty concerts a season and has received global acclaim for his talents. Those who attented Jankovic’s performance were sure to feel truly lucky that they had the oppourtunity to partake in this musical show.


Borislav Hlozan, Music critic, Dnevnik, Novi Sad, Serbia

Our prominent guitarist Petar Jankovic, a native of Belgrade who has been successfully building a performing career in the US for more than a decade, played a concert as part of the Novi Sad Summer Concert Series. It is not surprising that this recital drew a large audience, who had a great opportunity to enjoy an outstanding musical performance.

…Jankovic’s recital was a stunning guitar performance charged with extraordinary artistic energy. The concert revealed unique performing qualities of this outstanding soloist-his interpretations were characterized by musically powerful performing abilities, refined and spontaneous expressiveness, as well as a full-bodied, rich, and brilliant sound, which kept the audience spellbound despite somewhat dubious acoustic quality of the concert hall.

…Jankovic’s measured, subtly nuanced interpretation of the famous Villa-Lobos’ preludes sounded intimate and exciting, with its complex intermingling of translucent, highly poetic passages and virtuosic, playful sections, full of rhythm typical of Brazilian folk dances. What followed was F. M. Torroba’s melodious Mediterranean sonatina, which Jankovic performed in a vehement artistic manner, so  that it sounded refreshing and sharply articulated. This block was concluded with Albeniz’s captivating, mellifluous Mallorca.

…Jankovic’s introduction gave Dyens’ composition a new dramatic dimension and a suggestive immediacy, which he then translated into a brilliant, virtuosically precise interpretation.

…At the end of the recital (which was, by the way, played without a pause, in the best tradition of the enormous programs of the greatest guitar players of the twentieth century), having concluded it with his energetic performance of Astor Piazzolla’s tangos, after standing ovations and repeated calls for an encore, Jankovic’s delighted audience had the final pleasure of listening to Albeniz’s famous Asturias and Jorge Cardoso’s Milonga.


September 13, 2007

Guitarist Petar Jankovic is not afraid to take on popular classical works.

“Afraid” may sound like a misnomer, but Jankovic said that some of his colleagues have asked him why he includes classical standards in his repertoire.

Musicians can develop esoteric tastes, or focus on little-known but contemporary works. In fact, Jankovic will play “Libra Sontaine” by the contemporary French composer Roland Deyen during his concert Sept. 24 at Assumption College. But also on the program will be works by the beloved Heitor Villa Lobos, the beautiful “Mallorca” by Isaac Albeniz, and “Three Tangos” by Astor Piazzolla, one of the greatest Tango composers of the 20th century.

“Sometimes it takes more courage (to play popular woks),” the Yugoslavian-born Jankovic said. “For me, it’s like an actor tackling Shakespeare. That’s how he shows what he’s made of. They’re there not because they’re easy to play. They’re there because they’re good artistic works.”

Jankovic, 38, has been showing what he is made of as a guitarist since making his professional debut at the age of 16. He has been described as a “rising star” in the classical world, with the Venezuelan composer Luis Zea calling him “a natural poet” of the guitar.

The guitarist sees himself on a mission to “expose people to art.” Playing a standard work at the beginning of a concert can “really create a very good feeling for an enjoyable evening, I hope,” he said. Then when he introduces new works “it communicates very well for the audience.

Now based in the United States, Jankovic teaches at the Indiana University School of Music.

He grew up in Belgrade and had no musical background to speak of, although he said that his late grandfather was a bishop in the Orthodox church. He started playing the guitar when he was 7, and although he picked up an electric guitar as a teenager, he continued with his classical guitar studies. But he was also a good mathematics student, and at high school was torn between pursuing math or music. “I never knew which.”

Then, “suddenly” he did. “I decided suddenly that’s what I’m going to do. They say it’s a calling. It was a brief moment during one summer. It was more of a lifestyle decision. At least that was my image of it. My family accepted that.”

He graduated from the Music Academy in Belgrade and went on to study and teach at Indiana University.

Jankovic is a full-time performer, ranging from 30 to 50 recitals a year. But he considers teaching an important part of that lifestyle. Teaching and performing “feed each other,” he said. “You see what listeners expect. You learn how a listener needs to be touched by a performer. It relaxes me when I teach, especially when the students are talented. I tell the students I’m not teaching, I’m sharing experience.”

Jankovic, who is married with two young children, feels right at home in the U.S. He did from the start. “The United States. Australia and Canada are probably the only countries where you feel at home when you land there. … No matter where you come from you are treated pretty much as equal. Europe really does not have that kind of openness. Here I really felt welcomed as soon as I arrived.”

But this summer he gave an extensive concert tour of Europe. Asked about the differences between Europe and the U.S. with regard to the classical music scene, he noted that here presenters, groups and institutions tend to be privately owned and supported by the community. “Communities organize very well. They take pride in supporting the community. In Europe it is more state driven. If the economy goes bad, things (for the arts) can go bad.”

As a solo performer in the U.S. he said he’s had experiences he probably would not have had in Europe. Here, he’s gone to perform in small towns that may have only one traffic light. Such was the case with one town he visited in Kentucky. After his recital there, Jankovic said a farmer told him he had never been to a classical concert before. “He said he heard about it on the radio and thought, ‘why not?’ ” The farmer then told Jankovic “I enjoyed it a lot.”

“I don’t think it’s happening like that in Europe,” Jankovic said.

“Our role as performing artists is to expose people to the arts. Here I still feel I’m doing pioneering work in cities and rural areas. I think art makes everyone better.”

Guitarist brings romantic concert to Carson crowd

By JOHN CUTLER / For the Lincoln Journal Star | Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2010

For classical guitarist Petar Jankovic, Saturday night’s concert at the Lied Center’s Johnny Carson Theatre was another chance to innovate and teach.

The young Jankovic, a medalist from several world competitions, demonstrated his embrace of Spanish and Latin-American guitar literature before 240 patrons.

Changing the order of the “Cinq Preludes” of Heitor Villa-Lobos, Jankovic chose to lead off with the first, then played the final four in reverse order.

With extreme accuracy behind his excellent technique, Jankovic showed why he did this. Those familiar with this work came to realize the progression was smooth and in some ways more logical than Villa-Lobos’ sequence.

The Federico Moreno-Torrobba “Sonatina in A major” was done beautifully. Its lovely, Romantic  Andante movement was followed with rapid fingering and fast fretwork on the concluding Allegro.

Jankovic called the “Asturias” of Isaac Albeniz a “war horse” because of its concert popularity among guitarists. But CD enthusiasts would need to go a long way to find a version so well played as Jankovic’s.

Innovation continued after intermission as Jankovic took two movements from the “Suite del Recuredo” of Jose Luis Merlin and inserted Dr. Jorge Cardoso’s “Milonga” between them. The result was a pleasing flow with excellent empathy.

Roland Dyens seemed to write some discord into his “Libra Sonatine”  opening movement, but the house certainly was glued to the ensuing Largo, which Jankovic beautifully pulled through his guitar like taffy.

Three tangos of Astor Piazzolla were last on the bill. The third was a complex work that dealt with the death of an angel, at once sad, then furiously fast a few measures hence.

The crowd gave Jankovic heavy applause on the concert’s conclusion, and the guitarist offered Dyens’ “Tango en Skye” as an encore.