Jovan Kolundžija was born in Belgrade, where he graduated from the Belgrade Academy of Music under Professor Peter Toškov and continued his post-graduate studies with Professor Henryk Szeryng, becoming his favorite disciple. During his remarkable career, he gave over four thousand concerts at home and all over the world. Jovan Kolundžija has established the Guarnerius Centre for Fine Arts in Belgrade, named after the Guarnerius violin from 1754, on which he has been playing for three decades. Beside his concert career, he is dedicated to promotion and further education of young talents at Guarnerius Art Centre, the most exclusive chamber hall in Belgrade. Since its founding in 2001, this institution organized more then 850 programs. In the year 2013, Guarnerius Art Centre was, by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, given the status of the Cultural institution of national importance.
Numerous awards and prizes testify to his high artistic achievements, both at home and abroad, most notably:
-Special Diploma at the Wieniawski International Competition in Poznan,1967
-First Prize at the competition for Young Yugoslav Violinists in Zagreb, 1969
-Diploma at the Jacques Thibault Competition in Paris, 1969
-Special Diploma at the Carl Flesh Competion in London, 1970
-First prize at the Sabre Marroquin Competition in Mexico, 1971
-Second prize at the International Youth Competition in Belgrade, 1971
-The Award of the Association of Yugoslav Composers – Belgrade, 1971
-October Award of the City of Belgrade for the best vocational and scientific student works, 1988
-Award of the Hungarian Television – Budapest 1971
-„Ivo Tijardović“ award for numerous interpretations of supreme quality – Zagreb, 1977
-„Golden Lyra“ (the highest Yugoslav artistic award ever received by a musician) for the concert achievements between two congresses 1974- 1979
- Awards for the most successful Belgrade concerts in 1977,1978,1979 and 1986, recieved from the Association of Musicians
-Orlando Award, for the best concert at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in 1982
-October Award of the City of Belgrade, for the most valuable achievement in the field of music, 1988
-Gramme of the Patriarch of Serbia Mr. Pavle, 2002
-The „Golden Beočug“ Award for permanent contribution to culture of Belgrade, 2006
-April Award, received from the City of Belgrade, for music and theatre music, 2007
-The Plaque of the City of Sarajevo, 2007
-Awarded Performer of the Year by „Muzika Klasika“ magazine
-Award Manager of the Year in the field of culture, given by the Serbian Association of Economic Journalists, 2014
-Republic recognition “Kapetan Miša Anastasijević” for the world affirmation of Serbian music culture, 2014
-„Vuk Award“ for a long-term contribution to development of the Serbian culture, 2014
Extraordinary endeavours, rarely accomplished because they are exceptionally demanding:
In 1994, as a soloist, Maestro Kolundžija has performed a program „The Magnificent Ten“, consisting of ten different concertos by various composers, in only four days with St. George Strings and Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. The end of 2008 was marked by another masterful endeavour of Jovan Kolundžija. He performed a program „Do You Love Beethoven“ consisting of complete opus of Beethoven’s sonatas for solo violin and piano, during four successive days. In 2009, Kolundžija performed a program „Bravissimo Maestro Mozart!“, consisting of 15 Mozarts sonatas during four days, accompanied by four different pianists. In 2010, Jovan Kolundžija had enclosed the idea of performing the entire sonata opus of great composers. Project „In the Honour of the Great Brahms“ brought to us all the Bramhs sonatas for violin and piano.
Tours- He has performed many times in Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, India, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Peru, South Korea, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lethonia, Estonia, Spain, United Kingdom, Venezuela, USA, Germany, China, Thailand, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia…
Festivals- Salzburg, Berlin, Evian, The Prague Spring, Bratislava Musical Festivities, Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Ljubljana Festival, Emilia Romagna, Belgrade Music Festival, The Ohrid Summer Festival, Cervantino, Malar (Sweden), Llívia (Spain) etc.
He had played with many respectable artists: Henryk Szerying, Aldo Ciccolini, Alexis Weissenberg, Lovro Matačić, Václav Smetáček, Oskar Danon, Alexis Hauser, Veronika Dudarova, Ken-ichiro Kobayashi, Hans Peter Frank, Yevgeni Svetlanov, Carlo Zecchi, Siztin Ehrling, Pavle Dešpalj, Živojin Zdravković, Milan Horvat, Mladen Jagušt, Sheldon Morgenstern etc.
Kolundžija performed in the most famous concert halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, Gaveau in Paris, „Georges Enescu“ Philharmonic Concert Hall in Bucharest, Santa Cecilia in Rome, Beas Artes in Mexico City, Gevand Haus in Leipzig, Dvořák Concert Hall. He has also played in St. Jeronimos in Portugal and many other cathedrals and churches of the world.
Maestro Kolundžija has also participated in special concerts organized by UNESO in Belgrade and Paris.He is a member of FIAM – UNESCO and he was a guest of Jacques Chancels show, the most famous TV show in Paris.
Kolundžija has done numerous recordings which were broadcasted by many international TV and radio stations. He has more than 300 hours of recorded programs for RTS alone and gave many benefit concerts.
“ Jovan has the inborn qualities which cannot be learnt or taught. By this, I mean the quality of the sound, the warmth, the humane approach to music, the feeling for style. He is a happy combination of heart and spirit… He reaches the highest peaks of performing art….An exceptionally brilliant international career lies ahead of him…” (Henryk Szeryng)
“…We admired the great command and the fire of your performance, your mastery of projection and unique conception…” (Yehudi Menuhin)
“ His future career promises to be spectacular”. (Alexis Weissenberg)
“…A great interpreter who achieved a complete triumph…” (La Coruna, Spain)
“…A talent which appears once in hundred years…” (Vjesnik, Zagreb)
“...his Brahms was magnificent...« (Pravda, Bratislava)
“…His talent unites strict musicality with virtuosity…” (Tagesspiegel, Berlin)
“….Incredible maturity, incredible perfection, and exceptional intuitive mobility…” (Smena, Bratislava)
“Unusual high romantic style of interpretation and good looking appearance of Slavic Robert Redford completed the picture of a perfect artist. Kolundžija brought us back to the “golden age” style of romantic way of interpretation” (Richmond Times – Dispatch)
“…A virtuoso violinist…“ (Arbeiter Zeitung, Vienna)
“…And finally, the Yugoslav music miracle, violinist Jovan Kolundzija, one of those that rarely appear…” (Vjesnik, Zagreb)
“…Unforgettable…“ (Politika Ekspres, Belgrade)
“…Kolundzija played Tartini with sense of excitement…” (New York Times, New York)
“…Alive, elegant and exceptional, Jovan Kolundzija seduced Paris audience at the Gaveau Hall the other night…” (Le Parisien, Paris)
“…The ingenious Ambassador of Yugoslav music…” (Sol De Mexico, Mexico City)
“His art in performing on violin represents a kind of mission in our Country, his charismatic personality brought to concert halls an amazing audience and thousand of admirers, many children decided to play on violin thanks to him. His art represents more than the performance itself, more than one concert and on performance – represents art mission…” (part of justification by the Committee of the City Belgrade at rewarding Kolundžija in 2007.)
“…We listened to Jovan Kolundžija, maestro from Serbia, who has got all the prizes that could be won, with more than 4000 concerts all over the world …The sound that Maestro creates on his Guarneri, is so wonderful, sweet, humble … In the hands of a great master Kolundžija, Guarneri “attacks” the compositions, and the execution is a masterpiece! Kolundžija shows virtuosity at the highest level: the speed and complexity, clean and clear sound…I have never attended an event that agitated the audience so much…” (Manuela Cortezi, Emilia Romagna Festival 2013)
“Jovan Kolundžija – an artist for all times! Altough it looks like he was born with a violin, it seems that he would become a great artist even playing a comb. The great Schering called him a „unique jewel“, admiring to the tenderness of his sound and a sense for style, always with personal touch to each performance!” (Gordana Krajačić, Književne Novine 2013)