November Staff Spotlight: Jovan Zivkovic
Jovan Zivkovic joined Kids’ Orchestra in September 2013 as an orchestra conductor and currently serves as Artistic Director.
Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Jovan Zivkovic holds a doctoral degree in Orchestral Conducting from Louisiana State University. He currently holds the position of Director of Orchestras at Kids Orchestra in Baton Rouge and is the Conductor of Marigny Opera House in New Orleans and the Assistant Conductor of Louisiana Sinfonietta.
Jovan received his musical training at the University of Arts in Belgrade, where he obtained a Bachelor of Music Degree in Conducting. His professors include Stanko Sepic, Jorma Panula, Uros Lajovic, Julian Shew, Eugene Sirotkine, and Carlos Riazuelo. He has attended masterclasses with Dorian Wilson, Lutz Koehler, Peter Ettrup Larsen , James Setapen, Gustav Meier, Jorge Mester, JoAnn Falletta, Marcus Lehtinen, Victor Yampolsky and Erin Freeman among others. He has also been nominated for numerous awards including the prestigious Conductors Guild 2011 Thelma A. Robinson Scholarship Award, sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC).
Jovan was a Music Director of Pascan Youth Philharmonic, Belgrade, Assistant Conductor of Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra and Assistant Conductor of Rapides Symphony Orchestra. He has also conducted Kappu Bandi, The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and The Royal College of Music in Stockholm Symphony Orchestra.
We asked Jovan to share a few things about himself to help us get to know him better.
What drew you to Kid’s Orchestra originally? And how has Kids’ Orchestra changed since?
Kid’s Orchestra is unlike any other non-profit organization related to music education in Baton Rouge. Its unique vision of creating social change through music is what drew me to the program and despite its remarkable growth in the last few years (over 800 students!) I’m pleased that Kid’s Orchestra remains true to its purpose.
What is your proudest moment at Kids’ Orchestra?
It is hard to pick just one moment. But, if I had to pick one it would have to be every time we play a concert. Knowing that I had a small part in making children happy and parents even happier makes me feel very proud.
The combination of happy children and proud parents proves how important our work is and establishes Kids Orchestra as an essential part of the Baton Rouge community.
Any random facts you could share with us?
I love mountains and snow. Skiing is my favorite sport and I try to spend at least a couple of days every year enjoying it. My favorite ski resort in the US is ALTA near Salt Lake City, Utah.
What would people never guess you do in your role?
The common understanding is that the main role of an Orchestra Conductor/Artistic Director is to conduct concerts. The truth is that most of my time is spent in preparation, which includes: maintaining lists and spreadsheets, working with Teaching Artists to make sure that all the students are ready for the task, and collaborating with my colleagues in the Program Department to ensure that all the students are informed and that all the logistics are taken care of. The concert is a result of a team effort and for that, we have an “all hands on deck” policy. Therefore, I have been seen moving stands and chairs, organizing students, cleaning the stage, working with parents, sweeping floors, and giving interviews to the media, all in one day!