Serbian born, New York City based violinist Marija Kovačević works in classical, experimental and improvised music and theater. She has a B.M and M.M degrees in Violin Performance from Fakultet Muzičkih Umetnosti in Belgrade, Serbia.
Music for Broken Violins While working as a violin teacher at the Brooklyn Music School in 2020, Kovačević came upon a storage closet full of broken violins and took them home, imagining that the discarded instruments might have an afterlife as an installation for experimentation by non-musicians. Playing around with them herself, she soon discovered a heterogeneous world of rich sounding potential within the unpredictable, once-precious objects. Learning how to work with and from each broken violin and bow, Kovačević has since developed an idiosyncratic vocabulary of dragging strings, playing cracks, bowing broken bodies, wrapping loose hair, and creaking pegs. In performance, there is a minimalist, ritualistic structure to her unembellished studies, as each instrument is approached in procession, with silence in between each visceral deviance from the accepted technical norms. In addition to three volumes of Music for Broken Violins, Kovačević’s broken violins also appear on a duo cassette with Thierry Müller. Adrian Rew, Ergot Records
Selections from Volumes 1 and 2 of Music for Broken Violins were recently featured on BBC Radio 3’s “Freeness” and “Late Junction” programs. BBC Radio 3's "Freeness" has also commissioned a "Peace Piece" from Marija, improvised especially for their programme. Beyond New York, the project has traveled internationally to Stari Grad, Croatia, Paris, France and Sun Tunnels, Utah.
Push Broken Duet with Roro Perrot released on Chocolate Monk choc.598
A Rainy Afternoon Near Paris, a 7 part collaboration with Thierry Müller.
BUKA, a violin duo founded with Aimée Niemann, where the limits of violin-based sonic practice are stretched through the incorporation of modified violins, electronics, and extended techniques. They released a four part recording spanning four seasons.
Huvudbry Recordings with Hampus Öhman-Frölund (drums) and Kyle Forester (bass).
The Million Underscores, an experimental theater company under the artistic direction of Nicolas Noreńa and Timothy Scott.
PAST AND CURRENT COLLABORATORS:
The Talking Band, The Million Underscores, Hamish Kilgour, Michael Evans, Blue Gene Tyranny, Aimée Niemann, Hampus Öhman-Frölund, Quentin Rollet, Paul Collins, Romain Vomir Pierrot, Thierry Müller, Stéphanie Briand, Philippe Desclais, ZARAZ WAM ZAGRAM, Nicolas Noreña, Timothy Scott, Hannah Gross, Erin Mullin, Geo Kester, Alesando Magania, Yuki Kawahisa, Rebecca Bird, Danny Tunick, Gary Olson, Kyle Forester, Eric Farber, Brian Turner, Pedro Giraudo, Emillio Solla, Nick Danielson, Pablo Aslan, Daniel Binelli, Adrian Crowley, Willie Colon, Ibo Cooper, Jesse Perlstein, Sam Kulik...
Marija has performed at The Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall, The Museum of Modern Art, MoMa PS1, Artist Space, Roulette Intermedium, Shift 411, Museo del Barrio, La MaMa Theater, The Jewish Museum, The Brick Theater, Target Margin Theater, The Exponential Festival, American Museum of Natural History, Symphony Space, Performance Space New York etc. as well as Broken Impro and Le Non_Jazz in Paris. Her music was featured on BBC Radio 3 "Freeness", "Late Junction", "Brian Turner Show" and WFMU's "Strength Through Failure".
"That's a fascinating example of improvising with timbre. In the piece we just heard the notes stay relatively the same but it's that sameness that then draws the ear into other elements that are changing so we hear the onset of the bows with the violins, where we hear those bits of grain, where the bow touches the strings and the creaking of the instruments themselves just make that a really absorbing piece to listen to over a long period. It's a drone but it's constantly shifting and those small elements create a warp and a weft to the fabric of the sound." Corey Mwamba, BBC Radio 3, Freeness
"Here she is dragging a grate in and tinkling sound from the instrument reminds me that for all its history and potential for beauty, a violin is just an object and a bit of technology after all." Jennifer Lucy Allan, BBC Radio 3, Late Junction
"Under Kovačević’s treatments, a broken violin comes to seem less like a violin that has seen better days than another sort of instrument altogether, a species that scuttled off the evolutionary train and bred shamelessly under a bridge. Violins are all alike, but each of Kovačević’s broken violins seems to be broken in its own mysterious way, and is uniquely capable for it. By letting these instruments come as they are, Kovačević implies a sustainable practice with none of the sentimentality. They are not what they once were, but they have to keep going." Jennifer Gersten, Which Sinfonia