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CAUGHT UNAWARES

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HOWARD SMITH listens to Serbian pianist
Sonja Radojkovic in New Zealand

 

Last month, when Serbian pianist Sonja Radojkovic came to New Zealand, unknown and largely unheralded, she liked all she saw and she conquered provincial audiences in four memorable recitals.

Sonja Radojkovic standing near to New Zealand native bush in Taumaranui. Photo © 2003 Howard Smith
Sonja Radojkovic standing near to New Zealand native bush in Taumaranui. Photo © 2003 Howard Smith

Thirty four-year-old Radojkovic was the first classical artist here from the former Yugoslavia since hostilities in the Balkans diminished; and seasoned Kiwi music lovers were unprepared for her on-stage charm and vehement, poetic musicianship.

Sonja Radojkovic performing at the Wel Energy Performing Arts Centre (Steinway), Waikato University, Hamilton. Photo © 2003 Howard Smith
Sonja Radojkovic performing at the Wel Energy Performing Arts Centre (Steinway), Waikato University, Hamilton. Photo © 2003 Howard Smith

At Masterton, the smallest centre in which she performed, the pianist received a spontaneous ovation; an accolade seldom, if ever seen there before. In Palmerston North to the west, the respected critic called her 'one of the great artists of our time', and in Hamilton enthusiastic well-wishers presented her with flowers -- Russian style -- from the audience. On the sunny east coast, at Napier, beside the Pacific, the reviewer was positively glowing in his praise of Radojkovic's technical command.

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Copyright © 21 September 2003 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand

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