Conclusion of "Medimus" International Medieval Music Festival held in the atrium of the Church of Christ the Savior in Prizren
The fourth Medimus International Medieval Music Festival took place from August 23-25, 2019 in Prizren. This festival is one of the most significant exhibitions of historical music in Serbia in recent years, and takes place in the wonderful atmosphere provided by the atrium of the 14th century Church of the Holy Savior. The festival is organized jointly by the Friends of Holy Archangels Monastery and the Cultural Center in Gračanica, with the support of the Serbian Government’s Office for Kosovo and Metohija, TV Hram (an Orthodox television network in Serbia), and with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Raška-Prizren, who formally opened this year’s festival.
According to festival director Bojan Babić, “the Medimus Festival is truly international and this year there were five groups, among others, who came from Hungary and Greece. There was also a combined Festival Ensemble which had members from Slovenia and Germany, along with people from Serbia.” The Festival began with a performance by the Medimus ensemble, which was conceived of as the beginnings of a future summer academy. Following their performance the first evening was a Hungarian group called Muzika profana.
On Saturday August 24th, the world renowned Greek Byzantine Choir from Athens performed. This choir is especially known for being founded and led for many years by the departed Lykourgos Angelopoulos. Their performance was then followed by an ensemble from Belgrade, Renaissance, which celebrates its 50th year of existence this year.
The last evening of the Festival, August 25th, included a performance by Hyperborea, which performed a set of Byzantine, Uralic, Russian, and Black Sea musical pieces.
The Festival is of great importance not only for the Serbs remaining in Prizren and in Kosovo, but for the whole region. The idea for the Festival began with a desire to make use of the unique space in the atrium of the medieval church of the Holy Savior in Prizren, situated on the hill beneath the city’s ancient fortress. Centuries ago, Prizren was the capital of Emperor Dušan’s Serbian Empire, and this fortress was his seat. Thus, there was a desire to bring back the feel of the medieval Serbian court through the sounds of medieval instruments, costumes, songs, and dances, hosting musicians from all over Europe as had been the practice at Dušan’s court as well. At the same time, one of the organizers’ goals was to promote the truly European and cosmopolitan character of medieval Serbian Orthodox culture, which has been preserved in this region, and to present Prizren as a city in which members of many different ethnic groups can find a common language in art and culture.