First Belgrade Choral Society
- Tatjana Marković
The first Serbian choral society in Serbia proper, founded in 1853 as the Belgrade Choral Society (Beogradsko pevačko društvo, henceforth BCS), renamed in 1929 as the First BCS. Working under the auspices of the royal family Obrenović, it was originally a male choir, later a mixed choir, and included a music school. Due to the lack of choir compositions in the Serbian language during the first years of BCS’s work, with Milan Milovuk, the repertoire was based on songs by German, Czech, Russian, and Hungarian composers. The national orientation, resulting in arrangements and stylizations of folk melodies and other compositions, was encouraged by Stevan Todorović, at various times a board member or the president and the main ideologist of the choral society, especially during the engagement of the most prominent Serbian composers as conductors, including Kornelije Stanković, Davorin Jenko, and Josif Marinković, culminating with Stevan Mokranjac. Mokranjac promoted his own choral music, as well as that of his contemporaries and predecessors, not only in the capital of Serbia and the places where a dispersed Serbian population lived (in what is now Vojvodina, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia), but also in Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire/Turkey, Russia, and Germany, performing concerts for the kings, emperors, and a sultan with great success. This peak in BCS history (...