ALEKSANDRA POPOVSKA was born in south of Serbia in 1975, in a family of Macedonian emigrants and has been living and working in Holland since 2004. She studied Music Pedagogy and Theory at the Faculty of Music in Skopje ( Ss.Cyril & Methodius University in Skopje. She also holds a Bachelor of Music Performance and Production and European Master Media in Arts from the Utrecht School of Arts. In 2010, she completed her Mphil studies in Voice Performance and Applied Composition at the University of Portshmouth, UK. Since 2000 she was devoted to research and practice of Macedonian traditional music which influenced her music career and later work as well. With the ensamble Dragan Dautovski Quartet she performed hundreds of concerts across Europe.
Besides her activities as a vocalist and composer, she teaches music in various schools and music centers (Korenhuis- Den Haag, American International School Den-Haag, Grace Music International).
Aleksandra speaks about the importance of creative self-reflection and learning.
Which 3 words would describe who you are?
Creativity, diligence, dedication.
What are the three main events that helped to shape your life?
It is hard to point the specific events, since I believe that everything we do daily is shaping our life, but let me try to pick few that are special to me.
First one is a an event from my childhood, when as a 7 years old I won a price for the best child amateur actor in Serbia for the roll of Heidi, based on the book of Swiss author J.Spyri, directed by Vera Chech Mladenovic. In the library of the small town Lebane, where I grow up, Vera the librarian, was changing the life of generations of children introducing them to the world of literature, theatre and free play.
Second one is my first concert as A solo singer in 2000, with the Dragan Dautovski Quartet, a band that I worked with for more then ten years and published four CD’s with. Our Dragan Dautovski quartet was well-known and we toured in more than twenty countries It was a great time, filled with new experiences, creative freedom, getting out of my comfort zone and revelation.
Third one is becoming a mother in 2012, when life became totally different. All my priorities changed! Finding the right balance between my career and motherhood turns out to be a life-long dance. I would not want to miss one second of it!
What personal attributes have you used to overcome the adversity in your life?
Searching for the right attitude to deal with new situations through creative practise and self reflection. Vocal soundscapes, multimedia works, paintings, photography, sound installations are all important tools for expression for me.
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
My curiosity and appetite for knowledge brought me to Holland. Looking back, my educational development had a clear line. I started as a piano player and singer. After many years of studying music in Serbia and Macedonia in a traditional form and composing only for my own voice I felt a need to express myself in a new way. All my knowledge, as well as the techniques I used, were not enough to satisfy the performance aspect of my work. I needed to learn more about music and technology, so I entered the Faculty for Art, Music & Technology at Utrecht School of Arts in 2004.
Throughout my career I have been exposed to a wide variety of cultural influences in between Western and Balkan and this affected my creative work and style when performing or creating new, original works.
I am now freely mixing music of different origin & styles; the Macedonian vocal traditions, sophistication of Italian belcanto, contemporary vocal techniques, live electronics, popular music,etc.
For twenty years I’ve been active in three fields of work:
- music education and
- music research.
I performed in hundreds of concerts/performances of different natures across Europe on some of the main podia (Rotterdam Opera Festival, Music Meeting festival-Nijmegen, Gipsy Festival-Tilburg, World Music Days-Rotterdam, Macedonian Opera & Ballet, etc). I have also participated in recordings of more then twenty Cd’s in different music genres. Exciting!
At this moment I am a member of the team that organizes Eurovox 2018, the European symposium for vocal pedagogues hosted by the Dutch Association of Voice Pedagogues.
Since I became a mother a couple of years ago I have changed the focus of my work to the creation of audio-visual works for children and music education for toddlers. Now that I have children of my own I find teaching small children fascinating and inspiring.
Besides my activities as a vocalist and composer, I teach music in various schools and music centers (Korenhuis- Den Haag, The American International School in Den-Haag and Grace Music International).
I am also an active member of Ducth Asociation of Vocal pedagogues.
Are women treated differently in Holland than in your home country?
It is not easy to compare the treatment of woman in The Netherlands and in Macedonia/Serbia in just few sentences. In general, woman are not treated differently, but due the historical circumstances the patriarchal way of family organisation is still very present at The Balkans.
The Dutch feminists movements started in the middle of the 19th century, personally I believe that the advantage of one century and a half is noticeable. Nevertheless things are moving in the right direction as well in my country; slowly, but surely.
If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would it be?
I’ve concisely decided in one point of my life that I won’t be searching the answers around “what if ?” questions, since I can never be sure about the answer, so why waste our time? 🙂 I strongly believe that our daily activities are shaping our lives. The more curious and open minded you are, the more new and exciting activities will come to you
Last but not least: what is the one piece of advice you would give to our readers?
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