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Vlado Sunko

Vlado Sunko a music pedagogue, conductor and composer was born in 1954, in Split where he graduated from Natko Nodilo Gymansium. He graduated composition and music theory from the University of Zagreb Academy of Music in 1979.

Since 1981, he has been working as a leader of musical activities and a member of the professional team at the Center for Education in Split. Among other things, he leads choral activities and works on the resocialization of children and youth.

From 1982 to 1992, he worked as a teacher for theoretical subjects, director of the Girls' Choir and founder and first conductor of the Boys' Choir (1991) of the Josip Hatze Secondary Music School in Split.

As an external associate and choirmaster, he prepared the Mixed Choir of the Croatian National Theater in Split during the 1984/85 season in the premiere performances of the operas Madame Butterfly (G. Puccini) and Otello (G. Verdi), and in the revival of the operas Nabucco and Aida (G. Verdi). In the midst of preparations for the 100th anniversary celebration in the 1999/2000 season leads the Mixed Choir Kolo from Šibenik with notable success among professional critics and the people of Šibenik.

At the Art Academy of the University of Split, he works as a full professor at the Department of Music, where he was also Vice Dean of Academic Affairs for the Music Department in the period from 2006 to 2008. As Chief conductor of the mixed choir of the Arts Academy, he won seven first prizes for the most successful composition performances at the Festival of Sacred Music CroPatria. In the year 2006, he received the Award of the University of Split for his contribution to the development of the said institution.

In the year 1988, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Brodosplit Male Voice Choir, which is better known today as the Brodosplit City Choir. Along with this Choir, he has achieved numerous awards at performances in Croatia and abroad.

For his creative and reproductive work in the year 2000, 2012 and 2017, he received the City of Split Award and in the year 2018 he received Split - Dalmatian county Award. The center of his creative interests is choral music, chamber music, and music for mandolin orchestras. He composes vocal-instrumental and orchestral works, as well as stage music.

For his work in the area of composing he has been granted a wide range of acknowledgements and awards at competitions and festivals: Dona nobis pacem (Međugorje, 1994), Capriccio cromatico, Intrada i ples (Intrada and Dance), Kaštelanska zvona (Kaštela bells) (Mandolina Imota 1997, 1999 and 2001), Oče naš (Lord's Prayer), Cum Invocarem, Beatus vir, Tvoja i moja tajna (Your Secret and My Secret), Solinskim mučenicima (To Solin Martyrs), Dirnutost (Responses), Majka (Mother), Gloria (Cro-Patria 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2020), Dvije pjesme D. Cesarića (Two poems by D. Cesarić) and Dalmacija forever (Dalmatia forever) for wind orchestra (Hrvatski sabor kulture 1999 and 2007) and Missa Classic-Pop-Folk for soloists, male choir and orchestra (Pasionska baština 2014).

A cantata for soloists, chorus and instrumental ensemble Zlato gospine milosti (The Sweetheart of Our Lady's Mercy) 1996, a symphonic epic poem In memoriam 1998, Concert for Mandolin and Orchestra 2001, Rapsodia rustica for chamber ensemble 2009 and Missa Classic-Pop-Folk for soloists, male choir and orchestra 2012, should be pointed out as more complex compositions.

In 2009, he was awarded the plaque of the Croatian Choral Director Association for outstanding achievements in conducting choirs and for the promotion of Croatian choral music abroad, as well as the professional title Magister chori.

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in June 2013 awarded him with the Medal of the order of Croatian Danica with figure of Marko Marulić, the highest award for a culture that is awarded at the state level, for merits in culture in particular as an international promoter of Croatian cultural heritage and winner of international awards as a conductor, composer and pedagogue.

In 2023, due to his extraordinary artistic achievements, his many years of dedicated music-pedagogical work, the exceptional quality of his overall compositional oeuvre, and his invaluable contribution to the contemporary cultural reality of Split, Dalmatia and Croatia, the Award Committee of the daily newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of art.

He published four sheet music editions: three collections of his own compositions: Compositions for female, male and mixed choirs, Compositions for cello, Capriccio cromatico compositions for mandolin chamber ensembles and orchestras, and a cycle of six spiritual compositions for mixed choir Light is your shadow (Svjetlost je tvoja sjena) to the lyrics of E. Kišević.

He was the conductor of the European Orchestra of Young Mandolinists and Guitarists (EGMYO), under the leadership of an international group of mentors (U. Orlandi, C. Blanko-Ruiz) in Pula in 2010. In the same year, as an authority on male choral singing, he was invited to the great international festival Europa cantat - Pecs Cantat European Capital of Singing and Culture 2010 in Hungary, where he held a workshop for male choirs and performed at the final event with a large male choir of 110 singers.

Maestro continuously holds workshops in his homeland and abroad (Chile, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina). His compositions for mandolin orchestra are performed at international mandolin music festivals (Italy, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary and France). He is a jury member at numerous competitions and a regular member of the HDS (Croatian Composers Society).

So far he has released fourteen CDs: ten with the Brodosplit City Choir, two with the University of Split Arts Academy Choir and two with the Sanctus Domnio Mandolin Orchestra.