Mate Bekavac is recognised as one of the great clarinetists of his generation, despite of his “commercial shyness”. He was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1977 and finished his primary music education in his hometown. He continued his studies at the University of Graz with B. Kovacs, then took his MA degree at the Salzburg “Mozarteum” with A. Brandhofer. He also studied in professional studies program at Juilliard School of Music in New York under C. Neidich and in “cycle de perfectionement” at Paris Conservatory with Michel Arrignon. He has won the Mozarteum 1992 award, the Eurovision Jury award in Warsaw 1994, Grand prix of the Yamaha competition in Vienna 1994 and competitions in Lisboa (1994), Seville (1995), Belgrade (1997). He appeared as soloist with the “Franz Liszt” chamber orchestras, Capela Istropolitana, Camerata Israel, Moscow soloists Salzburg soloists, Munich soloists and Zagreb soloists, Orchester der Philharmonie der Nationen, Saarlandischen Rundfunk, Orchestra of the opera in Frankfurt, Basel Symphonic Orchestra and all Slovenian orchestras.
His special devotion, love and central part of his musical career is chamber music, played with Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Lyn Harrell, Heinz Holliger, Irena Grafenauer, Kuss-Philharmonia Berlin-, Arriaga-, Minguet and Doric string quartets, Elena Baskhirova, Khatia Buniatishvili, Katia Skanavi, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Sol Gabeta, Alina Ibragimova, Frans Helmerson, Nicolas Altstaedt, Claudio Bohorques, Maxim Rysanov, Antoine Tamestit, members of Orchester der Bayerischen Rundfunk, MET-orchestra New York and London Symphony orchestra. He collaborated with conductors M. Jansons, B. Haitink, N. Harnoncourt, K. Masur, Z. Mehta, C. Davies, N. Jaervi, C. Mackerras, C. Hogwood, M. Perahia, I. Perlman. Frequently he is guest at festivals in Lockenhaus, Jerusalem, Les Museiques in Basel, Rheingau Musik Festival, Ludwigsburger Festspiele, Dubrovnik, Lucerne and Munich. As an orchestral musician he played solo clarinet in Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Irena Grafenauer, (born June 19, 1957 in Ljubljana, Slovenia), a pupil of Boris Čampa, Karlheinz Zöller and Aurèle Nicolet.
She started her musical education at the age of 8. After graduating from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana in 1974, she continued her studies with Karlheinz Zöller and Aurèle Nicolet. She won First Prize in three international competitions: in Belgrade (1974), Geneva (1978) and Munich (1979). From 1977 to 1987 she was principal flutist with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Rafael Kubelik , Sir Colin Davis and Leonard Bernstein. In 1987 she was appointed Professor at Salzburg Mozarteum. She has successfully toured most European countries, the United States, Japan, and Australia as a soloist. She has performed regularly at Gidon Kremer’s Lockenhaus Festival since 1981 and toured extensively with” Kremer & Friends”. Irena Grafenauer formed a duo with the harpist Maria Graf. She has also worked regularly with the Berlin Philharmonic Duo Jörg Baumann and Klaus Stoll, pianists Oleg Maisenberg, Robert Levin, and Helmut Deutsch, Guitar-player Eliot Fisk, and the Cherubini String Quartet. She has an incredibly deep connection to Mate Bekavac, they live and play for Art, together.
Irena Grafenauer has a varied discography having recorded for Philips, Sony and others.
In 2003 she was diagnosed with leukaemia and since then she rarely performs.