Barbara Nagode was born in Ljubljana. She studied piano with prof. Andrej Jarc and solosinging with prof. Marcos Bajuk while attaining secondary education and continued her studies at the Department of Musicology at the Faculty of Arts as well as at the Singing Department of the Academy of Music, both faculties within the University of Ljubljana. She graduated in 1999 in the class of prof. Eve Novšak-Houška. She attended solosinging seminars both at home and abroad. Since 1999 she has taught solosinging at Ljubljana Vič – Rudnik Music School. As an artist she performed at solo concerts and with different ensembles. (Constortium musicum, Slovenian Vocal Soloists – Slovenski vokalni solisti).
Shirlie Roden was brought up in Wales (the Land of Song) where she studied classical piano and singing, but graduated from Warwick University in the 1970s to follow a career in rock music, touring USA for three years with the cult British band The Kinks and singing on many studio sessions with artists like David Gilmore, Mike Oldfield, Ultravox and Suzi Quatro. In the 1980s Shirlie began to write for and perform in musical theatre, with seven of her shows staged and an Olivier nomination for Best Musical for the Roy Orbison Story. A change of direction came in 1992 when she was invited to sing in Slovenia, and fell in love with the beauty of the country and the Slovene spirit. She began to write and record her own songs, performing many concerts all over Slovenia, plus creating and leading her relaxing sound workshops. RTV Slovenia filmed a documentary on her (Pojoce Srce – Ambasadorka Luci) and Mladinska Knjiga also published her autobiography. In 2015, Shirlie achieved one of her dreams with her ‘Slovenska Suita’ – a selection of her songs inspired by Slovenia and arranged for symphony orchestra – which she performed in concert with Cantabile orchestra. Currently she has been writing songs for a new children’s musical about Pippi Longstocking and updating her Joan of Arc musical ‘Jeanne’ for a staged orchestral concert in London. Shirlie is a Trustee of the British-Slovene Society and delighted to be celebrating her 25th anniversary of singing in Slovenia this year – Kako lepo!
Igor Švara, a conductor and pianist, was born in Ljubljana to a distinguished Slovenian conductor, composer and educational expert, dr. Danilo Švara. After having finished gymnasium and secondary music school, he continued his studies at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana: he studied conducting in the class of his father and piano with prof. Marijan Lipovšek. He graduated in 1971.
Between 1975 and 1976 he was enhancing his knowledge with Kurt Masur, a conductor in Leipzig, where he finished his master’s class.
In “SNG Opera in balet Ljubljana” (Slovenian National Theatre) he began his professional career as a ballet and opera accompanist in 1972. Later he became an assistant-conductor and in 1983 he became permanent conductor. Between 1993 and 1995 he was an arts manager and acting director of the "Opera in balet Ljubljana".
Since his debut in 1973, conducting The Barber of Seville, his repertoire has risen to more than 80 operatic and ballet pieces and spread across more than 1000 performances and concerts. He cooperated with many renown soloists and conducted many Slovenian as well as other European orchestras. Between 1995 and 1998 he was a permanent guest conductor in Salzburg Opera. As a pianist and conductor he recorded many works of Slovenian and foreign composers for the purposes of musical archives.
He is a long-standing lecturer at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, serves as a jury member at Slovenian and foreign competitions and lectures at different seminars for choral directors and conductors.
From 1981 to 2012 he was an arts manager of Ljubljana octet, visiting with it all across Europe, Asia, USA, Canada and Australia.
His professionalism gained him a prestigious Prešeren Award for Students, Recognition of the University of Ljubljana for important works in artistry in the field of creativity and re-creation. He also attained the title “strokovni svetnik” (professional consultant), the plaque of honour of the Academy of Music and a special recognition for conducting the opera Veronica of Desenice at the Biannual Opera event in Ljubljana.
For having been an arts manager of Ljubljana octet for 30 years and a conductor at Singing Choir Campus at Šentvid pri Stični for 10 years, he obtained a Plaque of the city of Ljubljana, a golden plaque of ZKD Ljubljana, Gallus badge and Plaque, the Golden Order and more anniversary prizes of the Public Fund for cultural activities of the Republic of Slovenia.