Dušan Stular. On the Occasion of His 90th Birthday


  • Dušan Mihalek




This article represents a first attempt at a comprehensive biography of the composer and pianist Dušan Stular (born 6th April 1901 in Trieste). Two periods of his lifetime are highlighted. The first is the period prior to 1943 when, driven away by the Fascists, Stular moved to Vojvodina. Although born and bred in an artistic family (his mother being a popular operetta-singer and his father a fashion and costume designer), he decided to take up his studies of music quite late in his life, only at the age of 19. Nevertheless, owing to his exceptional talent, he managed to advance from being an absolute beginner to holding the post of senior lecturer at the Trieste conservatory in no more than four years, and was given a portrait of Franz Liszt by his piano professor Adolf Skolek that Skolek had won as the winner of the young pianists' competition named after Liszt. Furthermore, Stular studied composition, also in Trieste, with Antonio Illesberg, a teacher of Luigi Dallapiccola and Giulio Viozzi, among others. While working as a lecturer at the Tartini conservatory in Trieste in 1923-43, he made many solo performances at concerts in Rome, Milan, Naples, Trieste, Graz and the then new-found radio programme of Radio Zagreb. He also gave performances in a piano duet together with Ada Naish, and wrote entertainment and screen music (under the pseudonym of Raul Duntass). In 1934 he started performing at concerts together with the free ballet dancer Britta Schellander (a pupil of Mary Wigman), who won the golden Olympic ring in the cultural programme at the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936 dancing to Stular's music. In spite of the pressures of the Fascist regime, Stular created his two most prominent works during the years before the second world war, namely the Jazz Symphony and Pan, quartet for violoncellos, that were both awarded first prizes at the Mostra Triennale at Naples in 1941. Dating from the same period is also the children's operetta Blue Lightning, which won all the three prizes at the anonymous competition in Trieste in 1941, as well as the Concerto for piano and orchestra entitled Melodies and Rhythm. Stular's Vojvodina period is characterized by his intensive efforts to revive the musical tradition in Subotica and Novi Sad (headmaster of the music school, leader of several amateur choruses, composer of occasional music). Since 1953 he has worked as the répétiteur and a composer of the oldest Serbian theatre – the Srpsko narodno pozorište in Novi Sad, for which he wrote music for over 50 premieres.


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How to Cite

Mihalek, D. (1990). Dušan Stular. On the Occasion of His 90th Birthday. Musicological Annual, 26(1), 37–44. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.26.1.37-44