Svjetlana Bukvich first came to the attention of the European music world following her appearances as featured soloist with the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, performing Beethoven’s 1st Piano Concerto at the age of 16, and the following year with Edinburgh George Heriot’s Symphony Orchestra with the 2nd Concerto. Driven by a need to express beyond interpretation, Bukvich studied at the Music Academy – University of Sarajevo, where she earned degrees in Composition and Musicology. During this period she was invited to participate in the Intensive Composition Workshop in Groznjan, Istria, where she worked with some of the leading lights in European contemporary music. By 21, Bukvich had composed her first symphony, which was to be conducted in 1992 by the esteemed Julio Maric, when the war intervened.
Under harrowing circumstances that read like a political war thriller, she escaped Sarajevo, her besieged city in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The American Soros Foundation in Belgrade took unprecedented action to provide her with a stipend and a one-way ticket to America where she could pursue a full scholarship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. There, her interests broadened to include music synthesis, programming, microtonality, avant-garde performance, and video art. In 1994, she was awarded with one of the first M.F.A. degrees in multimedia offered in the United States.
Bukvich has composed for concert stage, dance, theater, and film, and has worked with diverse ensembles and instrumentalists such as ETHEL string quartet, Shattered Glass Ensemble, the Sarajevo Philharmonic, The Lafayette Chorale, Martha Mooke, Tony Levin, Mari Kimura, Rob Schwimmer, Cornelius Dufallo, Johnny Reinhard, Leonardo Suarez Paz, Kamala Sankaram, Ha-Yang Kim, Susan Aquila, Eddie Venegas, Jessica Meyer, Jacqui Kerrod, and Mordy Ferber among many others. She is featured in the Jennifer Kelly book In Her Own Words: Conversations with Composers in the United States where she is identified a`s one of the 25 outstanding women composers in America whose “processes can be viewed as alternatives to convention, for they expand accepted definition of composition and venue …“
She has been the recipient of numerous grants, sponsorships and commissions including New Music USA, USArtists International, the American Composers Forum, ASCAP’s Buddy Baker Film Scoring Scholarship, New England Foundation for the Arts, Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University, O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, and The Frances Richard Fund for Innovative Artists of Promise. Among her mentors in the United States are Philip Glass, Carl Stone, Martin Bresnick, Neil Rolnick, and Robert Ashley. Bukvich is a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellow in Music/Sound.
Her works have been featured at The Kennedy Center, the Tribeca Film Festival, The EAR Classical, American Festival of Microtonal Music, The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn’s Bargemusic, Music With A View Festival, Sarajevo Winter Festival, Serial Underground at the Cornelia Street Café, Berklee Performance Center, The Kitchen, The Anthology Film Archives, Rose Studio at Lincoln Center, (le) Poisson Rouge, ASCAP’s Thru The Walls Series, the New York Times Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Alvin Ailey City Center, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, The Cutting Room, Spectrum, W.E.A.L.R. New Music Festival/CA, the Bohemian Hall, Roulette, Williams Center for the Arts/PA, and internationally in locations including Beijing, London, Berlin, Johannesburg, Helsinki, Belgrade, Odessa, Knin/Croatia, and Copenhagen. Bukvich is a board member of the American Festival of Microtonal Music, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Composers Concordance. She is a contributing author in the book Perspectives on Music Production: Gender in Music Production to be published by Focal Press, Francis and Taylor, United Kingdom, in spring of 2020. Her only solo release to date, the genre-busting album EVOLUTION (Big Round Records) was hailed as “complex, thoroughly thought-out… nothing short of spectacular“ (Equal Ground) and was heard on more than 20 remarkably diverse radio stations.