Musical Genius Tale Ognenovski has performed Classical Music since 1952

1. On May 24, 1953, Tale Ognenovski as clarinet soloist performed the classical concert 

   ‘Concert Polka for Clarinet’ by Miler Bela, with accompaniment by the ‘Police Wind

   Orchestra.’ This concert was performed in the Radio Skopje building and was broadcast live to the nation via Radio Skopje.

From November 15, 1951 till 1954, Tale Ognenovski worked with the ‘Police Wind Orchestra.’ From 1954 till 1956, he worked with the ‘Skopje Public Town Orchestra’. The repertoire for both of these Orchestras consisted of classical music. Tale Ognenovski passed the auditions to join these Orchestras with flying colours.  In 1951, and just a day before the audition, the archivist Mitko gave him the music score from a composition including the opera ‘Carmen’ by Georges Bizet, the opera ‘The Troubadour’ by Guiseppe Verdi and ‘Makedonka’ by Ilija Todorovski.

The Director and Conductor Ilija Todorovski was surprised at Tale Ognenovski’s extremely impressive degree skill in interpreting classical music. He introduced him to the pianist Nino Cipushev, who today lives in Switzerland, and together they prepared the concert ‘Concert Polka for Clarinet’ by Miler Bela with the rhythms Allegro, Andante and Tempo di polka. In December 1952, Tale Ognenovski as clarinet soloist and with Cipushev as piano accompaniment, performed the same concert in the ‘Police House’ in Skopje with great success.

It was with this magnificent performance that Tale Ognenovski became the first clarinet soloist who had ever performed a classical concert for the clarinet in the Republic of Macedonia.  This was an exceptional event in the history of the country’s music.

Present at this concert were the composer Gligor Smokvarski, Professor Ilija Nikolovski, the composer, professor and pianist Ladislav Palfi, Ilija Todorovski, Micho Kostovski, Stefan Gajdov, the composer and Director of the School of Music in Skopje, all members of the ‘Police Wind Orchestra’ and other citizens. Following this very successful concert Tale Ognenovski asked Gligor Smokvarski to make arrangements for the ‘Public Police Orchestra’ to play the concert.

On May 24, 1953 the classical concert ‘Concert Polka for Clarinet’ by Miler Bela, with Gligor Smokvarski’s arrangement for the ‘Police Wind Orchestra’ (comprising about 30 musicians), conducted by Micho Kostovski and with Tale Ognenovski as a clarinet soloist, was performed in the Radio Skopje building and broadcast live to the nation via Radio Skopje.

This classical concert contains some very difficult parts with many cadenzas, which are very difficult for a clarinet soloist to perform and require great skill.  Tale Ognenovski performed magnificently in this concert.  In the audience were Stefan Gajdov the composer, Ladislav Palfi the composer, professor and pianist, other composers and other citizens. The concert was a great success and the audience warmly applauded the fascinating playing of Tale Ognenovski on clarinet and all members of the Orchestra. After the concert, Professor Ladislav Palfi personally congratulated Tale Ognenovski and expressed his hope that they two could work together.

(The source of the above is a letter from Professor Ladislav Palfi dated May 23, 1973, and a letter from Sime Pavlovski and Jordan Canevski, dated May, 1998).

The members of this Wind orchestra were the famous musician and composer Djakonovski Dragan-Shpato, Sime Pavlovski, Jordan Canevski, Petkovski Vasko, Chkatrovski Kire, Zafirovski Metodija, Nikolovski Pero, Anton Dzaja, Asanovic Sherlo, Savo, Chedo, Pavle, Zhivko, Stanko, Domazetovski Nikola, Asanovic Miki, Ristovski Vlasto, Andrej Beljan, Dimitrovski Vlado, Kiro Stoev, Grashic, Simonovski Dzodza, Krapovski Paskal, Nikolovski Tome, Manevski Dimitar and other musicians.

This same concert, with the ‘Police Wind Orchestra’ conducted by Micho Kostovski and Tale Ognenovski playing solo on clarinet, was performed also in the ‘Police House’, the ‘State Hospital’, the restaurant ‘Kermes’ in Skopje and in other towns in Macedonia such as Resen and Ohrid and, everywhere, these tremendously successful events were significant ones in the musical life of Macedonia during the years 1952-1955. The programme of these concerts in addition included some parts of classical works.  These included Bizet’s ‘Carmen’, ‘The Troubadour’, ‘Aida’, ‘Rigoletto’, Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’ and ‘La Traviata’, ‘Oberon’ by Carl Maria von Weber, Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’, Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ and Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’.

Miler Bela’s ‘Concert Polka for Clarinet’, with the ‘Army Orchestra’ conducted by Vaso Chelebic, and Tale Ognenovski as clarinet soloist, was performed in the ‘Army House’ in Skopje in 1953 with great success.

2. “It is a phenomenon that Tale Ognenovski for every type of music has the right amount of ‘ambazhura’ and vibrato, especially for classic music where some circumstances require a totally level tone.   It is particularly phenomenal that in a second he can change both the colour and the vibrato.” – Professor Ladislav Palfi

The standard is that one timbre and one kind of vibrato exclude another colour and another kind... It isn’t widely known, in Yugoslavia and around the world in general, that the virtuoso clarinetist Tale Ognenovski is a concert clarinetist. It isn’t widely known that he can play other types of music such as jazz, jazz improvisations in the style of Benny Goodman, or Artie Shaw, or dance music.

I know personally that during the years 1952 and 1953, Tale Ognenovski made his debuts on public radio broadcasts on ‘Radio Skopje’, with concerts of classical music, playing clarinet solo accompanied by the Orchestra conducted by Mico Kostovski and accompanied by the excellent pianist Nino Cipushev... These days, in the magnetic archives of ‘Radio Television Skopje’, can be found a record demonstrating a successful technical and tonal interpretation of the difficult concert ‘FIORI ROSSINIANI’ by Ernesto Cavallini that Tale Ognenovski, playing solo clarinet, and with my accompaniment on the piano, recorded and which was broadcast on many occasions by ‘Radio Skopje’. The same record has been used for pre-recorded and live television broadcasts of the ‘Tale Ognenovski Show’.

We have performed amongst others a concert by Weber in ef-mol, and a concert by Mozart in A Major which is particularly style-sensitive.” This was written by the composer and pianist, Professor Ladislav Palfi in a letter dated May 23, 1973.

3. The television programme ‘One clarinet - one life’ was shown on ‘Radio Television Skopje’ on May 19, 1970. The programme included part of the Concert ‘FIORI ROSSINIANI’ by Ernesto Cavallini, with Tale Ognenovski performing as clarinet soloist, with piano accompaniment by Professor Ladislav Palfi, the composer and legendary classical music and jazz pianist

The title of this TV programme was ‘One clarinet - one life’. In the show Tale Ognenovski played as solo clarinetist, a few Macedonian folk dances with the clarinet and with the pipe (‘kavalche’) with the accompaniment of the ‘Folk Orchestra’ (‘Naroden Orkestar’), the ‘Folk Instrumental Orchestra’ (‘Orkestarot od narodni instrumenti’) and the ‘Chalgii Orchestra’ (‘Orkestarot Chalgii’). In the programme, the conductor Gjoko Georgiev commented, “Tale Ognenovski succeeded in finding his position in Macedonian folk music in a really effective way with irreproachable technique and with unique originality. The Producer of this programme was Blagoja Andreev. Samples of the music performed by Tale Ognenovski in this programme, including the Concert “FIORI ROSSINIANI” by Ernesto Cavallini, performed by Tale Ognenovski as clarinet soloist with Professor Ladislav Palfi as piano accompaniment, and the Macedonian folk dances ‘Brusnichko oro’ (composer and clarinet soloist Tale Ognenovski), ‘Brusnichko oro’ (composer and pipe soloist Tale Ognenovski),  ‘Nevenino oro’ (composer and clarinet soloist Tale Ognenovski), ‘Stevchevo oro’ (composer and pipe soloist Tale Ognenovski), can all be heard on his Web site at the Internet  address  http://www.taleognenovski.com.mk 

On May 15, 1979, Tale Ognenovski as clarinet soloist, with Professor Ladislav Palfi as piano accompaniment, performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622 in the ‘Pensioners’ House’ in Skopje. Melodies from Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and George Gershwin were also performed. The Concerto by itself was performed in the Hall at the ‘Josip Broz Tito’ Secondary School in Skopje.

Tale Ognenovski performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto with the String Orchestra of the Musical Ballet School ‘Ilija Nikolovsli-Luj’...

“In 1980, Kiril Spirovski was conducting the orchestra of the Musical ballet school ‘Ilija Nikolovsli-Luj’. During the year, he planned to include as part of his repertoire Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major. It was interesting when he told us the clarinet soloist would be the maestro Tale Ognenovski.  We were pleasantly surprised because of the fact that a virtuoso maestro of folklore music would be able to play such a well-known concert of classical music. It had been performed many times before at our school. A great number of scholars from our school, students from the Faculty of Musical Art and Professors from both institutions were treated to a wonderful, triumphant performance by the maestro Tale Ognenovski accompanied by the String Orchestra of the Musical Ballet School ‘Ilija Nikolovsli-Luj’.  Members of the Orchestra included Tomislav Dimov, Jasenka Tomic, Zoran Makevski, Lasko Atanasov, Orce Gelevski, Marjan Pandilovski, Metodija Kavalakovski, Zharko Matovic, Milan Zavkov and Blagoja Morotov.” Orce Gelevski, editor of the folk music department in Radio Skopje, wrote this in a letter in May, 1998.

In 1985, Tale Ognenovski as solo clarinetist, accompanied by Professor Ladislav Palfi on piano, performed Carl Maria von Weber’s ‘Concert Opus 73’ in the town of Valandovo.

4.      In the television programme ‘One clarinet - one life - Tale Ognenovski’, broadcast on July 18, 1987, music from Mozart’s ‘Concerto in A Major for Clarinet and Orchestra, K. 622’, and from Wagner’s ‘Adagio for Clarinet’ was performed by Tale Ognenovski, solo clarinet with accompaniment on the piano by the excellent pianist Tanja Shopova.  The programme was broadcast on ‘Radio Television Skopje.’

This television programme was called ‘One clarinet - one life - Tale Ognenovski’. Tale Ognenovski performed solo many Macedonian folk dances on the clarinet and pipe (‘kavalche’) accompanied by the ‘Folk Orchestra’ (‘Naroden Orkestar’), ‘The Folk Instruments Orchestra’ (‘Orkestarot od narodni instrumenti’) and ‘The Chalgii Orchestra’ (‘Orkestarot Chalgii’). The programme editors were Mile Brzanov and Ljube Cvetanovski, and the producer was Kiril Todevski. Dancers from the Ensemble of Folk Dances and Songs ‘Goce Delchev’ performed dances. Samples of the music performed by Tale Ognenovski in the programme can be heard on his Web site at the Internet address http://www.taleognenovski.com.mk 

Included is music from Mozart’s ‘Concerto in A Major for Clarinet and Orchestra K. 622”, and Wagner’s ‘Adagio for Clarinet’ performed by Tale Ognenovski as solo clarinetist with accompaniment on the piano by the excellent pianist Tanja Shopova, and the Macedonian folk dances ‘Bukovsko svadbarsko oro’ (composer and clarinet soloist Tale Ognenovski), ‘Brusnichko oro’ (composer Tale Ognenovski), ‘Stevchevo oro’ (composer Tale Ognenovski) and ‘Kasapsko oro’ (folk - arranger Tale Ognenovski).

He performed Mozart’s ‘Clarinet Concerto in A Major K.622’, Cavallini’s ‘Fiori Rossiniani’, Wagner’s ‘Adagio for Clarinet’ and Weber’s ‘Clarinet Concerto Op. 73’ with delicate precision of tone, technical brilliance and with great musical and instrumental quality.  He was a delight to listen to.  The sound he produced was a revelation in just how beautifully the clarinet could be played. In all of these performances, he demonstrated brilliant technique and beautiful tone.

5.  “One clarinet, one life; Half a century of magic with the clarinet; The clarinet as a life, These are only some of the titles of articles in the newspapers that have been written for the clarinet virtuoso Tale Ognenovski who plays Macedonian folk dances as superbly as he does classical music by Mozart, Wagner, Cavallini...” from the Television programme ‘Sunday afternoon’, ‘Macedonian Radio Television’

In a programme with the title ‘Sunday afternoon’ shown on ‘Macedonian Radio Television’ on February 28, 1993, the journalist said about Tale Ognenovski, “One clarinet, one life; Half a century of magic with the clarinet; The clarinet as a life; These are only some of the titles of articles in the newspapers that have been written for the clarinet virtuoso Tale Ognenovski who plays Macedonian folk dances as superbly as he does classical music by Mozart, Wagner, Cavallini...”Besides some Macedonian folk dances, the following pieces of music were included on the programme: Mozart’s ‘Concert in A Major for Clarinet and Orchestra K. 622’ and Wagner’s ‘Adagio for Clarinet’, both performed by Tale Ognenovski as clarinet soloist accompanied on the piano by the excellent pianist Tanja Shopova, and Cavallini’s Concert ‘Fiori Rossiniani’, performed by Tale Ognenovski as clarinet soloist accompanied on the piano by the famous pianist and composer Professor Ladislav Palfi.

6.  “Everything that has a connection with the clarinet and this man is far from ordinary. Perhaps it is a miracle, this dexterity; perhaps he is a genius, or something more than that....” - Elizabeta Matic on the television programme ‘Good morning, good day’, Macedonian Radio Television.

In the programme with the title ‘Good morning, good day’ shown on ‘Macedonian Radio Television’ on December 5, 1993, the journalist Brane Stefanovski said of Tale Ognenovski, “The living legend of the Macedonian clarinet. Tale Ognenovski can easily be recognized from older records of ‘Macedonian Radio Television’. Tale Ognenovski’s music is amazing, with his melodious, clean quality of tone and interpretations for which he has received recognition from world-famous experts of the clarinet and of Macedonian music. The journalist Elizabeta Matic commented, “Everything that has a connection with the clarinet and this man is far from ordinary. Perhaps it is a miracle, this dexterity; perhaps he is a genius, or something more.

Perhaps the reason for this is genetic disposition in his family where his father played the bagpipe (‘gajdadjija’), but the fact that his grandfather and great-grandfather had played some folk instrument, suggests that talent has developed over the generations to raise the little pipe (‘kavalche’) player to the highest level reserved for the best. His music is always based on the strict rules of Macedonian folklore...

Tale Ognenovski is an Ambassador in the presentation of the valuable things that Macedonia possesses: Macedonian complex rhythms...The best clarinetist which this country has ever had. The man from whom his followers can learn a great deal...”

In this interview, Tale Ognenovski said that Macedonian folklore was the best folklore in the World, and that the inspiration he received when composing music he got from Macedonian Folk Music.

7. Tale Ognenovski translated whatever came into his head directly into the clarinet.

On June 16, 1998, an interview with Tale Ognenovski was recorded for the television programme ‘Good Day, Macedonia’ on Macedonian Television. During the interview, the journalist Tatjana Stojchevska Manchevska asked Tale Ognenovski to play some jazz music. He performed some jazz music that he composed right there and then without any prior planning. He demonstrated his amazing musical talent as a clarinet and pipe player and composer performing jazz music on this programme. The music performed by him on the programme can be heard on his Web site at the Internet address http://www.taleognenovski.com.mk 

8.  The television programme ‘Good Day, Macedonia’ was dedicated to Tale Ognenovski on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the FOLK MUSIC ORCHESTRA of Macedonian Radio Television. An interview with Tale Ognenovski

“This year sees the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ‘Folk Music Orchestra’ of Macedonian Radio Television. The most famous clarinetist Tale Ognenovski has for a long time performed in this Orchestra,” said Simona Ugrinovska, Manager of the programme ‘Good Day Macedonia’. She added that the interview with Tale Ognenovski had been done by her colleague Tatjana Stojchevska Manchevska.  In the programme, first shown on July 1, 1998, then repeated on July 4, 1998, the journalist Tatjana Stojchevska Manchevska said: “Fifty years ago, at the first Macedonian Republic festival of Folk Dances and Songs held during the period October 6-10, 1948, Tale Ognenovski received the First Award as the best clarinetist.

If you listen to the music of Tale Ognenovski, this magnificent, unique, talented virtuoso of the clarinet and composer of Macedonian folk dances, you will imagine an exciting folklore story and sense unparalleled technique in the musical expression of this folk genius. With his maestro, solo improvisations Tale Ognenovski made performances of Ensemble ‘Tanec’ the most successful they could be. The most significant debut in his rich career was in the famous Carnegie Hall on January 27, 1956.

“The artist must adopt the artistic rules perfectly, to be able to break them afterwards.” This comment by Michelangelo described the talent that Tale Ognenovski possessed...In a perfect way he interpreted Mozart, Wagner and Cavallini, and jazz improvisations in the style of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.

Tale Ognenovski has composed 150 Macedonian folk dances...”

In this television programme, Tale Ognenovski said, “I received the First Award for Clarinet as the best clarinetist at the First Republic Macedonia Festival of Folk Dances and Songs in Skopje in 1948. Then Mr. Vasil Hadzimanov and Mr. Nikolaj Galevski from Radio Skopje invited me to become a member of the Folk Orchestra in Radio Skopje. I joined the Folk Orchestra of Radio Skopje for two months, from November 1,1948, till December 30, 1948. Later, in 1960, I joined the Folk Orchestra of Radio Skopje again. I become head of the Folk Orchestra of Radio Skopje in 1966 for one year, and then in 1967, I retired. Later I was invited by Music Production of Radio Television Skopje to perform as additional music force with the ‘Chalgii’ Orchestra. With that Orchestra I had great success at the International Folklore Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, where Mr.Dushko Dimitrovski presented some folklore material (recorded on magnetic tapes) that included the Macedonian folk dances, my arrangement ‘Kasapsko oro’ and my composition ‘Kumovo oro chochek’.  I performed these on solo clarinet. This folk music created great interest among the participants at the Conference, and later the folk material was presented in a special programme on Belgian Radio. In France with Ensemble ‘Tanec’ we performed concerts in 58 towns in 1959. We had remarkable success. Mr. Raymond Guillier, Manager of the Tour and Director of his own company  (“Les grands spectacles internationaux - Les productions Raymond Guiller”) from Paris said that he was fascinated by my clarinet playing and told me that my contribution towards the tremendous success of Ensemble ‘Tanec’ was considerable. In an interview with the newspaper ‘Vecher’, he said that he wanted to present the Ensemble in France every year. He said that everything that ‘Tanec’ played in the spirit of Macedonia he didn’t believe any other Ensemble in the world could perform, and the reason for that was that the girls and boys from ‘Tanec’ invested their whole heart in the dance, and that an example of that was my playing on the clarinet...”

“I made my classical music debut in December 1952, playing as clarinet soloist the concert ‘Concert Polka for Clarinet’, accompanied by the pianist Nino Cipushev. On May 24, 1953, this concert accompanied by the ‘Police Wind Orchestra’ (the arrangement for the Orchestra was made by Gligor Smokvarski) was broadcast nationally via Radio Skopje. We performed this and other concerts when we toured Macedonia. Later, for Radio Skopje, I recorded the concert ‘Fiori Rossiniani’ by Ernesto Cavallini, with piano accompaniment by Professor Ladislav Palfi. Later, in 1970, this concert was shown in my television programme ‘ONE CLARINET, ONE LIFE’. With piano accompaniment by Professor Ladislav Palfi, I performed concertos by Mozart, Weber, and others, and I recorded for Radio Skopje the concertos by Mozart and Wagner, with Tanja Shopova...”, said Tale Ognenovski.

Question: “Can you play some jazz music on this programme?”

Tale Ognenovski: “With pleasure.”

Jazz improvisations composed by Tale Ognenovski and performed by him as clarinet soloist on this programme can be listened to on his Web site at

Jazz improvisations composed by Tale Ognenovski and performed by him as clarinet soloist on the programme “Good Day, Macedonia” of Macedonian Radio Television, July 1, 1998

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