Ljiljana Vukelja, born in 1976 in Belgrade, received her first piano lessons from her mother at the age of 4. She earned her Bachelor’s (1996) and Master’s (1999) degrees with Professor Nevena Popović at the University of Arts in Belgrade (Serbia). She furthered her education at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg (1998-2000, Germany) with the renowned French pianist Michel Beroff. In March 2002, she met the Suiss conductor and pianist Jean-Francois Antonioli during her solo performance with the Timisoara Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania), which Antonioli has been leading for 10 years, and she has continued to work with him ever since. In 2010, she completed her PhD in Performing Arts at the University of Arts in Belgrade under the supervision of Professor Dejan Sinadinović. She defended her thesis on the topic of music in the early 20th-century Paris, focusing on the works of Ravel, Dutilleux, and Enescu.
She widened her performing experience through many master classes with the world-renowned musicians, including D. Bashkirov, A. Starkman, Michel D’Alberto and Jean-Claude Pennetier.
Ljiljana Vukelja is the winner of the second and the special prize at the International Piano Competition in Nauen, Germany (2006), and the third prize winner at the International Piano Competition in Gaillard, France (2004). She also received many awards in the youth competitions in Serbia and Italy (Rome, Tortona, and Riviera del Connero). She played many recitals and chamber music concerts, and also collaborated as a soloist with numerous orchestras and conductors, including Jean-Francois Antonioli, Jordan Dafov, Anatolij Novicki, Vincent Monteil, David Porcelijn…
Her performances took her throughout Serbia and the Balkan region (Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, North Macedonia) as well as Italy, Romania, Germany, France, Switzerland, Ireland, and the United States. She appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in music festivals BEMUS, BELEF, BUNT, Festival of Minimalism, International Review of Composers (Serbia), Kotor Art, Cello Fest Podgorica (Montenegro), “Vlado Milosevic”(Banja Luka, R of Srpska), Timisoara Musicala (Romania), Haväellendische Festspiele, Movimentos (Germany), Galway Music Festival (Ireland).
In 2013, she collaborated with the Irish Dance Company “Fabulous Beast”, performing two ballets by Igor Stravinsky (“The Rite of Spring” and “Petruschka”), in arrangement for piano 4 hands, on different festivals in Serbia, Germany and Ireland.
In 2016, and 2019, she recorded two CD’s with the music of Serbian well-known composer, Vladimir Tosic, represent of minimalism, for 2 pianos, as well for piano solo. Both CD’s were released by Composer’s Association of Serbia.
She regularly performs on concert stage, with the Serbian most promising cellist, Sandra Belic, one of the best students of famous Andre Navarra.
Ljiljana Vukelja is Associate Professor of Piano in the Piano Department of the Music Academy at the University of Arts in Belgrade (Serbia).