Simon Gjoni

Simon Gjoni

Simon Gjoni (1926 – 1991) was an Albanian composer of many popular pieces for piano and orchestra.

Gjoni was born in the city of Shkodër, Albania. He was educated in a rank and file urban family and graduated from the "Illyricum" High School of the city. Very soon he learned to play guitar, trombone, the piano and devoted himself with enthusiasm and passion to the art of music. In the years of his youth, he composed over 200 original songs, which were immediately sang in the city of Shkodër and were spread all over Albania, such as "Lule Bore" (English: Snow-Flower), "Syte e tu si drite" (English: Your Eyes Like Light), "Weaving girl".

He completed his studies over the years 1952–1958 in the "Musical Knowledge Academy of Prague" (Czechoslovakia). During the years 1956-1958 in the city of Prague, he conducted: Schubert "Rosamunda", Grieg "Peer Gynt", I. Benda "Pygmalion", K. Dittersdorff "Concert symphony for violin and contrabass", F. Liszt "Les Preludes". In the year 1958 he returned home and worked for the Opera and Ballet Theatre in Tirana, where he conducted many worldwide renowned works, which were interpreted for the first time in Albania. Such works were: G. Donixetti "Don Pasquale", L. Cavallo "Pagliaccio", G. Rossini "The Barber of Seville", T. Daija "The Spring" and the ballets Vasilienko "Lola", Krein "Laurencia". Under his care and passion, he recorded many works of the Albanian composers: Zadeja, Gaci, Nova, Daija, Harapi, Pjetër Dungu, Grimci, Kono etc, and the music of some Albanian films. In 1967, he conducted in China works by Albanian composers. Gjoni was also one of the founders of the Symphonic Orchestra of the Albanian Radio-Television. He worked persistently and with discipline for the establishment and growth of that group.

He started teaching in 1958 at the Artistic Lyceum and later in 1961 was among the first lecturers in founding the State Conservatory of Tirana (currently the Academy of Fine Arts), where he prepared whole generations of musicians and artists, teaching the subjects of polyphony, orchestration, conducting, intonation and chamber music, till the day he died.

His activity as a composer has passed through all genres from the song, romance, cantata, suite, ballads, works for piano, clarinet, violin and major orchestral works such as: Symphonic dances, Symphonic poems, Symphonic Suite up to Symphony in Mib.

S. Gjoni is a composer with a noble inspiration and pathos, the music flows freely. The critic of music and the musicologist George Leotsakos, in his letter dated 22 December 1991 characterizes him as follows: "Simon Gjoni was an excellent composer, a predestined creator, with a profound aesthetic and musical culture, but above all with a marvelous human personality, with a golden heart in harmony with his refined culture."

Likewise, in the field of musical critique, he has left numerous theoretical works, related to the Albanian musical art and his work "The Instruments and the Art of Orchestration".

In the newspaper "Drita" dated 1 December 1991, the composer Çesk Zadeja writes: "The name of Simon Gjoni will remain graven in the pentagram of the Albanian music. The highest assessment for each creator is then when his work (his message) has its repercussion in the profundity of the time, increasing its values along as the time passes by. These features are attributed to the talented artist, composer, conductor, lecturer and musicologist Simon Gjoni".

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