Mladen Tarbuk

Conductor | Composer

My mission is to inspire fellow musicians and members of a community, ignite the passion for music in them while bringing about the precision of playing that is founded in the precision of shared emotions.

Watch Mladen conduct and listen to his compositions




Mladen Tarbuk is a Croatian composer, conductor, writer, educator, and broadcaster. He was a guest conductor at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf – Duisburg during several seasons and has been performing regularly with renowned orchestras and opera houses around the world, such as Hungarian State Opera, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Orquesta Sinfonica de Estado Mexico, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Wiener Concert-Verein, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana Palermo, Teatro Verdi Trieste, State Opera Prague, Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and many other.

Tarbuk was the Intendant of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, the region’s leading opera, ballet, and dramatic plays house, Music Programme Director and subsequently the Artistic Director of the renowned Dubrovnik Festival. His prolific career has been significantly enriching the musical life in Croatia through conducting concerts and operas at the national opera houses, teaching composition, orchestral conducting, orchestra, and music theory at the Music Academy of Zagreb and presenting, hosting, and conducting concerts for youth and children that were broadcast by Croatian Radio. In addition, his long-term collaboration with many home festivals and institutions, especially with the Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra, resulted in Tarbuk arranging, revising, editing, performing, conducting, and recording thousands of pages of Croatian music.

Mladen Tarbuk wrote over 90 works, from solo and chamber music to large symphonic and theatrical forms. His pieces have been performed in major contemporary music festivals, including Enescu Festival Bucharest, The World Music Days, Europamusicale Munich, Musicora Paris, Le Temps de soufflé Paris, Trieste Prima, World Saxophone Congress Glasgow, Musikprotokoll Graz, Moscow Autumn, and Music Biennale Zagreb. As a composer, Tarbuk came to international fame in 1990, when the International Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam has premiered his piece Martyr d’un jongleur. Then, the first International Composers Competition in Vienna in 1991, chaired by Claudio Abbado, gave his composition Medida del Tiempo a recommendation. Tarbuk also won two first prizes in international competitions Ernst Vogel and Tolosa, as well as numerous Croatian awards for the highest achievements as a composer: Šulek, Slavenski, Papandopulo, and the Academy Award of Lisinski Concert Hall. His ballet Streetcar Named Desire opened The World Days of Music 2005 in Zagreb. Tarbuk appears in many recordings on labels such as HoneyRock, Orpheus and Cantus.










Read the list of upcoming performances and selected past events.

National Music Festival, Chestertown, Maryland USA | June 8, 2019

Festival Symphony Orchestra & the Chester River Chorale, Decker Theatre, Washington College | Mladen Tarbuk, conductor | Rossini: Overture: La Cenerentola Tarbuk: Concerto for Flute (Jennifer Parker-Harley, soloist) Beethoven: Mass in C

Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Tonhallen, Sundsvall Sweden | February 28, 2019

Mladen Tarbuk, conductor | M. Tarbuk: Sinfonia da camera, Respigh: ll tramonto, for mezzosoprano and strings, Cherubini: Symphony in D, Wagner: Siegfried-Idyll

Theater Biel, Théâtre Bienne Switzerland

DES KNABEN WUNDERHORN (Mahler) College of Arts Bern HKB Ensemble | Musical direction and editing ~ Direction musicale et arrangement ~ Mladen Tarbuk | Staging ~ Mise en scène ~ Mathias Behrends | Sunday, June 3, 2018 Dimanche 3 juin 2018

London: St Martin In The Fields

Pianist Diana Brekalo performs Mladen Tarbuk: Selection from 12 Inventions: No 1 'a una voce' 02:31 No 2 'Aria' 05:16 No 5 'Lullaby' 08:08 No 7 'Sequence' 09:24 No 10 'Cannon' | 16/10/2018

Sinfonietta Cracovia, Cracow, Poland

Mladen Tarbuk conducted pieces by contemporary Polish and Croatian composers. | 08/10/2017









National Arts Centre Ottawa, USA

Le Droit, Jean Jacques Van Vlasselaer

… the musical flow and the penetrating interpretation made by an excellent conductor from Croatia, Mladen Tarbuk. … Tarbuk conducts in an articulate, intense manner, delivering his interpretation without precipitation, not only of the lyrical matter with a pathos that is penetrating yet not heavy, but also of the unprecedented, post-Wagnerian harmonisations that come with the lyrical matter. He also has the gift of knowing how to both push and carry a voice at the same time …


Orchestra of G. Verdi Teatro Lirico Trieste, Italy

Cronache di Trieste, April 2014, Maria Luisa Runti

On the podium, Mladen Tarbuk conducted the Orchestra of Giuseppe Verdi Teatro Lirico with interpretative rigor and harmonic colouring, underlining the dialogue between music and dance. The overture in which the sound of the bassoon and the ostinati appeared, followed by strings and horns was magnificent and it empowered the stage action with great intensity.


Orchestra of G. Verdi Teatro Lirico Trieste, Italy

Debussy and Stravinsky in the Mirror, Trieste Artecultura, June 2014, Pierpaolo Zurlo

Bravo to the conductor, Mladen Tarbuk from Croatia, who, even with an orchestra much smaller compared to what is written in score, succeeded in making the vivid music of the Sacre credible and effective.


Wiener Concert-Verein chamber orchestra
Vorarlberger Neue Zeitung, Katharina von Glasenapp

Mladen Tarbuk, in an expression of his fatherly feelings, combines comforting sonority in the low strings with a soft, high sound and pizzicato in the violins, sets high and low registers apart and lets his music inspired by Georg Trakl turn into a joyful dance with bells and an intense double bass solo: an atmospheric piece with all sorts of emotions and associations.


  1. Twist
  2. Sinfonia
  3. Ancient Croatian Music
  4. Fiddles Are Broken / Concerto for violin, viola and strings
  6. CONCERTO GROSSO 2&3. mov.



In addition to the whole repertoire listed here, over 150 pieces by Croatian composers, including operas and ballets.






Stage Works

  • Ballet Streetcar Named Desire (2005)

Works for Symphony Orchestra

  • Ancient Croatian Music (1991),
  • Concerto for flute (2002),
  • Sinfonia (2017)

Works for Wind Orchestra

  • Zildjian Concerto for percussion (1995),
  • Concertino for saxophone alto (1997),
  • Croatian Suite (1996),
  • Osor March (1994),
  • Re (2005),
  • Concerto for saxophone quartet based on the music from the ballet Streetcar Named Desire (2012)

Works for Chamber Orchestra

  • Passacaglia in D for string orchestra (1988),
  • Pastorala fosca for oboe, cembalo and strings (1990),
  • Medida del tiempo por relojes differentes, 5 songs for high soprano, marimba and strings (1990), Croatian Suite for harmonica orchestra (1993),
  • An die Gleichgestalteten for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble (1994),
  • A Trip around Austria (1994),
  • I light the candle up for countertenor, mixed choir and chamber orchestra (1995),
  • Mourning for Bartok (1996),
  • Concerto grosso for trumpet, horn, trombone and strings (1997),
  • Dreamers, 9 songs for ultra-high soprano and chamber ensemble (2000),
  • The Fiddles Are Broken for violin, viola and strings (2000),
  • Concerto for saxophone quartetpercussion and strings (2000),
  • Memories of Issa (2004-2008),
  • Prelude, Aria And Fugue for string orchestra (2005),
  • Ice Skating Polka for tamburitza orchestra (2008),
  • Concentus Zagrabiensis for violin, bassoon, cembalo, 3 oboes, 2 horns and strings (2010),
  • Twist (2015)

Chamber Music

  • Macedonian Fragments for clarinet, guitar and drum (1983),
  • Madrigal for soprano, flute and piano (1983),
  • Four Strophes for string quartet (1988),
  • A tre for string trio (1989),
  • Monochromia for flute quartet (1989),
  • Transfigurations for wind quintet (1989),
  • Osor’s Suite for wind quartet (1989),
  • La sonnambula for piano trio (1990),
  • Fisarmonica blues for harmonica quintet (1991),
  • Fo(u)r blue for saxophone quartet (1991),
  • Frivolous Variations for saxophone quartet (1992),
  • Die Todeskreise for viola, tuba, harmonica and percussion (1995),
  • Trio for clarinets (1996),
  • F. To Milena for soprano and 2 contrabasses (1997),
  • Sebastian In Dream for 4 violins, 3 violas, 2 celli and 1 contrabass (1999),
  • Peter’s Fanfares for 12 trumpets (1999),
  • First 50 years of Željko for wind octet (2000),
  • L’irreparable for flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, violin, viola and cello (2003),
  • renata.kruno for flute alto and tuba (2003),
  • Sarah’s Prayer for soprano, oboe and harp (2006),
  • Über glitzernden Kies for dramatic soprano, cello and piano (2007),
  • Bruno furioso for 4 violins, 3 violas, 2 celli and 1 contrabass (2008),
  • Eschendorf. Ein kroatisches Märchen, 10 movements for tuba quartet (2008),
  • Dalmatina for flute and vibraphone (2010),
  • The Cry of a Serf for two violins and piano (2010),
  • 4 Estancias for harmonica, flute, clarinet and string quintet (2012),
  • Sonata for tuba and piano (2012),
  • Mostar, 4 songs for soprano and piano (2013),
  • Ad confusionem versus for clarinet, trombone, piano, percussion, viola and contrabass (2013),
  • The Weeping of Jerusalem for piano, marimba and string quartet (2014),
  • AN6A for flute, violin and viola (2014),
  • -oso for clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2014),
  • Didgeridoo for saxophone alto and string quartet (2017)

Choir Music

  • Blue Sky for mixed choir (1985),
  • Adeste, hendecasyllabi for mixed choir (1988),
  • Discusiones amorosas, three Basque’s songs for mixed choir (1993),
  • Oh, My Soul for male octet (2003),
  • The Mast for male octet (2009),
  • Salve regina for children choir and organ (2011),
  • Haiku for mixed choir (2015),
  • Juda’s Confession for male choir (2016),
  • Mexicana for dramatic soprano, 2 female choirs, flute, trumpet, trombone and percussion (2016)

Works for Piano Solo

  • Variations on the Theme from Međimurje (1988),
  • Rebel’s Blues (2000),
  • For Vlado (2001),
  • Kate’s Kiss (2007),
  • Eva (2008),
  • 12 inventions (2012)

Works for Other Solo Instruments

  • De oriente oblito for clarinet (1984),
  • Rapsodico for viola (1987),
  • Danza di corde for violin (1990),
  • Martyre d’un jongleur for multi-performer (1990),
  • Fruits of passion for African marimba (1993),
  • 4 etudes for violin (2002),
  • Toccatina istriana for small mechanical organ (2006),
  • Suite for violoncello (2009)