Mladen Tarbuk is one of the most versatile artists who is equally successful as a composer, conductor, writer, educator and broadcaster. Tarbuk was a regular guest conductor at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf – Duisburg between 2004 and 2009. He has been performing with many renowned orchestras and opera houses, such as Hungarian State Opera, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Orquesta sinfonica de Estado Mexico, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Wiener Konzert Verein Orchester, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra sinfonica Siciliana Palermo, Teatro Verdi Trieste, State Opera Prague, Symphony Orchestra of Hungarian Radio, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and many others as well.
At the turn of the century, Tarbuk had been the Intendant of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, the main opera and ballet house of the region. During his tenure, he raised the quality of opera production thus securing a wider international reputation of the main national house, also through collaboration with internationally renowned stage directors and other stage artists. There were numerous standard repertoire premieres and Croatian and regional premieres of several operas that revived the interest of the audiences for opera and classical music. Tarbuk’s prolific career has been significantly enriching musical life of his native Croatia through his conducting opera productions and teaching at the Music Academy of Zagreb, presenting, hosting and conducting concerts for youth and children that were broadcast by Croatian Radio and conducting concerts during the International Symphonic Concert Cycle Saturdays at Lisinski. As a result of his long-term collaboration with the Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra, he has recorded hundreds of pieces of music. He arranged, revised, edited, performed and recorded thousands of pages of Croatian music, both old and contemporary and has also helped building the Croatian Army Symphonic Wind Orchestra into a respectable ensemble of the highest standard.
As a composer, Tarbuk has been present internationally since 1990, when the International Gaudeamus Festival in Amsterdam has premiered his piece Martyr d’un jongleur. At the first International Composers Competition in Vienna in 1991, chaired by Claudio Abbado, his composition Medida del tiemporeceived a recommendation for performance. In 1993, he won two first prizes in international competitions Ernst Vogel and Tolosa as well as numerous Croatian awards (Šulek, Slavenski, Papandopulo, Academy Award KD Lisinski). His compositions have been performed in major festivals of contemporary music, among which are Enescu Festival Bucharest, The World Music Days, Europamusicale Munich, Musicora and Le Temps de soufflé Paris, Trieste Prima, World Saxophone Congress Glasgow, Musikprotokoll Graz, Moscow Autumn, Music Biennale Zagreb. His works appear in many recordings by labels such as HoneyRock, Orpheus and Cantus. His ballet Streetcar Named Desire opened The World Days of Music 2005 in Zagreb. His opus consists of 90 songs and various works from solo and chamber music to a large symphonic and theatrical forms. Tarbuk lectures composition, orchestral conducting, orchestra and music theory at the Music Academy in Zagreb. Tarbuk became the Music Program Director of the Dubrovnik Festival in 2012 and was Artistic Director of the Dubrovnik Festival from 2014 to 2017.