Nikica Kalogjera

Born: May 19th, 1930, Belgrade (Yugoslavia, nowadays Serbia)
Died: January 27th, 2006, Zagreb (Croatia)
Nationality: Croatian

In Zagreb, Nikica Kalogjera, the older brother of Stipica Kalogjera, studied medicine at university as well as composing and conducting at the local conservatory. In 1952, he started his professional career in music, when he became a pianist for Radio Zagreb. From the 1950s onwards, he was one of the most productive and successful composers / arrangers of pop songs; some of the best-known of his compositions include ‘Nima Splita do Splita’ (sung by Tereza Kesovija & Toni Kljaković), ‘Serbus, Zagreb moj’ (by Toni Leskovar), and ‘Sviraj mi, sviraj’ (by Tereza Kesovija). Other artists for which Kalogjera composed, include Vice Vukov, Ivo Robić, Ljupka Dimitrovska, and Miro Ungar. He composed many songs which participated in local Yugoslavian festivals, including those of Zagreb, Split, and Opatija. In 1984, he was commissioned to compose the official music to the 1984 Winter Olympics held in Sarajevo.

In 1972, Kalogjera composed the Yugoslavian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, ‘Muzika i ti’, which was performed by his protégé Tereza Kesovija; Kalogjera wrote a beautiful arrangement to the song and conducted it himself in Edinburgh, where Yugoslavia finished ninth. Between 1986 and 1989, the Yugoslavian preselection was won by an entry submitted by RTV Zagreb, the Croatian broadcaster; all of those entries were conducted by Nikica Kalogjera: ‘Željo moja’ by Doris Dragović in 1986, ‘Ja sam za ples’ by Novi Fosili in 1987, ‘Mangup’ by Silver Wings in 1988, and ‘Rock me’ by Riva in 1989. With the exception of the 1986 entry, all songs were co-arranged by Kalogjera, most significantly the 1989 effort, which beat all opposition and was the only Yugoslavian song ever to win the Eurovision Song Contest. After the break-up of Yugoslavia, Kalogjera was a conductor in some of the editions of the Croatian Eurovision heats, his last participation being in 2003.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Nikica Kalogjera will be published on this website


Songs conducted
1972: Muzika i ti
1986: Željo moja
1987: Ja sam za ples
1988: Mangup
1989: Rock me