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Milenko Stefanović (born 19 February 1930 in Belgrademarker, Yugoslaviamarker - present day Serbiamarker) is the most famous Serbianmarker and Yugoslav clarinetist: a prize-winner in the international competitions in Moscow, Munich, Geneva and Prague, soloist who has achieved significant international career, long-time principal clarinetist of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra and Professor of Clarinet at the University of Arts in Belgrade and University of Pristina.


Born in a family of amateur musicians, he started to study music at the age of five (violin, piano and, later, clarinet). Stefanović graduated from the Belgrade Music Academy (later named The Faculty of Music in Belgrade) as a student of renowned Professor Bruno Brun (1957). He completed there, with the same teacher, his postgraduate studies and was awarded the Magister of Arts degree (1971). Additionally, he studied chamber and orchestral playing in Salzburgmarker, Austria in the class of Igor Markevich, Erich Leinsdorf and Fernand Oubradous.


Stefanović won many awards at different Yugoslav and international musical competitions, including the First Prize at the Competition of Young Musical Artists of Yugoslavia (Ljubljanamarker, 1956) and several prizes at international competitions in Moscow (1957), Munich (1957), Geneva (1957), and Prague (1959). He was also rewarded the Award of the Yugoslav Radio-Television (Ohridmarker, 1972), Award of the Community for Culture of the City of Belgrade for the most successful musical creation (1975, 1980, 1981), "7th July" Prize (1962), the highest state's prize for the arts, as well as many other honors.

Performance career

Stefanović was the principal clarinetist of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra (1954-1976). Apart from holding that position, he also achieved a huge international success as a soloist and chamber music player.

During his long career, Stefanović has played in Europe, North America and Africa. As a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician he has collaborated with some of the most significant musicians of his time: Aaron Copland, Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel, Leopold Stokowski, Kiril Kondrashin, Jovan Šajnović, Anton Nanut, Vančo Čavdarski, Živojin Zdravković, Oskar Danon, Vojislav Simić, Eric Hope, Yevgeni Korolyov, Michel Dussault, Andreja Preger, Zorica Dimitrijević-Stošić, Zagreb String Quartet and many others.

Stefanović was also a jazz musician - soloist, composer and member of the Belgrade Jazz Trio.

He has recorded for the radio and television stations in Yugoslavia and abroad (Moscow, Rome, Paris, London, Berlin, etc.).

Distinguished Yugoslav composers Aleksandar Obradović, Petar Bergamo, Dušan Radić, Miodrag Ilić, Petar Ozgijan, Dejan Despić, and others dedicated to him their works.

Milenko Stefanović has been esteemed by the critics very much. Despite the great number of his appearances, he has the honor to be one of the very few musicians who have never been reviewed negatively by the critics.

Teaching career

Milenko Stefanović with a student (2007).
Stefanović has been very successful as a teacher, too. His former students hold teaching positions in music schools and universities and play in orchestras in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.

He started his teaching career as a clarinet teacher at the Josip Slavenski School of Music (1967-1993).

He had been teaching at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade since 1976, when he was appointed upon recommendation of the previous teacher, Professor Brun, until his retirement in 1995.

Stefanović has been teaching at the Faculty of Arts of Pristina since 1975, when he was one of the founders of its Music Division.

He was also a Vice-Chancellor (1985-1989) and member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Arts in Belgrade .

Stefanović wrote several textbooks for the clarinet.


He is a member and former president of the Association of Musical Artists of Serbia and was president or member of juries at many Yugoslav and several international competitions.

Selected recordings


" The brilliant Yugoslav clarinettist Milenko Stefanovic" (The Guardian Journal)

" Yugoslav clarinetist number one Milenko Stefanovic has played his solo part in Obradovic's Concerto with technical brilliancy and deep expression." (Politika)

" Clarinettist of sensitive gifts

It was a pleasure to hear the Yugoslav clarinettist again last night...he showed a quite outstanding technical facility. Listening to his performances... one realised that he is not just another fine player but an artist endowed with unusually comprehensive and sensitive gift of interpretation." (The Daily Telegraph)

" Outstanding clarinet

...the musical event of evening was Milenko Stefanovic's performance of Mozart'sClarinet Concerto. The soloist's breath control, tonal quality and mastery of phrase and paragraph was such that the work seemed to be taking shape on the spot. I have heard a few outstanding performances of this work, but never one so inspired as this." (Music and Musicians)

" Romanticism flowed at full tide... exciting" (The Guardian Journal)

" Brilliant virtuosity" (Music and Musicians)

" A magnificent...strong and brilliant." (The Yorkshire Post)

" Listening Milenko Stefanovic performing we have considered the confirmed estimation which put him among the most talented clarinetists of now days." (Politika)

"The middle items of the concert were Debussy's Rhapsody for Clarinet and Copland's Concerto for Clarinet, Strings, Harp and Piano. In those works we recognized again Milenko Stefanovic as an excellent clarinetist and interpreter. Even better than in Debussy was the young master in Copland's work. This interesting fresh and original work he played with all technical virtuosity and with a radiant tone." (Delo)

" Virtuosity with the clarinet

Milenko Stefanovic, the clarinettist, must be a tremendous asset to the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra for he is remarkably virtuoso performer... he seemed to be performing on an instrument which was at times akin to the trumpet at others to whispering oboe... breadth and humanity in Schumann's 'Phantasiestucke' where the clarinet's tone took on a sunny tinge, and the long, voluptuous phrases of Brahms's sonata in E flat were generously produced.Debussy's first Rhapsody was always diverting and a sensuous tone increased its romantic elements. An unaccompanied work 'Concerto Abbreviato' ...was technical tour the force." (The Daily Telegraph)

" Clarinet player of a wide range

...Mr. Stefanovic has a tone of enormous range and power... He has - what so many clarinet players lack - the best asset of all: a stout pair of lungs. But his breathing into the instrument, its warmth of tone especially in lowest registers and his impeccable phrasing, atamp him more particularly as an outstanding musician." (The Yorkshire Post)

"The interpretation of the Brahms' Quintet was remarkable in the sense of perfection sinking into the refined texture of the strings, which was due to clarinetist Milenko Stefanovic who has given in his performing almost a dematerialized vocal line in which Brahms' musical lyricism has gained a new poetical and sounding dimension." (Politika)

"Milenko Stefanovic's last recital confirmed his renome of a perfect artist of his instrument. He exhibited his highest technical and musical quality. With much taste and invention his well constructed programme enabled him to point out his exceptional affinity towards twetieth century music, and in the same time to stress its variety..." (Borba)


Two members of Stefanović's family are also well-known musicians: his son Predrag is a clarinetist and his daughter-in-law Jovana is a composer. Both of them have built significant music careers. Beside that, they are also very esteemed as pedagogues. They have been teaching at the Josip Slavenski School of Music in Belgrade.


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