Dora Pejačević

Feminale of Music

You can see the drawing of a young woman.

Dora Pejačević was the first woman in Croatia to compose orchestral pieces and is considered a pioneer of the fin de siècle in her native country. She is one of the important female composers of the beginning 20th century.

Pejačevic is born on September 10, 1885 in Budapest, Austria-Hungary. She spent her youth at her parents' castle Našice in Croatia. Through private lessons at the castle she receives a comprehensive education. In addition to her mother tongue, she is fluent in five other languages, studies musicological, philosophical and political texts and reads the classics of world literature, typically in the original language.


Dora's Mother is a pianist and singer and also composes. The numerous house concerts in the Našice castle were important events in Croatian society at that time. Dora and her siblings also perform here. Already at the age of twelve Dora composes the piece »Berceuse« for piano. Later she continued her studies as a composer, mainly autodidactically; she went to Zagreb, Munich and Dresden for private studies.
Dora is quite successful during her lifetime. Her works are performed, for example, parts of her symphony op. 41 are premiered at a concert in the »Großer Musikvereins-Saal« in Vienna. The name »D. Pejačević« is printed in the programme booklet, and the newspaper critic describes his surprise when a woman appears on stage as the composer during the final applause – in addition, he praises the work, which is later performed in its entirety in Dresden. No less a person than the conductor Arthur Nikisch is interested in the symphony and would like to perform it. Unfortunately he dies before he can realize his plan.


The complete works include songs, piano pieces, chamber music and orchestral works. In terms of music history, the main focus is on late romanticism, enriched by impressionistic harmonies and occasional echoes of Slavic folkloric melody. Soon after Pejačevic death, her work was forgotten and rediscovered in the 1980s, spurred on by the research of the Croatian musicologist Koraljka Kos.

Music pieces

Overture for large orchestra in D minor, Op. 49 published by TheJapanSinfonia: Hisayoshi Inoue conducts The Japan Sinfonia, recorded live at the Suginami Koukaido Hall, Tokyo on 28.09.2015.

Impromptu for piano solo, Op. 9a published by Art Of Sound And Vision and played by Roland Grlica (piano), recorded at the Croatian Music Institute in Zagreb on 01.06.2018. 

Sonata for violin and piano, Op.26: 2nd movement, Andante con moto published and played by DUO SCHMID – CHERNICHKA: Heidi Schmid (violin) and Tatiana Chernichka (piano), live recording.

Musica Femina International (EU Project 2018–2020): Video Dora PEJAČEVIĆ (1885–1923) (10 min.)

The video, produced by the cellist and husband of the pianist, Tobias Stosiek, about Dora Pejačević was created for the exhibition MusicaFemina – from shadow to light, which in 2018 at the plant orangerie Schönbrunn became the starting point of the Creative Europe project MusicaFemina – women made music. Natasa Veljkovic teaches at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. She has recorded the composer's complete works for solo piano with cpo.

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