There are numerous similarities in the biographies of these two musicians: both are sons of cult musical families (Matija – son of Arsen Dedic and Gabi Novak, Vasil – son of Zafir Hadžimanov and Senka Veletanlić), both born in the same year, both of them starting to play the piano at age five, both at the same time decide to enter the jazz Academy, both of them have made a successful jazz career and both were declared as the best jazz pianists in their countries.

Apart from biographical coincidences, Matija and Vasil are completely authentic musical personalities and their poetry is fundamentally different. While Matija represents the best of contemporary jazz and modern improvised music, Vasil combines the Balkan traditional rhythms and fusion of contemporary Western style styles from jazz to fun and world music.

It is almost unbelievable that until 2016. they never played together despite the fact that they and their families are very well acquainted both privately and artistically.

For Elvis Stanic, a musician and artistic director of Liburnia Jazz, this fact was unacceptable, and he invited them to the Jazz Ex Tempore project to finally "crossed pianos." Even Matija and Vasil wondered why they didn't do it before, and they came to Opatija and played their first, now already legendary concert in the Crystal Hall of the Hotel Kvarner . After Opatija's premiere, Matija and Vasil continued their cooperation and held a number of concerts in Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.

This year, they return to Opatija, the place where the idea was born.

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Matija Dedić

Born in Zagreb 1973., Matija started playing classic piano at the age of five. After he finished Music High School «Vatroslav Lisinski», he went to Graz to Jazz Academy where he graduated in 1997.

Since he was raised in the family surounded by pop and traditional musicians, he began to listen to all kinds of music very early, soon discovering jazz and finding that it alowes him apstract and more personal musical point of view.

Over the years he played in allmost every european country and USA with names like Alvin Queen, Martin Drew, Ron Ringwood, Boško Petrovic, Marc Murphy Band, Patrizia Conte, David Gazarov, Gianni Basso, Miles Griffith, Onder Fokan, J.L. Rassinfosse, Anca Parghel, Tomi Emanuel, Lenny White, Kendrick Scott, Jim Madison, Jeff Ballard, Vicente Archer, Buster Wiliams, L.arry Grenadier, N.H.O. Pedersen, Ron Mcclure, Tamara Obrovac, Marek Patrman, Salvatore Maiore, Antonio Sanchez, Scott Colley, Gene Jackson, Bojan Z, John Hollenback, Joris Dudli, Rachid Zeroual, Bruno Castellucci, Catia Werneck, Howard Curtis, Melissa Aldana, Johannes Weidenmueller, Chris Cheek, Jonathan Blake, Matt Brewer etc.

He writtes music for television and theatre, and also occasionaly playes with some big pop names on Croatian music scene.

In July 2002. Matija performed on the Montreux Jazz Festival in France as one of the 11 finalists, that were chosen from more than 400 pianists around the world.


Vasil Hadžimanov

Vasil Hadžimanov, like Matija, was born in the famous musical family. In addition to his father and mother Zafira Hadžimanov Shadows Veletanlić, he started very early with classical music education.

At 19 he went to Berklee College of Music, where he graduated in 1995. During his studies at Berklee, he performed with big names in American music, like Matt Garrison, Rick Peckham, Leroy Jenkins (in his rap opera "Funky Faust" ), George Garzone, Ayib Dieng, David Gilmore, David Binney, Chris Cheek, and with many musicians from the region: Jovan Maljokovic Balkan Salsa Band, Dusko Gojkovic, Steve Gut, Mimo Mitrovic, Bisera Veletanlic, Zafir and Senka Hadžimanov, Rambo Amadeus.
After years spent in the United States, Vasil decided to return to his homeland and establish his own Vasil Hadzimanov Band. His idea of ​​combining traditional Balkan rhythms and western, modern musical styles (jazz, funk, world music ...) in his own music is completely authentic with a new and fresh approach.

VH works with in film music industry,  in a documentary by Goran Paskaljevic's "011 Belgrade", as well as in the movie by Rasha Andric "When I grow up I'll be Kangaroo".
After the release of the album "Kafanki" it was followed by a successful European tour, several music awards, as well as performances with the legendary Joe Zawinul and Nigel Kennedy.


Friday, 05. 07. 2019., 21:30 h , Open Air Theatre