Academician Dimitrije Stefanović passed away

It is with deep regret that the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA) informs the public of the passing of Academician Dimitrije Stefanović (b. Pančevo, 25 November 1929) aged 91, one of the most significant Serbian musicologist and philologist who substantially contributed to the study of spiritual – Byzantine and old Serbian music on 1 August.

He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, Department of German Language (English and German language) in 1955 while also graduating from the Academy of Music in Belgrade, Department of the History of Music in 1956. His MA and PhD he received from The University of Oxford in 1960 in 1967, respectively. During his postdoctoral studies, he worked with renowned musicologists – Byzantologists such as Egon Wellesz, Henry Tillyard and Oliver Strunk. He gave lectures on the Byzantine and old Slavonic music at the Faculty of Music of the University of Oxford and participated in various international scientific conferences and congresses across Europe and the United States of America.

He was elected a SASA corresponding member in 1976 and a full member in 1985. At the Institute of Musicology SASA, he became a principal research fellow in 1958, followed by being its director from 1979-2001. In the period 2007-2015, he was SASA general secretary, while he took up the position of the secretary of the SASA Department of Social Sciences from 2017-2019. He was also a member of JAZU (Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts) (from 1986) and a corresponding member of SASA (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) (from 1987), as well as the secretary, and vice-president of the Department of Stage Arts and Music of Matica Srpska.

Academician Dimitrije Stefanović made a considerable contribution to the study of musicology. Owing to his work, a large body of medieval documents was discovered, transcribed, critically evaluated and published, resulting in shifting the date of the old Serbian music written beginnings to the early 15th century. Along with numerous studies (approximately 200 texts) in Serbian, English, German, French and Russian, he prepared three musical notations of the traditional Karlovac chant by Branko Cvejić, edited several international scientific conference proceedings, and reviewed a number of musicological monographs and collections.

In addition to his work on the study of Orthodox church music, he was continuously engaged in performing old and new church music. He conducted the Serbian Church Choral Society of Pančevo, occasionally the First Belgrade Choral Society and the choir of the Seminary of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade. He was the assistant conductor of Belgrade Academic Choir ‘Branko Krsmanović’. He managed the Belgrade Madrigalists Choir. Since its establishment in 1969, he oversaw the work of the Study Choir of the Institute of Musicology SASA.

He was a recipient of the Order of St. Sava of the First Grade in 1990, orders of Russian and Romanian patriarchs, several charters and recognitions of achievement of eparchy bishops, Order of the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1991, Golden plaque of Musical Youth of Yugoslavia and Dositej Obradović Award in 2018.

Not only does his passing represent a loss to the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts but the entire Serbian art and culture.