Sanja Romić Dražić is a Serbian oboist, one of the most active oboists of the younger generation in the Balkans.
»Sanja wanted all or nothing«… said Serbian writer Momo Kapor in one of his books. A sentence that describes a lot of her character. Since the young age, she had a variety of hobbies and activities that shaped her personality. Constant motion and action became a distinctive part of her personality.
Her interest in music emerged during primary school and developed tremendously in music school with her first oboe teacher, prof. Žužana Egić. Studying in the period of the 90s, while former Yugoslavia was falling apart and people were fighting to survive, was not productive ground to develop as an artist. Art was relegated to the background. There was no source of information or healthy interaction with the outer world, no scholarship for abroad with the excuse that you will not be back anyway. The oboe school in Serbia had no entry into the world of changes and rapid musical development. With the bombing going on, Sanja was determined to leave the country and study abroad. And there was a wish to bring all the new tendencies and knowledge to the younger generations of her native country. Once.
Hungary's and Budapest's famous Liszt Ferenc Academy opened up a cultural exchange, treasures of Hungarian music tradition, diversity of concerts, students from all around the world, and high-class professors and artists. Learning Hungarian and working hard, Sanja managed to enter easily into the Hungarian musical society where she took part in different musical projects of the Academy ensembles, as well as professional orchestras on national and international tours in Europe and China. She won an International Scholarship of the Soros Open Society Institute and one private funding while in the class of professors Peter Pongratz and Gabor Dienes. Apart from her regular studies, Sanja was actively taking part in masterclasses of distinguished oboe players such as Han de Vries, Gordon Hunt, Laszlo Hadady, Lencses Lajos, Stefan Schilli, David Walter and Emanuel Abbuhl.
An encounter with professor Stefan Schilli causes her move to Hungary's neighbouring country, Austria, and further studies at the renowned Mozarteum University in Salzburg. Being a part of the newly established oboe class, Sanja found herself among one of the best oboe students from all over the world. This was an amazing experience where school's national determination and style of playing had no importance. Everyone was regarded as a unique musical personality with their own ways of expression and music- making. It was the true idea of an open mind that she appreciated a lot. That stayed with her as something to strive for in music.
Individuality and expression of the self through music
The best way to approach this idea was to work on her own, after the studies.
Slovenia – the first job and another neighbouring country. An opera challenge and new things to learn. New musical surrounding fulfilled with the joy of the seaside, skiing, and hiking. The beautiful nature that inspires, new people to meet, Slovenian orchestras and ensembles to work with. Nevertheless, connections with Salzburg and its ensembles are still there. It is like a never-ending circle of experience that is getting bigger and bigger. Filled with some good and some bad moment. Altogether being part of life and creating Sanja as she is now. Like a true Sagittarius, always on the move, a bit unsettled, vivacious. Emotional, fond of people, friends, and smiles.
Life is a miracle and it does bring you things you would never expect…
Some years later, there she is. Back at her home country, becoming a member of the best orchestra in the region, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. Highly praising their actions for the classical music in Serbia. An ideology that has filled with her new ideas connected to the traditions of her native country and countries she has lived in, the influence of the people she has been working with, who inspired her. Accomplished projects and more new ones to come. All with the idea of promoting oboe as a little- known instrument in the Balkans, usable in different musical genres and with great expressive possibilities.
With this idea, Sanja was truly born as herself, an oboe player, an artist. There she made her own musical path that she is stepping on. Growing daily in interactions with ensembles and artists she is collaborating with throughout Europe. With the idea of music. Teaching and creating the concept. Handing over her experience to the younger generations of oboists. Helping them make their musical path with oboe less roundabout than hers was.
Action is life. It's what moves her and keeps her alive. And being home. For Sanja, it is not where you live or work. It is not one place. It is »all or nothing«, an endless space within you, a big breath of fresh air, an easiness of movement, and a possibility to express herself and the music that she carries within, wherever she is and wherever she goes.