We had the good fortune of connecting with Iva Ugrcic and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Iva, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The LunART Festival has been a vision of mine for a very long time. As a young musician from the Ex-Yugoslav Republic of Serbia, I experienced many troubling situations that nearly stopped me from pursuing music. While poor political and economic situations were among the issues that ultimately led to my departure of Serbia, one of the most troubling problems I faced was gender inequality, an issue that would follow me through my Master studies in France and Germany.

I moved to the United States in 2014 to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The intent of my dissertation “Doina Rotaru – The Voice of Romania,” was to introduce this extraordinary Romanian woman composer to the U.S., giving her music the recognition it so richly deserves. The immensely positive responses I received validated my belief that there are many women artists who have much to say, but have not had the opportunity to share their voices with the world. This was the catalyst for the creation of the LunART Festival.

The first-ever LunART Festival was held in June 2018 Madison, Wisc., with the mission to support, inspire, promote, and celebrate women in the arts through public performances, exhibitions, workshops, and interdisciplinary collaboration. The LunART Festival has a vision of raising awareness of the position of women in the arts through engaging, accessible concerts and events. The artistic goal was to share works of women artists and ensure the progress of women in the arts will continue to flourish and grow, overcoming issues of gender inequity in the arts.

Since its launch, LunART has transformed from a three-day festival to an organization offering year-round educational and outreach events both online and in-person, capstoned by a week-long annual festival featuring women artists from around the world. Audiences have come to expect innovative programs, representing creative women of all ages and walks of life. Since 2018, LunART has showcased over 300 women artists from various disciplines (music, poetry, dance, theater, literature, visual arts), both historical and contemporary.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My first contact with the flute occurred while I was returning from my ballet lesson (I attended ballet classes for eight years). While I was taking off my rigid ballet shoes in the classroom at the school of music where the classes were held, a young flute professor entered the room. It was the first time I heard those sounds that were so mesmerizing to me. My fascination with the sound and the beauty of this instrument was instantaneous ­­­­­—love at first sight. Those mere few minutes were enough to make me give up ballet lessons and start learning to play the flute. I cannot express the pleasure and thrill which I felt upon the first real contact with my instrument. That magic has continued all my life!

Since then, I completed my bachelor studies in Belgrade (Serbia), masters in Paris (France), and received my doctoral degree form the University of Wisconsin – Madison (USA). I am a musician who has worn many hats throughout my professional career: I am a flutist, teacher, artistic and executive director, entrepreneur, freelance musician and recording artist, among others. The road to getting here was bumpy but worthwhile.

As mentioned in the previous section, the problem of gender inequality and inequity in the arts almost led me to stop pursuing music. Thankfully, my love for art and inability to imagine doing anything else in my life, in addition to amazing people I met on the way that offered their support and knowledge, helped me find my creative voice and my place under the sun. This thread can be seen in all areas of my work: solo and performance career, collaborative projects, and entrepreneurial endeavors.

A career path of a musician is not easy but it is fun, adventurous, challenging, and filled with emotions. No one is successful without without investing a lot of work, thought, and creativity in their work.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
No one achieves success alone, and I consider myself lucky to have been surrounded by amazingly loving and creative people.

Even though following the path of a professional musician was the least expected one, my family supported my choice with all their hearts and love. Their support and understanding is the most precious gift I could ask for and their love helped me become who I am today.

I met my husband Dave Alcorn soon after moving to the US and since then, he has been holding my hand every step of the way, sharing every smile and tear with me. He encourages me when I have doubts, and motivates me when I am feeling uninspired.

Last but not least, there have been so many people that were so generous with me, offering their knowledge, wisdom, support, time, and patience. My wholehearted thank you and appreciation goes to all of my mentors, teachers, and colleagues, who have inspired me, challenged me, and opened doors to so many opportunities and adventures. I am constantly inspired by the amazing work of my fellow artists, reminding me that there is no limit to creativity.

Website: https://www.ivaugrcic.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivaugrcic/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-iva-ugrcic-575b21185/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iva.ugrcic

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizfj7h45q6WRLmXSlvDXJw

Image Credits
Beth Skogen, Martin Jenich, Hillary Shave, Anya Kubilus

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