Clarinet player and composer Vilko Ovsenik passed away on Friday at the age of 88. Dedicated as he was to music, he composed around one thousand songs, was a member of the Vaški quintet, and left a deep mark in the legacy of Oberkrainer music as the first clarinetist in the Avsenik Brothers Ensemble.
One of the main architects of Slovene Oberkrainer music, Vilko Ovsenik finished clarinet studies at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana in 1961. Apart from playing in the Vaški quintet and perhaps his most noticeable work with the Avsenik ensemble, Ovsenik also played in Bojan Adamič’s Dance Orchestra.
The most played composers of Oberkrainer music in Europe
He was also the brother of Slavko Avsenik, even though the two brothers had different last names. The old family name was Ovsenik, which was changed to Avsenik during WWII. The two brothers were born as Avsenik. Vilko later changed his last name according to his father’s wish that at least one of the brothers preserves the old family name. The two brothers, Slavko and Vilko, are considered to be the most played and sold composers of Oberkrainer music in Europe.
Out of the one thousand songs bearing his signature, almost 800 were written for the Avsenik Brothers Ensemble, which he established together with his brother Slavko back in 1953. When he stopped playing in the ensemble, Vilko started working from the background, composing and arranging songs for the ensemble. In 1968 he started working for the newly created Helidon record label, in which he remained until retirement.
Many fans from across the world
One of the most famous songs of the two brothers is without doubt Na Golici (Trumpet Echoes), which has had 600 remakes and is considered to be the most played instrumental piece in the world. The Avsenik brothers took the music of the Carniola region to some of the biggest concert halls in the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic. The ensemble has more than 10,000 imitators and 150 Avsenik music fan clubs. The Avsenik Brothers Ensemble sold 32 million records, performed at more than 10.000 concerts, and received 31 gold, one platinum and one diamond album in its 40 years of existence.
With his music knowledge, approach and refined sense, Vilko combined folk with virtuosity at the highest level. The family’s wish is to bid a last farewell to Vilko within the family circle.
Source: RTVSLO.si | M. K.; translated by K. J.