Nova Schola Labacensis

Nova Schola Labacensis is a unique Slovene early music ensemble which preserves and continues the tradition of Schola Labacensis, the first contemporary Slovene early music consort. Nova Schola Labacensis performs European Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music but also Arabic muwashahat, Greek rembetiko or Slovene folk songs as well as more recent classical musical compositions.

The repertoire of the ensemble spreads from Medieval cantigas de Santa Maria, motets and folk songs, Renaissance chansons, lute songs, dances and diferencias, Baroque arias, madrigals, chaconnes and folias to African cumbées, Latino American milongas and Oriental music of Afghanistan, Iran, India, Turkey, various Arab countries, Romania, Greece and Balkan.

Let’s name some of the renowned forerunners of the Nova Schola Labacensis who were active in today’s Slovene territory: Giacomo Gorzanis, famous Renaissance lutenist from Trieste, Johannes Berthold Höffer, Baroque lutenist from Ljubljana and the founder of Academia Philharmonicorum Labacensis (1701), contemporary lutenist and lutemaker Pavel Šraj from Radovljica, the members of Schola Labacensis, especially its founder Janez Höfler and lutenists Anton Čare, Primož Soban and Tomaž Šegula, as well as Ivo Magherini from Dekani, one of the most renowned luthiers and connoisseurs of early music who made nearly all European lutes and guitars of Nova Schola Labacensis ensemble.

The members of the Nova Schola Labacensis ensemble are:

  • Tadeja Pance, soprano
  • Urška Kastelic, soprano
  • Ana Novak, soprano
  • Blažka Gaberc, Renaissance & Baroque recorders
  • Tomaž Šinigoj, viola d’amore & Baroque violin, Medieval alt fidel
  • Miha Šinigoj, viola da gamba & double bass, Medieval tenor fidel
  • Vasja Štukelj, Indian tabla, Turkish kudüm, frame drum, Arabic riq, Persian daf
  • Žiga Kroflič, Renaissance guitar, Turkish bağlama saz, Greek baglamas
  • Marko Angelski, Roman theorbo, Romantic guitar, mandolin
  • Boris Šinigoj, artistic director, archlute, Baroque guitar, vihuela, Arabic lute, Greek bouzouki, Afghan rubab

Nova Schola Labacensis ensemble has also performed with a great success at the international Festivals of early music SEVIQC, NYMBUS, Serate musicali Piranesi, Klassik auf Hum, Musical Evenings in St Donat and Nights in old Ljubljana Town, and also with many different thematic concerts at home and abroad in a musical cooperation with famous artists: mezzosoprano Bernarda Fink (Buenos Aires/Klagenfurt, Argentina/Austria), Renaissance lutenist James Bowen (San Diego, USA), teorbo player Andrej Jovanić (London/Belgrade, GB/Serbia), medieval multiinstrumentalist Janez Jocif (Škofja Loka, Slovenia), Baroque lutenist Borut Novakovič (Vicenza/Koper, Italy/Slovenia), vihuelist and Baroque lutenist Erazem Izidor Grafenauer (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Flamenco dancer Urška Centa (Madrid/Ljubljana, Spain/Slovenia), Nika Mlakar, virtuoso oriental dancer (Nova Gorica, Slovenia), flautist Jurka Zoroja, mezzosoprano Nadia Magister and jazz multiinstrumentalist Lado Jakša (Ljubljana, Slovenia).

We are grateful also to the former members of the Nova Schola Labacensis ensemble: soprano Maša Zorc and lutenists Minja Zorc, Maruša Mirnik, Amalija Maček, Gašper Jakovac and Vid Papež.

Orpheus Novus

Boris Šinigoj who regularely performs as a soloist on various plucked instruments found the main inspiration for his musical work in patristic philosophy where he borrowed the metaphor of Orpheus Novus to name his musical and philosophical attitude. He focuses on the revival of the basic practical and spiritual components in the modern musical perfomances according to Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque traditions in a passionate dialogue with Oriental and Byzantine modal heritage as well as modern jazz tradition. Thus he founded the ensembles Nova Schola Labacensis, Vagantes and Jazz Oud Quartet to unite his philosophical approach and enthusiasm for live interactive musical performance with emphasis on stylistic improvisation.

Mr. Šinigoj started to perform on Renaissance lute and to research original sources of the period even before graduating in classical guitar and philosophy at the Ljubljana University. The luthier Ivo Magherini introduced him to the leading lutenists Paul O’Dette and Hopkinson Smith. He also perfected his skills playing with the ensembles Dufay Collective and Camerata Trajectina. He appeared in solo recitals and in chamber ensemble concerts around Europe, USA, Canada and Egipt. Recently he has recorded the finest examples of early music for Arabic lute, Renaissance lute, Baroque lute, archlute and chitarrone on a CD entitled »Lutes« as the first edition in the series of »Orpheus Novus« (listen to selected pieces from the CD at He used to perform regulary with the  Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of RTV Slovenia, Slovenicum ensemble and Consortium Musicum. As one of the pioneers of early music in Slovenia he founded Duo Jubilet in the 80s with the late lyrical tenor singer Marjan Trček. The Duo recorded an anthological CD »Armonici e sacri Accenti«. Mr. Šinigoj is a former teacher of lute at the Ljubljana Academy of Music. He is currently the artistic director of the ensembles of Nova Schola Labacensis family and a teacher of lute, guitar and chamber music at Music school Ljubljana Vič Rudnik. He regularely performs on European and Arabic lutes, guitars and other plucked instruments such as Afghan rubab, Indian sarod and Japanese biwa.


Vagantes ensemble was conceived by lutenist and artistic director of Nova Schola Labacensis Boris Šinigoj as a smaller group of musicians within the Nova Schola Labacensis institution to take an active part in the revival of Medieval and Renaissance music as well as to perform world and folk music. The main intention of the Vagantes  ensemble is to develop a prolific musical dialogue between West and East performing the most representative musical compositions of both traditions.

The repertoire of the ensemble includes Slovenian Medieval songs like Riba Faronika (Fish Pharonica), Cantigas de Santa Maria, songs from Livre Vermeill, ballate by Francesco Landini, virelais by Guillaume Machaut and chansons of troubadurs and truvers. At the same time it also consists of the Andalusian muwashahat and Oriental music including Greek rembetiko, Romanian dances and compositions from Persian, Afghan and Indian classical traditions. The members of the Vagantes  ensemble are specialised to play various authentic musical instruments like Medieval fiddles, Renaissance recorders, Renaissance and Arabic lutes, Greek bouzouki and baglamas, Turkish saz baglama, Romanian cobza, Romantic guitar, Afghan and Kashgar rubabs, violin, cello, double bass,  Afghan sarinda, Indian tanpura, sarod and percussions like riqq, daf and tabla. The members of the ensemble are also active in the framework of Nova Schola Labacensis.

Jazz Oud Quartet

Jazz Oud Quartet is well known for its passionate improvisations on traditional tunes, a crossover between European jazz and Oriental traditions such as Arabic maqamat, Greek rembetiko, Iranian radif and Indian raga. In Jazz Oud Quartet the youthful energy and mature virtuosity form a unique musical experience where the sound of saxophone, clarinet and electric keyboards resonate with Arabic lute (oud), violin, cello and double bass in a vivid and unpredictable musical interaction.

The members of Jazz Oud Quartet are artistic director Boris Šinigoj on arabic lute (oud), jazz multiinstrumentalist and artistic co-director Lado Jakša on saxophones, clarinet, electric keyboards and piano and very talented and vivid brothers Tomaž Šinigoj on violin and Miha Šinigoj on cello and double bass. The ensemble first started as a Duo Jazz Oud founded by lutenist Mr. Šinigoj and saxophonist Mr. Jakša but it was soon successfully expanded to a Quartet with vigorous and skilful Šinigoj brothers on strings.

Jazz Oud Quartet regulary performs on the local jazz club scene and elsewhere, one of the most successful international concerts of the ensemble was a solo performance by its oud player and artistic director Mr. Šinigoj at the 14th International Summer Festival of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in August 2016.


Music is very closely connected with dance. Therefore the Nova Schola Labacensis ensemble regulary performs in cooperation with talented dancers. For instance, when the ensemble recently conceived the programme “Occident meets Orient” a very prolific cooperation with extremely talented Oriental dancer Nika Mlakar, the laureate of Oriental dance world competition in Moscow 2014, has started and she is now a regular member of the ensemble.

In the near future Nova Schola Labacensis institution plans to invite a group of young modern ballet dancers to cooperate in the “Jazz Oud Dance Project” with the choreographer Breda Sivec, a former dancer of Ksenija Hribar’s contemporary Dance Theatre Ljubljana. The project is based on the Tolstoian theme of War and Peace with special regards to the problem of migrations and traumatic events in the clash of Eastern and Western civilisations. Otherwise, a talented Slovenian flamenco dancer Urška Centa also used to perform with the ensemble Nova Schola Labacensis in the programme “Renaissance flamenco” with great success at the international Early music festivals.

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