The Nova Gorica Arts Centre (Kulturni dom Nova Gorica) was opened as a regional cultural and community centre back in 1980. Besides being a prominent concert and film theatre venue, it is nowadays also the most important concert producer for classical and early music in Western Slovenia. Besides using its own two event halls, the Arts Centre often sets up concerts at other venues, most regularly at the Kromberk Castle and the Franciscan Monastery at Kostanjevica, a hill just above Nova Gorica.
Its visual arts branch, the Nova Gorica City Gallery, is located within the Nova Gorica theatre building complex. The Arts Centre organises a range of other programmes, including the Pixxelpoint International Festival of Computer Art, the October Jazz festival, the International Saxophone Meeting and the Flores Musicae Festival of mediaeval and renaissance music. All in all, the Nova Gorica Arts Centre organises more than 500 events with almost 65,000 visitors per year.
The main entrance to the Nova Gorica Arts Centre, located in the centre of the town, 2016
The Arts Centre collaborates with numerous producers and associations. Very notable and extensive is the work done with the Slovene branch of Jeunesses Musicales International, dedicated to the promotion of music education in primary and secondary schools in the wider region.
In the field of classical music, the centre regularly cooperates with the Academy of Music, the Ljubljana Music and Ballet Conservatory, Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra, the RTV Slovenia Music Production Unit, Glasbena matica Ljubljana, Society of Slovene Composers, the Ljubljana Festival, Imago Sloveniae and others.
Its close regional partners are Prosvetno društvo Soča Kanal (responsible for contemporary music festival Kogoj’s Days), the Union of Primorska Music Schools, the Italy based Cultural Centre Gorizia, the association Controtempo Cormons (IT), also responsible for the Festival of Jazz & Wine of Peace, Ensemble Dramsam. the association Progetto Musica (IT), Centro Giuliano di Musica Antica (IT) and Ensemble Dramsam (IT).
Classical and early music programme
The longest running programme at the centre has been presenting classical music since 1980. Simply called the Concert Season (Glasbeni abonma), it welcomed many internationally acclaimed musicians and featured almost all leading Slovene musicians. Among them were soloists such as Irena Grafenauer, Marjana Lipovšek, Tatjana Blome (DE), Natalie Clein (UK) and Grigorij Žislin (RU), orchestras like the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra (RU), the Kiev Chamber Orchestra (UA), the Camerata Frankonia Chamber Orchestra (DE), the Vienna Concert-Verein Orchestra (AT), and various ensembles like the String Quartet Tchaikovsky (RU), The Dominant Quartet (RU), Slowind and Carmina Slovenica.
Of a similar nature but done on a smaller scale is the Castle harmonies (Grajske harmonije) cycle, taking place in the hall of the Kromberk Castle and co-produced with the Goriška Museum. These evenings with smaller chamber ensembles and soloists have been going on since 2012, and are a continuation of the 1990s and early 2000s series Goriška Muses, held at Dobrovo Castle. Some of the guests include Duo Claripiano, Jasna Corrado Merlak, Sebastian Bertoncelj, Ensemble Les Eléments (CH), Nadežda Tokareva (RU), Elena Graf (DE),
Another spatially outsourced cycle called Music from the Gardens of St. Francis is a series of concerts held in the beautiful surroundings of the Franciscan Monastery at Kostanjevica above Nova Gorica, designed primarily for young Slovene musicians.
In 2011 a new festival going by the name Days of Early Music was first set up in Nova Gorica (merging with the preexisting Royal Court Music International Festival). Organised in cooperation with well-established festivals Musica Cortese from Italy and Dvigrad from Croatian Istria, the festival was broad in scope, presenting geographically unbound interpretations of early music. The festival took place at the centre itself, yet also at the Hall of the Franciscan Monastery of Kostanjevica, the Villa Vipolže manor, the Kromberk Castle and some other venues in the region.
Apart from these international festivals, Nova Gorica Arts Centre also co-produced two cross-border music festivals with Italian partners, called Between the Sounds of Places and ECHOS - Cross-border Echoes.
A concert by the renowned Croatian pianist Lovro Pogorelić, taking place at the Nova Gorica Arts Centre, 2014
Popular music programme
Since 1996, in collaboration with the Nova Gorica Arts Centre, the Nova Gorica Music School organises the International Saxophone Meeting, a summer school plus an accompanying festival held in and around the city.
Since the early 2000s the centre has also been setting up a festival for jazz, blues, gospel and ethno music. In 2015, this was re-established as the October Jazz festival. Some of the staged artists were Oliver Lake, Evan Parker, Bob Brozman (US), Katie Graham (US), Eric Sardinas & Big Motor (US), The Fonda/Stevens Group (US), Ken Vandermark (US), Zlatko Kaučič, Vasko Atanasovski Trio, Mia Žnidaršič, etc. Alongside all of this, there are many standalone concerts that range from rock and pop to world music, folk, etc
Milko Lazar and Zlatko Kavčič, both internationally renowned musicians as well as recipients of the Prešeren Award, performing at the Nova Gorica Arts Centre (the concert was later release on a CD called Ena/One), 2013
Film, multimedia and other programmes
The Film Theatre programme is more or less focused on art film, and the centre is a part of the Art Cinema Network.
The bar, operated by the centre, is also the place for various lectures, round tables, photographic exhibitions, smaller concerts, etc. A vurious part of the programme is a series of live interviews with remarkable people, from mountaineers to missionaries, from film authors (who accopany their film screenings) to photoraphers.
The Arts Centre is paying much attention to musical education and collaborates with all the elementary and secondary schools in the wider region. Each year, they organise around one hundred and fifty educational or entertainment programmes for the young.
The small hall of the Nova Gorica Arts Centre, usually used for film screenings, 2014
Karlheinz 'Carlitos' Miklin & Quinteto Argentina (At, AR) performing at October jazz, a small jazz festival held in the town of Nova Gorica, 2014