Founded in 1945, the Society of Slovene Composers (DSS) is a voluntary professional association of composers and musicologists. Currently the society consists of 141 members.
The Society of Slovene Composers (DSS) aims to instigate the creation of new Slovene music, to publish scores as well as CDs and tapes, to organise concerts of contemporary Slovene music, to cooperate with similar institutions abroad, and to represent and promote Slovene composers, providing legal protection on their behalf and representing them in dealings with foreign publishers.
Before the DSS came into existence, Slovene composers only sporadically joined forces in smaller, more or less organised groups. The performances and the publishing of their works were taken care of by important cultural institutions and music magazines: Glasbena matica (1872–1945), Novi akordi [New Chords] (1901–14), Pevec [The Singer] (1921–38), Zbori [The Choirs] (1925–34), and Nova muzika [New Music] (1928). In the beginning of the 1930s a few composers, among them Slavko Osterc, became members of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) and started working systematically on promoting Slovene composers. The founding of the DSS opened up significant new opportunities for Slovene composers: the society started out by organising public performances, then in 1954 it widened its field of activity by incorporating a publishing section (Edicije DSS) and establishing contacts with other European publishing houses.
So far, presidents of DSS have been: Karol Pahor, Matija Bravničar, Vilko Ukmar, Danilo Švara, Uroš Krek, Dane Škerl, Bojan Adamič, Pavel Mihelčič, Janez Gregorc, Marko Mihevc, Jani Golob, Tomaž Habe, and Nenad Firšt.
Under its wing, individual sections take care of different music genres: these range from the Section for Church Music (1999), the Young Composers' Club (2000), the Section for Jazz and Popular Music (2001) and the Section for Choral Music (2001) to the Section for Music in Teaching (2002) and the Section for Electro-acoustic Music (2002).
Since 1965 concerts at the society's Concert Atelier have offered first-class world premières of new works by Slovene composers. To date there have been 380 concert performances, many in conjunction with exhibitions of work by Slovene painters and sculptors.
Every year the DSS commissions a number of new works, which are subsidised by the Ministry of Culture. This commissioning is a most important effort, as it aims to conserve the quality of Slovene music and to affirm its reputation both at home and abroad.
The Kozina Award is bestowed by the Society of Slovene Composers since 1994. The awards ceremony is always held on June 4 which is the anniversary of the birth of the composer Marjana Kozina, after whom the award is named.
In 2015, under the auspices of the International Association for Contemporary Music (ISCM), DDS organised 92nd edition of World Music Days where 120 contemporary classical music works selected in international competition were performed in various locations in Ljubljana.
In autumn of 2016, DSS hosted the General Assembly of the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA). As part of the ECSA General Assembly in Ljubljana, DSS organised a concert in Kino Šiška by the European Contemporary Composers' Orchestra (ECCO) and RTV Slovenia Big Band Orchestra, conducted by the experienced Austrian jazz musician Sigi Feigl. One day later in the Slovene Philharmonic Kozina Hall, RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra performed another concert led by Australian-British conductor Jessica Cottis.
Between 1951 and 1954, the society's publishing section, DSS Edition (Edicije DSS - ED. DSS) cooperated with the state publishing house Državna založba Slovenije, and subsequently became affiliated with it as an independent unit.
The Society of Slovene Composers has been publishing the works of its members since 1954. Since 1972 it also represents its members' published works abroad and represents composers' material and legal rights. The Society also publishes records and the record label DSS Edition has emerged as an important resource for Slovene contemporary music.
The house brand DSS Edition also issues CDs with music of Slovene composers. The material has been published in printed catalogues. For the whole of Slovenia DSS Edition acts as the official representative for many foreign music publishers (Peters, Breitkopf & Härtel, Schott, Universal, Boosey & Hawkes, Schirmer, Ricordi etc.).
Since 2003, Edicije DSS has presented its activities each year at the international music fair Musikmesse in Frankfurt.
From 1989–1998 an annual concert called the Night of Slovene Composers was organised by the society. In 1998 this event became part of the Slovene Music Days, arranged by Festival Ljubljana Public Institute and later incorporated into the programme of Bled Festival. Today a line of three concerts (The Chamber Night of Slovene Composers, Slovene Composers to Youth and The Night of Slovene Composers) is organised, providing an opportunity for all members of the society to present their new works in public. The society also participates in Unicum Contemporary Music Festival (its predecessor was Musica Danubiana), a festival of music by composers from countries through which the river Danube flows, namely Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Romania, and Slovenia.
Since 1972 the Society of Slovene Composers has acted as the Slovene representative for all the main European music publishers: Editio Musica (Budapest), Edition Peters (Frankfurt), Breitkopf & Härtel (Wiesbaden), Schott Music International (Mainz), Universal Edition (Vienna), and Boosey & Hawkes (London). The society is also the official representative for all loans of scores and material from the above-mentioned publishing houses for the whole of Slovenia.
The society's involvement in exchanging information on the international level and the participation of its members at international festivals, symposiums, congresses and music trade fairs the world over is significant. The DSS founded its own section of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM). As a highlight of the cooperation with the ISCM, the Society of Slovene Composers organised the World Music Days (WMD) in 2003. The society is also a member of European Composers Federation (ECF).