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Maestro Edin Dino Zonic: “The journey is the destination”

For the privilege of living, let us create more music and more orchestras to spread the voice in these historic times that will be influenced by our noble actions. This is the mission I have given myself in memory of the fallen ones who died believing in unity, whose voices I can only hear in […]

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For the privilege of living, let us create more music and more orchestras to spread the voice in these historic times that will be influenced by our noble actions. This is the mission I have given myself in memory of the fallen ones who died believing in unity, whose voices I can only hear in the echoes of dreams and distant memory, but whose spirit I embrace as part of myself entirely.


As a part of our series about music stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Maestro Edin Dino Zonic.

Maestro Zonic is a world renowned conductor, composer, producer and director. Through his experience and pain in the Yugoslavian war, he channeled that energy into musical productions and events to honor humanity and bring unity, peace and love. Pivotal moments include appearing at the Goodwill Games in Lake Placid, the Dayton Peace Accords ceremony honoring President Clinton, producing “Circle” off Broadway, and combining three American orchestras to unite with the Sarajevo Philharmonic (approximately 400 musicians) in a unified concert for peace. Maestro Zonic has been called the “people’s maestro” wherein he uses the power of music, the true Universal language, to heal and give hope through music.

He now embarks on the biggest humanitarian effort ever taken on … a world philharmonic orchestra performing the most uplifting songs of our time to give hope to all, on a global scale, during these unprecedented times.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

My childhood in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was a magical time, being lucky to be unconditionally supported by my parents to pursue the music education from an early age for which I have studied for 16 years.

My daily journey toward the music academy inspired me by seeing and cheering with many people along the way: friends, bakers, waiters, market vendors, street musicians, etc. All that blended with the sounds of the Muslim call to prayer mixed with the Catholic and the Orthodox church which are harmoniously heard throughout the city.

As a musical prodigy, that inspiration perpetuated my perception of how to feel and express my music, a feeling similar to love.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Music has encompassed my entire life and created my life path. My position as one of the youngest music conservatory professors was disrupted by the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and throughout four years of siege in Sarajevo I have experienced brutal aggressors intent on extinguishing the soul and culture of my homeland. As an artist, I had to choose to lay down my baton and take up a rifle to defend Sarajevo, in which I have learned one of the greatest lessons ,“a joint effort by those who believe can achieve anything.”

The war greatly affected my life, and so did my musical vision, to elevate the human spirit with a method that is inspired by a great motivator — grief and passion for life. This grief, born of the suffering and atrocities of war in my homeland, lead to my resolve to heal; not just personally, but for all people who grieve, for lost lives, lost dreams, and for lost hope.

That is where music comes in as an instrument, and the most relevant tool to inspire and motivate.

As people mostly talk about the economy, empty pockets are not as problematic as empty hearts. Compassion and gratitude are what we need today, and it comes from a nurtured culture… especially one that is expressed through music that inspires. Music can raise our spirit, to heal our perception in which we can defend human dignity against barbarism, ignorance, and intolerance. In our long history, music was a large part of the identity of the human race, and it is our deepest political and intellectual instrument to inspire world peace, humankind’s deepest desire.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

I injured my back moving, eight months in constant pain and difficulty walking. I tried many ways to reduce the pain with physical practicing … pilates, yoga, osteopath sessions, etc. At that time I had a concert at the Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, OH, and two of my students helped me to get up to the podium. I started conducting and soon after I have realized that the pain was gone. That was an incredible feeling being pain-free, and thus I could move my body expressing the music without any limitations.

After the concert, I was in the room resting on the love seat where later I couldn’t stand up anymore. The pain was back.

At that time I realized how much our minds create and control ourselves. That was proof for me that the spirit nurtured by music and art elevates us and makes us resilient to pain. What would be our physical condition without spiritual empowerment?

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

Be patient and listen. Listen to nature, and more importantly listen to yourself. To write music, in my case orchestral, it is of vital importance to keep any distractions at a distance in order to achieve focus on the matter and motive that drives through the emotions and feelings of music. I think only then you can hear a true spectrum of musical empowerment.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“Where Words Fail, Music Speaks!” My father used to tell me: “Son, as you can see the “word” is twisted, manipulated, corrupted. The only pure portal for us is laying in the spectrum of sounds and colors that raise and saturate our spirits. You’re a composer and conductor, set the motion.”

Another particular quote stayed with me for the long time: We need to be bold. without daring, without extreme daring even, there is no beauty; we must therefore be almost beyond ourselves if we are to achieve all that we are capable of! — Delacroix 1850

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am fortunate to have extraordinary friends believing and supporting my musical mission. Among many, one particular friend I am grateful is a visionary and renowned community activist and supporter, Mark Fraze and his beloved wife Jane.

One of the finest people you can meet. We have a wonderful history together in many projects. One worth mentioning is the musical Circle showcased on Broadway in New York. We organized all aspects of the production as well bringing the cast to NYC.

The Circle musical was an inspiration that came from the suffering of the war and the struggle to get out of it. The pain that I carried within me for my native land turned into a work that described the strength of the human spirit. Circle represented a musical pilgrimage that demonstrates and promotes the power of unity, inspires generosity, kindness, and gratitude.

How to earn income by promoting and performing such values? That’s why a mission like this one always depends on support.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

Our world is at the crossroads of enormous cataclysmic and civilization changes, leaving us only with a limited view over the possibilities that are before us. Our choices and the way we embrace our responsibilities cannot be approached any longer in a traditional way. The higher consciousness of our thoughts and actions can lead to true evolution like few have known before us. I know that by taking charge with extraordinary action, we can prove that beyond our differences and ideologies, the human civilization still has time left to create a stronger foundation for the future.

Earlier this year, I woke up with a very clear dream to ignite a globally televised event, New World Rhapsody, as our collective action to bring and initiate the message of peace and hope across the globe. The event is envisioned to assemble a massive philharmonic orchestra with international orchestra musicians and students that will perform in collaboration with the world’s most recognized artists and celebrities. This production is structured as a collaboration with a team of music industry leaders, visionaries and humanitarians.

For this special occasion, I am in the process of orchestrating new versions of legendary songs that have united humankind for decades.

Can you tell us the backstory about what originally inspired you to feel passionate about this cause and to do something about it?

Our current world crisis inspires and motivates me in a way as an opportunity to evolve. It is time for all of us to reclaim together lost harmony in the world.

An age of COVID, corruption, poverty, hunger, injustice, environmental destruction, and many other issues present unparalleled challenges for this and future generations.

As our world is facing many challenges, our current crisis, in my perspective, is an opportunity to trigger the best side of us. I think it is time to move beyond mere discussion and to apply music to inspire and to heal.

The 60s,70s, and 80s, were on a righteous path that produced the flower generation, Woodstock, and numerous Live Aid concerts etc.

For the privilege of living, let us create more music and more orchestras to spread the voice in these historic times that will be influenced by our noble actions. This is the mission I have given myself in memory of the fallen ones who died believing in unity, whose voices I can only hear in the echoes of dreams and distant memory, but whose spirit I embrace as part of myself entirely.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the siege of Sarajevo, I have realized that regardless of any victory or losses, there is no real difference. That was the “Aha Moment” for me realizing that it was a most opportune time for me to lay down my rifle and pick up the conducting baton and continue my fight with the power of music. Later on I assembled a production where we have performed on the main city square and regardless of the extreme danger, the musicians played sublimely and fearlessly. During the performance, many people of all religions stepped out into the square inspired and cheering to this the sudden performance.

That experience defined my career perspective and made me realize how the vibration of music reaches that pure portal that is still alive and beautiful.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I was at the concert hall Vatroslav Lisinski in Zagreb, Croatia. After the performance, I had a private meeting with an international guest, lady Christa Morf from Switzerland. She told me that her parents were executed in a Nazi camp during WWII and every year she receives money as a reparation program from the German Government. With tears in her eyes, she handed me an envelope with 10K dollars expressing her wish for me to continue doing music productions to inspire and help to heal our world. I must say, that was one of the most profound moments in my career.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

We are envisioning support from UNESCO to help us utilize diplomatic channels to engage orchestra musicians from around the world.

I am using this opportunity to invite musicians and humanitarians to join this endeavor as a world-wide musical pilgrimage toward unity and peace.

We would appreciate anyone interested in supporting us by going to www.unitedthroughmusic.org and check our event. For more info about my mission please visit www.dinozonic.com.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

– It is more satisfying to give than to receive.

– The journey is the destination.

– I always remember my Dad’s words to me “The only pure portal for us is laying in the spectrum of sounds and colors that raise and saturate our spirits,” and this always brings me back to focusing on the feeling of the music to enhance the lives of others.

– Just keep swimming.

– Once you define your purpose never give up.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

New World Rhapsody, as I described earlier, will inspire us to use the power of music, the true universal language of healing to help the world find peace and hope.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Since I am a big fan of Led Zeppelin, I have followed them my whole life to where I orchestrated for a large orchestra one of my favorite songs “Kashmir”. I would be very happy to spend some time with Robert Plant. Besides Robert, there is also an artist that I admire and wish for a moment of time, and that is Quincy Jones.

These are true examples of artists who blended the orchestra with popular music.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

www.dinozonic.com and www.unitedthroughmusic.org.

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!


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