After finishing a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology (2009, University of Amsterdam), Gagi Petrovic studied Music & Technology at the HKU (Utrecht School of the Arts. He specialized in composition and sound art and graduated cum laude in 2013, when he simultaneously finished his Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts. During his education he explored new music making techniques and paradigms by closely collaborating with various classically trained musicians and choreographers.
Since his graduation he has built a relationship with organisations such as Gaudeamus, Rewire, Frascati and GRIP which stimulate the production and presentation of new performances. Petrovic was responsible for a multitude of new compositions which were presented during various festivals across Europe.
An example of such a project is his piece ‘stRrrct‘, for harp, voice and live electronics, that in 2014 won him the third prize at the Dutch Harp Competition Contest (all ages and nationalities). After this Gaudeamus sent him to Impuls Academy to participate in the 9th International Workshop for Contemporary Music in Graz (Austria) and he got selected for the 7th International Workshop for Young Composers in Mazsalaca (Latvia). There he took masterclasses and composed a solo piece for double bassist Dario Calderone, that premiered in Graz. The performer integrated this piece ‘Give more.’, for enhanced double bass and live electronics, into his solo repertoire and presented it in various European festivals for contemporary music, such as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek. Gaudeamus then invited him as member of the Soundlings collective to join the residency Compostion Beyond Music led by Peter Ablinger. Here he developed sound art installations as composer, performer, actor and instrument designer.
In 2014 Gaudeamus introduced Gagi Petrovic to sound artist Zeno van den Broek, to co-write a big scale composition. ‘Ob-literate’, for five singers (SSBBB), three performative objects (live electronics) and one organ, was performed across The Netherlands in festivals such as Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Utrecht), Soundsofmusic (Groningen) and multiple times at the Orgelpark (Amsterdam). In 2019 a concert registration of this piece was released at Unsounds, under the new series ‘Sounds of the Young Avant-Garde’.
Between 2014 and 2016 Gagi Petrovic was artist-in-residence with contemporary dance company LeineRoebana, where he interned as composer in 2011-2012. This time is was his goal to “step out of the shadow” and get on stage himself. He developed his skills as performer of his own work. Until this moment he was a multi-instrumentalist that could play keys, guitars, live electronics, voice and flute. For this residence he decided to deepen his skills in singing and live electronics. He took singing classes in pop and classical approach, with respectively Yonathan Keeren and Angelo Custodio. As a performer he was guided by choreographers Andrea Leine and Harijono Roebana. Additionally, with the guidance of STEIM, he built the prototype of his own instrument for electronic music. ‘GEST’ is an interface that lets hand gestures breaking light beams interact with a digital environment based on granular synthesis and audio files. This allows for a more intuitive approach while making and performing electronic music, bringing Gagi Petrovic closer to a personal form of musical expression.
Being an artist-in-residence for almost two years has been a turning point in his career. It resulted in two pieces: ‘Choosing Freedom’ for GEST; and ‘Imaginary Conversations’ for voice and piano. Ever since he has performed these two solo acts separately, or together as a double bill, during various festivals and venues such as Gaudeamus, Soundsofmusic, Fringe, GOLF, Allée Rentree, Bimhuis and Rewire. As singer and GEST-musician he started an intensive collaboration with cellist Maya Fridman with whom he created multiple pieces ‘Constellations’ and did various performances on Dutch stages.
Meanwhile Gagi Petrovic worked on his debut double EP ‘dp[a] + hsh‘, that got released in 2017 at Moving Furniture Records [MFR]. This album covers two projects: a) his explorations regarding Dysprosody and finding a new musical language, and b) excerpts from music he created for the contemporary dance piece ‘Haschoema‘ by Mouna Laroussi. The following years he composed music for the documentary Petrol Dollars for a Different Engine, the video art installation Sn by Alejandro Ramirez and podcasts by European Pavilion.
During the pandemic, in 2021, he released two more albums at the underground label MFR, respectively Recalcitrance and Choosing Freedom. In that same year he received a composition grant by Dutch Performing Arts, to create Vox Populi and Unfold Yourself: the new solo work for GEST premiered at Rewire 2022 and the album released at MFR in 2023.
After the pandemic Petrovic composed new electronic music for choreographers and theater makers. With Cherish Menzo (GRIP/Frascati) he made the critically acclaimed D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER, with Benjamin Kahn new solo dance work The Blue Hour and Davy Pieters (Theater Rotterdam). These performances brought his music across Europe. Especially D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER received many excellent reviews, multiple prolonged European tours and five nominations for most impressive performance of the past years. In 2023 this performance received the BNG Bank Theaterprijs for most impressive theater production. His latest release Unfold Yourself, covering overcoming mental illnesses, received a lot of praise by the press. It’s featured in an article in the German magazine Positionen, about how his conceptual yet personal attitude towards creating music could be considered a new wave in contemporary music.
In 2024 returns to his singer-songwritership, by producing the two song cycles ‘Imaginary Conversations’ and ‘Vox Populi’. He prepares them for release as double EP. He also continues a collaboration with his partner Ada Bania on their personal project ‘Don Buka’, where they create intense yet colorful beat-oriented rap songs about conquering inner demons.