Serbia creates » Srbija stvara | 23 ST E FAN M I L ENKOV I Ć, V I OL I N I ST I want Serbia to become a violin “super power” In Serbia we already have everything we need: talented students, experienced professors, successful, world-class artists. We just need to work actively to unify and maximise that Oneof theworld‘smost successful violinists, the youngest graduate of the University of Belgrade, a former lecturer at the prestigious Juilliard School, an artist of world renown with an enduring international career - Stefan Milenković decided to return to Serbiawithhis family and, as he says, realise his dream. How did you reach such an important – and certainly not easy – decision to return to live in Serbia with your family? “Whenweaskedourselves some of themost important questions, all the conclusions led us to the same place: returninghome.That‘s the result of both a personal and professional evolution, the realisation of a vision that I‘ve practically always had, but which simply had to reach maturity and critical mass. However, when we finally entered that dynamic phase of decision-making it was an unstoppable torrent... The birth of our son, Nikola, certainly contributed to an even greater feeling that there‘snothingmore important than family, and thatwe simply have toprovidehimwithanenvironment in which he will to be able to growup in the family system.That‘s howwe grew up, and we consider it morenatural forNikola to also grow up in that way. PHOTOGRAPHY: NEBOJŠA BABIĆ What are your professional plans? Although there is nowa relative vacuumas a result of the pandemic, it is even more important for us to remainproductive and creative. For the past two years I‘ve been a creative ambassador of the Serbia Creates national platform, andwe have major plans for the next year, primarily inthe context of empowering andnetworking the talentedyoungsters that Serbia has in abundance. Apart from this, the next steps include taking on the role of artistic director of the new concert hall in Novi Sad.Thenthere‘sdedicationto developing and strengthening the violin school in Serbia, harmonising themost effective strategy for achieving that goal with our fantastic violin teachers. What needs to be done in Serbia when it comes to classical music and its development? I think we already have everything we need in Serbia: talented students, experienced professors, successful, world-class artists. We just need to work actively to unify and maximise what we already have, but first and foremost to work on the presentation of artists and the popularisation of classical music, but also on the performance ofmusicians themselves and the creationof opportunities for our musicians to perform. In the end, what is very important ismarketing and networking at the global level and promoting our national brand. Some countries do this in an organised manner and thereby position themselves as a nursery of talentedmusicians. In Serbia we have the preconditions todo something similar, and to achieve that which has always been my dream: Serbia as a little-big “superpower” of the violin!