Mate Bekavac is recognised as one of the great clarinetists of his generation, despite his “commercial shyness”. Wherever he appears, he’s hailed among colleagues and critics as the “secret favorite”, a full-blooded musician and a virtuoso who risks and isn’t spoiled by current fashion tendencies of music industry. A devoted, silent seeker with a special, subtly nuanced sound beyond bright or dark, French or German clarinet stereotypical tendencies (he is perhaps the only one to have ever gained perfection in both systems), always in favor of musical expression and sincere transmission of written or hidden musical texts. His repertoire ranges from baroque adaptations, classical, romantic and contemporary clarinet repertoire, as well as jazz- and klezmer-influenced pieces. He gained a wide international acclaim by his single performance of his own arrangement of the Carmen Fantasy, which is documented on YouTube.
He was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1977 and received his first musical education with F. Trzan and D. Brlek in native Ljubljana. He continued his studies at University of Graz with B.Kovacs, then took his MA degree at Salzburg Mozarteum with A.Brandhofer. He also studied in the professional studies program at Juilliard School of Music in New York under C.Neidich and in the “cycle de perfectionnement” at Paris Conservatory (CNSM) with Michel Arrignon. He has won the Mozarteum 1992 award, the Eurovision Jury award in Warsaw 1994, Grand prix of the Yamaha competition in Vienna 1994 and competitions in Lisbon (1994), Seville (1995) and Belgrade (1997). He was also a finalist of the YCA competition in New York in 1996.
He appeard as a soloist with chamber orchestras Franz Liszt, Cappela Istropolitana, Camerata Israel, Moscow soloists Salzburg soloists, Munich soloists and Zagreb soloists, Orchester der Philharmonie der Nationen, Saarländischen Rundfunk, Orchester der Oper in Frankfurt, Symphonie Orchester Basel and all Slovenian orchestras.
His special devotion, love and central part of his musical career is chamber music, which he has played with Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Lyn Harrell, Heinz Holliger, Irena Grafenauer, Kuss-Philharmonia Berlin-, Arriaga-, Minguet and Doric string quartets, Elena Baskhirova, Khatia Buniatishvili, Katia Skanavi, Patricia Kopachinskaja, Sol Gabeta, Alina Ibragimova, Frans Helmerson, Nicolas Altstaedt, Claudio Bohorques, Maxim Rysanov, Antoine Tamestit, members of Orchester der Bayerischen Rundfunk, MET-orchestra New York and London Symphony orchestra.
He collaborated with conductors M. Jansons, B.Haitink, N.Harnoncourt, K.Masur, Z. Mehta, C.Davies, N.Jaervi, C.Mackerras, C.Hogwood, M.Perahia, I.Perlman. He is a frequent guest at festivals in Lockenhaus, Jerusalem, Les Museiques in Basel, Rheingau Musik Festival, Ludwigsburger Festspiele, Dubrovnik, Lucerne and Munich.
As an orchestral musician he has been a guest solo clarinet in the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He tends to enjoy most of his time away from daily tumult in the Slovenian mountains, studying, researching, developing new insights and ways of musical understanding as well as discovering nature and passionately cooking on open fire for his friends and himself.