Alenka Zupan enrolled in the Koper Music School when she was seven years old. In the first ten years her tutor was Marijan Kocjančič. In 1987, she passed her final solo recital with distinction. Quite early in her life she discovered her passion for teaching and working with children, therefore she enrolled into and successfully completed the Teacher Training College in Koper (Slovenia). She was an exceptionally successful student and she won a range of prizes on music competitions. As early as in March 1979, she won the first prize in Category I – beak flute on the 8th Young Slovenian Musicians’ Competition, while in 1987 she won another first prize in the Category I – wind quintet on the 16th Young Yugoslav Musicians’ Competition.
Alenka continued her music studies at the Ljubljana Music and Ballet College under the guidance of Jože Pogačnik. She completed these studies with a recital that was assessed with a High Distinction. Concomitantly, she graduated at the Faculty of Education of the University of Ljubljana (Department of Primary School Teaching).
The next institution that shaped her as a musician was the Academy of Music at the University of Ljubljana, (Conservatorium). Although the study program at this institution is four years long, Alenka fast tracked it and graduated as early as after the 3rd year. Her teacher was Prof Fedja Rupel. During this time, she won a number of prizes and awards in national competitions, playing either solo or in chamber groups such as: the second prize in category III A – flute in the 22nd Young Slovenian Musicians’ Competition (1993), the first prize in category III – wind quintet in the 23rd Young Slovenian Musicians’ Competition (1994) together with Tanja Petrej – oboe, Dušan Sodja – clarinet, Jure Mesec – bassoon and Boštjan Lipovšek – horn (mentor: Prof Božidar Tumpej). She also played in the Orchestra of the National Opera and Ballet House in Ljubljana, in the Symphony Orchestra of the Academy of Music, and in the Littoral Chamber Orchestra.
From 1995 to 1998, she continued her studies at the “Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris” (France) under the guidance of Prof Christian Cheret and at the Academy of Flute in Rome (Italy) under the supervision of Prof Raymond Guiot. In 1996, she was successful in gaining grants financed by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture and by the French Government to cover the costs of her postgraduate studies in Paris. She completed these studies in March 1998 with summa cum laude (“très bien avec félicitations du jury”), and obtained the “Diplôme Supérieur de Concertiste” and the title “Academic Specialist – Flutist”.
On 25 September 2006, she completed her Master studies at the Academy of Music of the University of Ljubljana (UL AG) and obtained an MA in Didactics (Flute). Her supervisors were Prof Fedja Rupel and Associate Professor Branka Rotar Pance. Her thesis dealt with problems related to learning and teaching exercises for flute.
Since 1997, Alenka has been working as a teacher at the Koper Music School, as well as at the Koper Artistic Secondary School (since 1999). This enables her to share her knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for music with her pupils and students. Her excellence in teaching is reflected not only in numerous remarkable achievements of her students and chamber groups attained at competitions and concerts in Slovenia and abroad, but also in the enthusiasm and motivation of her students (Irena Kavčič, Jelena Pešič, Erika Dujc, Nika Hribar, Lea Sirk, Ana Dadič, Nina Rupnik, Eva Mittendorfer) to continue their flute studies.
From 2012 to 2015 she was artistic director and conductor of the Union of Music Schools Flute Orchestra, which brings together young flutists and flute teachers.
For 16 years, Alenka has been organizing summer music workshops entitled PIKOLO, thus passing on her knowledge to children from Slovenia and Croatia. These workshops are held in the world known Slovenian tourist resort Bled. The workshops focus on solo and chamber playing. Interesting exercises in relaxation and performance techniques enable the attendants to experience music in a playful manner and to combine work with fun and creativity.
In 2002 and 2003, Alenka held seminars in collaboration with Ability Associated Consultants Ltd. (lecturer Rocco Lanata’ – Italy) on efficient stage-fright control and self-management in front of an audience, communication and motivation in teaching, and quick and efficient learning methods. In 2003 and 2004, she delivered in-service seminars for flute teachers entitled “Performance Exercises and Preparations for Flautists”. In 2005 and 2006, she collaborated with the Slovenian Institute of Education and conducted practical workshops for music school teachers on performance, stage-fright control and flute playing. Since 2007, she has been a lecturer of the International Society for Study of Tension in Performance.
Since 1998 she held seminars for flute, performance and manuals for teachers and students of music schools in Slovenia and forein countries: Tolmin, Nova Gorica, Koper, Ljubljana, Portorož, Murska Sobota, Zagorje, Postojna, Sevnica, Šentjur, Gornja Radgona, Radovljica, Velenje, Trieste – Italy, Slovenj Gradec, Grosuplje, Zagreb – Croatia, Slavonski Brod – Croatia, Tivat – Monte Negro, Buenos Aires – Argentina, Kranj, Poreč – Croatia, Sao Paulo – Brazil, Rio de Janeiro – Brazil, Santo Domingo – Dominican Republic, Bangkok – Thailand, Thailand Flute Festival – Bangkok, Gainesville, Florida – USA, …
Alenka never misses a further development opportunity to improve her knowledge and upgrade her education, be it in the field of artistic performance or teaching.
She participated in the following summer masterclasses: David Nicholson – Great Britain (Slovenia, 1992), Mario Ancilotti – Italy (1993), Michael Martin Kofler – Austria (1994), Jir Valek and Robert Wolf – Austria (1994), Raymond Guiot – France (Italy, 1995), Giampaolo Pretto – Italy (2003), Jacques Zoon – Switzerland (Italy, 2006), Jacques Zoon – Switzerland (Hungary, 2011) etc.
As a flute teacher, she attended the following seminars: Sophie Cherrier – France (2000), Andrea Lieberknecht – Germany (2001), Susan Milan – Great Britain (2001), Giampaolo Pretto – Italy (2002), Christian Cheret – France (2004), Renata Penezič – Croatia (2005), Margaret Crawford – Australia (2006), Barbara Gisler Hasse – Austria (2006), Janos Balint – Hungary (2007), Giulia Cremaschi Trovesi – Italy (2008), Andrea Oliva – Italy, Claudio Montafia – Italy, Giorgio Ravazollo – Alexander technic – Italy (2009), Federica Lotti – Italy (2010), Bülent Evcil – Turkey, Juliette Hurel – France, Stefano Bet – Italy (2011), Michael Schmid – Germany (2012), Janoš Balint – Hungary, Valerie Perrotin – France (2013), Mario Caroli – Italy (2014), Aldo Baerten – Belgium, Karl-Heinz Schütz – Austria, Julien Beaudiment – France, Anna Garzuly – Germany (2015), etc.
Three Manuals for Flute Teachers and Students of Music Schools: Exercises for Flute I, II, III were self-published by Alenka in May 2009. Flute teachers in Slovenian music schools lacked teaching materials that would contain a collection of systematic exercises for developing the basic elements of flute playing. The manuals offer useful suggestions relating teaching methods, and provide students with practical step-by-step exercises and trailed tips and techniques for accomplished flute playing.
Manual for the youngest fife students Traveling with Fife self issued in Septeber 2014. The manual provides a progressive discovery of fife playing elements, systematically exploring new tones, breathing exercises and a good tone, personalized interpretation of musical concepts, exercises for quick reading notes and fingers exercises, songs creation, beautiful illustrations, playing a duet, piano accompaniment and songs recording the selected songs on the CD.
Manual for the youngest flutists entitled Traveling with flute self issued in Septeber 2015. The manual provides a progressive discovery of flute playing elements, postures, breathing exercises, endurance and good tone, systematically explore new tones, interpretation of music concepts, exercises for quick reading notes and fingers training, beautiful illustrations, composing songs, playing a duet, piano accompaniment and recording the selected songs on the CD.
Alenka regularly performs and gives concerts in cooperation with Slovenian and foreign musicians and artists. In the past she performed together with the guitarists Marko Feri, Chavajet Maskulrat (Thailand), Svetlin Markov and Eva Jelenc, harpist Ursula Aščić, the pianists Rok Palčič, Tatjana Jercog, Maja Tajnšek, Silvano Zabeo (Italy), Danijela Masliuk, Denys Masliuk, Valentina Češnjevar, Damjana Zupan, Vladimir Mlinarić, with Goran Moskovski (percussionist), with the oboist Breda Hartman, clarinetist Boris Rener, singer Tinkara Kovač, Shirlie Roden (England), actors Gašper Tič, Danijel Malalan, actress Mojca Fatur, dancers Tanja Skok, Patricija Sosič, etc.
She has performed with the Ipavska Chamber Choir the Littoral Chamber Orchestra (as a soloists as well as a regular member of the orchestra), with the Camerata Labacensis String Orchestra, the Parishe Paris Flute Quartet and many other chamber musicians.
She had concerts at home and abrode: Slovenia, Italy, France, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Australia, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Thailand, Thailand Flute Festival, Florida – USA, …
Alenka Zupan is a musician who has a very original and distinct view on music and concert performing. She sees music as a holistic art that reflects and promotes the harmony of the living world and the nature. In order to make people aware of this harmony she recorded the CD “The Breath of Life” in 1999 which combined the sounds of flute with those of nature. The projects “The Breath of Life” and “The Light in Darkness” offer the listeners a unique experience of music both in terms of style and contents.
She produced CD-s together with the Littoral Chamber Orchestra and other chamber groups, while her solo concerts have been recorded by Radio Koper-Capodistria, Radio Slovenija, Televizija Koper Capodistria, Televizija Slovenija, Radio Malta, etc. Music commentators on Alenka’s performance claim that she is a unique artist who has a sophisticated feeling for interpreting music.
- Alenka’s demonstrated leadership skulls: From January 2006 to September 2008, Alenka acted as the president of the Koper Friends of Music Association. She organized classical music concerts featuring accomplished foreign and Slovenian musicians and students presented within cycles of international concerts, youth musical evenings and musical evenings.
- Since 1999 she has been organizing seminars of famous Slovenian and foreign professional flutists for flute teachers and students in Koper Music School.
- In 2007 she organized 1st international young flutists platform – FlavtIstra 2007 in Koper Music School (competition, workshops, exhibitions, concerts of participants, concerts of professional flutists – 137 participants from seven different countries attended).
- She was the jury member in flute and chamber music competitions (Slovenia, Serbia).
- She was a member of Lions Club Koper Littoral from 2001 to 2009. She was very active in accomplishing its mission: “To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.” In 2007/2008, she was its president.
- Since 2006, she has been practicing transmission meditation as a member of the Izola Transmission Group (organizing exhibitions, seminars) operating within Share Slovenia and Share International.
- Her hobby is INTERIOR DESIGN and wall painting and she offers advice in interior design to interested people.