As of August 2013, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supporting the Mostar Rock School project with a grant under its Stability Pact Fund. The Fund aims to enhance social cohesion and reconciliation, as well as local democracy and stability in Southeastern Europe.
Rock and roll bridging the divide
While the name of Mostar may not always ring of rock and roll, Mostarians pride their city as the home of one of the most successful music festivals in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and a breeding ground for successful musicians and bands. A new initiative refers to that heritage by bringing youth from both sides of the divided town together over a shared passion. At the Mostar Rock School, renowned Mostar musicians prepare the next generation for stages across the region, reaching out to youth city-wide.
The Mostar Rock School was founded by Musicians without Borders in cooperation with local musicians and the Pavarotti Music Center. It follows a similar successful initiative, the Mitrovica Rock School, which brings together young Serb and Albanian musicians in northern Kosovo. At the Mostar Rock School, youth from both sides of the divided town attend music classes and work together in bands to prepare for a regular concert program. Their teachers are (former) members of renowned bands like Zoster and Dubioza Kolektiv.
“It’s all about the music”
The Rock School’s motto “it’s all about the music” is central to its approach. The school recognizes that genuine inter-ethnic cooperation is possible only where there is a genuinely shared interest. The school delivers quality pop/rock education and mixes its students by level and music style. Musicians without Borders and partner the Fontys Rock Academy (Netherlands) support this content-based approach with targeted training. The result is a credible music institution “owned” by young people on both sides.
Impact in Mostar and region-wide
Besides the daily lessons and regular concert program in Mostar, students come together from time to time with youth from all communities of Kosovo and Macedonia for regional band camps and concerts. Together, they aim to put a dent in dividing turbo-folk and revive the proud ex-Yu tradition of musical exchanges.
The start-up of the Mostar Rock School was supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Berlin). The 2012 Skopje Summer School and the first year of lessons in Mostar were supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the United States Embassy in Sarajevo. The Mostar Rock School is implemented in partnership with the Pavarotti Music Center.