Dr. Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi,
violinist and violist
Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi was born in Croatia where she began to study violin in 1984. By eleven, she had already become the youngest member of the Zadar Chamber Orchestra. Together with this orchestra she performed at important Croatian venues and festivals such as Musical Evenings in St. Donat and the Zagreb Academy of Music.
Her higher-level education began at The Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia, when she began her studies with Professor Eugenia Tchougaeva in 1993. It was here that Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi became a member of the chamber orchestra Camerata Academica, which afforded her the opportunity to perform throughout Europe. In 1998 she graduated from the Academy and became a member of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra.
A year later, she was awarded a full scholarship to study at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she graduated with a Masters Degree in 2001. In 2006, Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi graduated with the doctoral degree in Violin Performance at the University of Georgia. There she studied violin with Dr. Michael Heald and her second instrument, viola with Dr. Mark Neumann. Additionally, she studied with world-renowned musicians Pamela Frank, Andres Cardenes, Carolyn Huebl, Chris Wu, Katie McLin, Mischa Amory, Marina Jashvilli, Timothy Baker and members of the Quarteto Latinoamericano.
As an active performer she played both the violin and viola extensively in solo recitals throughout the U.S and Eastern Europe. She has been featured as a concerto soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Tennesee, University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, Tallis Chamber Orchestra and DeKalb Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi is also a passionate interpreter of contemporary music. In 2013 she premiered Peter Vaskis “Distant Light” with Wilmington Symphony, and is an annual guest artist at the New Music Festival in Wilmington NC, where she will be performing newly composed piece “Returning Souls” by Shih-Hui Chen in February 2014. In 2004 she was a featured soloist in the Composer in Residence concerts at Hodgson Hall, Athens (with renowned contemporary composers Augusta Reed Thomas and James MacMillan.)
Since her youth, Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi has consistently impressed audiences in numerous chamber ensembles. In the fall of 2004, Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi joined guitarist John Huston and formed Duo Lunaire, a chamber group that performed a diverse repertoire of contemporary and historical music. In January 2008 she became a founding member of the Balkan Quartet, a string quartet which focus is to involve and inspire composers to create new music that would use an indigenous Balkan language, reviving the rich Balkan folk heritage on a high artistic level. Together with Balkan Quartet she performed at the Kennedy Center, Millenium Stage, Washington DC in September 2009. In 2004 Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi performed at Carnegie Hall with the ARCO Chamber Orchestra.
Dr. Žeželj-Gualdi has also been an avid performer of early music. In Croatia she played with the chamber group “Zadarski Madrigalisti” which specialized in music from the Renaissance. In 2006 she joined the “New Trinity Baroque Orchestra” from Atlanta, performing on period instruments featuring early music from the Baroque era.
Her involvement as an orchestral musician has been varied and diverse. As a member of the Carnegie Mellon University Symphony Orchestra she performed at Carnegie Hall in 2001. Recently she has served as both assistant concertmaster and also principal viola in the UGA Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra, Feyetville Symphony Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra PRO ARTE from Vienna, Novi Sad Opera Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, Gwinett Ballet Orchestra, Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of University of Gratz, Symphonietta Belgrade, and Voivodina Youth Orchestra.
Prior to current position as a Violin and Viola Instructor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Dr. Danijela Žeželj-Gualdi served on the faculty of Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, GA.