I-MAG STS    Corporation
On June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, was serving as
Inspector-General of the Army.  During a welcome speech in Sarajevo a grenade injured several members of his party.
Shortly after, he and his pregnant wife were shot to death in an ambush. They were the first three casualties out of
37,208,686 killed, wounded or missing in World War I.  Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984, but by 1992 had
long since become a victim of the violence in the Balkans. On May 27th of that year an explosion ripped through a line of
people waiting for rations of bread. Twenty-two were killed. We have never found their names.
For twenty-two days cellist Vedran Smailovic dressed up in formal clothes and went out into the street to play a piece
named Adagio in g minor by the Venetian Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751). Although admired by J.S. Bach and known for
his pioneering oboe music, Albinoni had few fans among the snipers, bombers and artillery spotters of Sarajevo, so
Smailovic was taking a dreadful risk. The original score survived the fire-bombing of Dresden, and was performed by
Procul Harum and Brian Auger's Oblivion Express.  Normally, having critic John Burns of the New York Times applaud
your work is desirable. The notice made Smailovic a target. David Wilde, an English pianist and composer  then teaching
in Hanover, Germany, wrote a piece for cello solo titled "The Cellist of Sarajevo". Cellist Dmitri Markevitch (1923-2002),
then in Switzerland, passed the piece to cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The Olympics for cellists is the International Cello Festival in
Manchester, England.  Yo-Yo Ma played Wilde's  piece and summoned Vedran Smalovic from the audience. A recording
can be heard on Ma's
Solo album (Sony Classical SK 64114).  David Wilde went to Sarajevo to play and teach in 1994. He
won the Liberty Prize in 1996, was made an honorary citizen of Sarajevo in 2001, and is currently Visiting Professor in
Keyboard Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Some information is available at david-wilde-classical-musician.com.
After being declined a visa to Canada, Vedran Smailovic emigrated to Northern Ireland.  Among others, Elizabeth
Wellburn,  a Canadian author,  wrote a book about him:  
Echoes From the Square (ISBN 0-921156-99-5) .