IGOR PODPEČAN – a short biography of the renowned instrumentalist, composer and producer of the Slovenian folk scene.
Igor attended Elementary school in Ravne na Koroškem (Carinthia), and later in Slovenj Gradec, after his family moved. Since 1993 he lives with his family in Zagorje ob Savi. Igor enjoyed music from an early age. All the family on his father's side were musically gifted and he was shown his first chords on a diatonic accordion by his uncle. He attended Music School and finished five years of piano accordion, eagerly listening to the Avsenik brother’s songs. However, his love for their music temporarily faded when he got to hear traditional Jazz, Dixieland and swing. He taught himself a few notes on bass in 7th grade of Junior school, where he began learning the trombone. All that prompted him to enrol in Secondary Music School and to further study the trombone. Because he was not entirely sure if he wanted to become a professional musician, he also enrolled at the Central Technical School in Maribor.
In Maribor he became a member of the Big Band and began to perform with other folk bands. Here he first began to play baritone. His first serious contact with folk musicians was when he occasionally stepped in and substituted for recordings and performing with the Trim ensemble (then with Dragica Kovačič), later with the Celje Instrumental Quintet (1985-89). With this ensemble he began to establish himself as a composer and arranger, while performing first trombone in the Maribor Opera House. He obtained recognition at Secondary Music School republic and national competitions on trombone, as a soloist and in chamber orchestras. Right before the end of his studies in Maribor he enrolled in the jazz department and at the Classical Academy of Music in Graz, Austria, passing the entrance examination and attending lectures for a year. He also passed the entrance exam for the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, and, after military service, he continued to study music in Ljubljana. At that time he wrote a few songs for domestic and foreign folk ensembles.
After recording several television shows with the Celje Instrumental Quintet, he was noticed by Slavko Avsenik and his brother Vilko, who enquired about him at the Academy of Music. Thus, in 1989, he was invited to play with the famous Avsenik Brothers Ensemble, while in addition he was offered a place in the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra. Nevertheless, folk music prevailed!
Unfortunately, the happiness lasted only a short while as the Avsenik Brothers ensemble split in 1990.
Shortly thereafter, Igor began performing on accordion with the known Austrian ensemble 'Filzmooser Buam' from Salzburg and spent three years with them (1991–1993). Slowly he grew the desire to form his own quintet and at the same time to be able to perform many other dance music genres. This occurred in 1992, when together with his friend and clarinettist Branko Jahn, they formed the ensemble »Igor & Zlati Zvoki« (Igor & Golden Sound) with recording studio and record label of the same name.
Igor is happy and proud in his musical career to have performed as a member, studio musician and producer with Avsenik’s ensemble and alongside many other top names in Slovenia's folk music scene, such as: Stanka and Boris Kovačič, Štirje kovači, Lojze Slak, Niko Zajc, Fantje treh dolin, Modrijani, Oto Pestner, and so on.