Biography - Aleksandar Sanja Ilić

Aleksandar Sanja Ilić was born in Belgrade. At the same time with the primary school and high school he attends the music school Josip Slavenski - piano classes with Professor Ružica Miodragović - Radenković. Then, at the same time he enrolled the architectural studies, he is attending classes of composing with Professor Rajčić at the Music Academy in Belgrade. Upon completion of the study of architecture he enrolls post-graduate studies at the department of housing with professor Mate Bajlon.

He was making music since an early age, and his first professional step in music was at the age of 12, when he wrote the song "Uniforme" which was performed on TV Belgrade by the actor and singer Dragan Laković. It was the year 1963, and he received a box of chocolates as a gift from Dragan Laković, which he considers as his first award.

At age of 16 he applies for the national Eurovision Song Contest and thus becomes the all time youngest composer participant in the domestic Eurovision Song Contest. The composition "Pesnik mira" was sung in Skoplje by Lola Novaković.

Whit music band "San", which he formed as a student, he achieves his first successes as a composer and instrumentalist.

While in high school, he wrote music for the musical „Arhanđeli i Automati“, performed in the theater DADOV. He won an award on the state competition of theatres for music, and this musical was marked as the first Yugoslav rock musical.

The real successes came at festivals and with LPs, where Sanja's compositions were sung by the best Yugoslav singers: Bisera Veletanlić, Zdravko Čolić, Dado Topić, Slađana Milošević, Maja Odžaklijevska, Zorica Kondža, Tereza Kesovija, Doris Dragović, Gabi Novak, Zdenka Kovačiček, Miki Jevremović, Radojka Šverko, Lola Novaković, Bebi Dol, Neca Falk, Ivica Šerfezi, Zlatko Pejaković, Davorin Popović, Viktorija, Jasna Zlokić, Neda Ukraden, Grupa Aske.

He received awards on all festivals in Yugoslavia, and in the year 1982 he won the national Eurovision contest with the song "Halo, halo" and went to Harrogate, England with the band Aske.

In 1984, the composition "Princeza", sung by Dado and Sladjana, became the song and hit of the year, later hit of the decade, and a few years ago this song was chosen as the most beautiful Yugoslavian duet of the 20th century.

In parallel with the festivals he is composing music for theatre plays, films and TV series. From the theater play "Blue Bird" the song of the same name was born, and it is very popular to this day. 

In 1987, he did an instrumental album called DELTA PROJECT with Slobo Marković, which quickly became the best selling and most listened-to instrumental album in the country.

sanja biografija 04In addition to writing music for theater and TV series, a very important part of Sanja Ilić work has been writing music for movies. In the author's opinion, so far, the most important soundtracks are for the movies "Dark Echoes" by American director George Robotham, "Čudna noć" by Milan Jelić, „Vukovar jedna priča“ by Bora Drašković, „Karaula“ by Rajko Grlić, „Hitna Pomoć" by Goran Radovanović, „Selo gori“ by  Radoš Bajić and "Led "by Jelena Bajić Jočić.

In the past fifteen years he is engaged in writing music influenced by the Balkan region. The realization of these ideas is the first album of band Balkanika, by the name of "Balkan 2000" which became the best-selling CD that PGP RTS published to this day.

Sanja is not doing covers of old musical records, he is composing original music. His music is a blend of traditional and modern.

Sanja and the music band Balkanika have performed on all of the continents. In this way he has, in the most beautiful way, presented a part of the cultural heritage and music of Serbia to the world.  For the last two years there were more than 100 concerts in every continent. Spectacular concerts in Moscow (Kremlin), Great Britain, United States, Canada, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Mexico, China, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Tunisia, Algiria, Luxembourg, Italy, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Turkey, Romania… were finished with standing ovations.

The music from the album "Balkan 2000" and "Balkan Koncept" has been published on numerous compilations in Greece, Germany and France. Certainly, the greatest achievement are the two compositions that have been published on the famous Buddha Bar compilations, "Korana" is in the first place. Complete albums were published in Poland and South Korea.

This path of progress and success with the band Balkanka has inspired composer Aleksandar Sanja Ilić to create a blend of ethno music and symphonic sound. From this idea new orchestrations and famous concerts were created, such as „Balkanika - Putem Teslinih misli" that was held in the year 2006, with the symphonic orchestra and choir at Kalemegdan. This concert was declared as the concert of the year, and was followed by concerts at the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010, concerts in the Cairo and Alexandria Opera with their National Symphonic Orchestra, as well as concerts in Luxembourg, Slovenia, and Macedonia also with their orchestras and choirs.

A spectacular concert was held at the Sava Center in Belgrade, in December 2011, and it was only an indication of the work that was emerging. In this concert Sanja presented compositions for which he won the Golden Antenna for the best music in the famous and popular TV series, rearranged for the symphonic orchestra, choir and a multitude of interesting folk and classical instruments. During the year 2012, Aleksandar Sanja Ilić has finished the musical - theatrical piece called "Constantinus Magnus" in honor of the celebration of 1700 years of the Edict of Milan, with which the Roman emperor Constantine ended the persecution of Christians, and declared Christianity a legitimate religion. For this important anniversary, the composer was joined by a large number of renowned international co-authors and performers. The musical - theatrical spectacle "Constantinus Magnus" was premiered on the 3rd of June, 2013 on the day of Saint Konstantin in Niš. As a result of the highly visible and extraordinary success of the work soon the Belgrade premiere followed, on July 1st, 2013 in the Sava Center. Performances of this capital author work by Sanja Ilić are planned for Belgrade and many other European cities - as well as around the world.

In 2013, he was awarded the prize "Golden Knight" in International Film Forum in Khabarovsk, Russia, and the "Golden Aphrodite" at the International Independent Film Festival in Nicosia, Cyprus for best film music composed for the film "Led" by Jelena Bajić - Jočić. In 2014 he won the Grand Prix, Violetta d'Oro on the Parma International Music Film Festival, Italy, for the music in the movie "Led".

Now, with new strength and music energy he is working on the project "Stand Up" with his group "Sanja Ilić & Balkanika". The new sound is the result of the years of research in the field of folk music of the Balkans, which is connected with rock and contemporary electronic sounds. Most of the songs are in English, where the new singer Mladen Lukić contributed to the rock and roll atmosphere and beautiful female vocals of Danica and Nevena are showing from which region the music comes from. From the Balkans. From Serbia.

In January 2015, the music "New Wings of Europe" is promoted, which was specially composed by Sanja for Air Serba. This composition is played in all civil aircrafts before takeoff and after landing. It is interesting that this instrumental will be rearranged every 6 months and will have some new musical lines.

Sanja Ilic has the status of a distinguished artist, he is a member of GEMA, AFUN (Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences) and the Association of Composers of Serbia and has been in the board several times. With Balkanika he is continuously performing on concerts all over the world. He lives and works in Serbia, Belgrade.

about us 04

Grupa San - Papirni brodovi


Grupa Aske - Halo halo


Sladjana i Dado - Princeza


Sanja & Sloba - DELTA PROJECT


TV serija SELO GORI...






Film LED