Founded in the mid-1970s, the Osor Musical Evenings continue to adhere to its primary premise even in the fifth decade of its continuing existence – encouraging the creation of Croatian musical works. The Renaissance Cathedral of Osor, the central stage of the festival, has so far hosted nearly eight hundred concerts with over three hundred works commissioned by the Festival from all generations of composers. The festival programmes, in addition to canonical classical music works from all periods, examine works of key figures of modern and contemporary music in Croatia, including Boris Papandopulo, Stjepan Šulek, Ivan Brkanović, Miroslav Miletić, Igor Kuljerić, Stanko Horvat and others.
Their works are performed by national and international ensembles and soloists. In addition to resident ensembles, including the Croatian Radiotelevision Choir and Orchestra, Zagreb Soloists, Zagreb Quartet and Cantus Ensemble, the festival regularly welcomes prestigious international performers such as the Voces8, L’Arpeggiata and many others.
Along with presenting new sounds and voices from the national classical music scene and associated genres, the Osor Musical Evenings also continue to uphold the tradition. From the outset, the repertoire policy has encouraged musicological research that has resulted in a core literature (e.g. the collection of works Music Baroque in Croatia, 1987) or the discovery of dozens of lost compositions by lesser-known authors. The promotion of contemporary readings of the musical heritage, both traditional and sacral, was outlined by the festival’s very first commission, The Osor Requiem by Boris Papandopulo, a cantata for mixed choir, soloists, narrator, organ, percussion, sopile and electric guitar.