About Me

Biography

Miha Renčelj – Pianist, Composer and Teacher

The Beginnings

Miha Renčelj, born on April 1, 1981, in Ljubljana, began his musical career at the age of seven, when he and his sister received their first piano from their grandmother. This was followed by enrollment in a music school, where he regularly performed at school performances, and he also took part in the 21st Slovenian Competition of Young Musicians in Celje in 1992.

While he was attending primary School in Šiška, he often accompanied the school choir, with which he also performed in Slovenian Philharmonic.

During his high school years at Poljane High School, he regularly performed at school cultural events, and he also performed on the piano with some original compositions at the 100th anniversary of high school, which was also broadcast from the Gallus Hall of Cankarjev dom by TV Pika.

21. Slovensko tekmovanje mladih glasbenikov v Celju 24.3.1992
Slovenian Competition of Young Musicians in Celje in 1992.

The First High School Bands and Guitar

With many teenage love troubles and problems at school, Miha, as a counterweight to classical music, felt the need to explore Rock music and his second instrument - the guitar. He often played guitar and sang songs by Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Guns n’ Roses during school breaks at Poljanska Gimnazija. That was the time when first high school bands were formed. 

In his late teens, he participated in various bands, including the group Anavrin and a little later in the group Dayout, in which he gained many experiences on many Slovenian stages and festivals, and also recorded some videos.

Miha completed 9 piano classes at the Franc Šturm Secondary School with prof. Kazimira Gale, and after graduating he enrolled in the study of psychology at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana.

Miha's early love for the guitar, 1998, Photo: Iva Stanič

At the Crossroads

After dropping out of psychology studies, he found himself at a crossroads. He began to look for a career mainly in music, so he began researching musical composition, songwriting and wrote his first songs.

This was followed by a collaboration with producer Peter Penko, from whom he learned the basics of music production, and they also created music for a couple of theater performances and music projects.

He also began collaborating with producer Žiga Rangus and the group Intimn Frizurn. They have been featured on the compilation CDs Val 09 and Rokerji pojejo pesnike 5. The collaboration continued later, when Žiga embarked on an independent path with the project Raane.

A little later, with the band Lejla & Don't Quit The Band, he reached the finals of the TV show Glasborola. From now on he flirted more and more with writing his own songs and vocal musical expression.

 

 

Na razpotju
At the Crossroads, Railway Museum, 2008, Photo: Luka Grilc

Chansons

In collaboration with drummer, percussionist and arranger Luka Kuhar, with whom they met on a music tour across Scandinavia, Miha released his first single, on the Slovenian Cultural Day in 2010 - a tango with lyrics by Prešeren, called The River Man (Povodni mož). The song was also included in an exhibition hosted by Gorenjski muzej called Prešeren v popularni glasbi. He often performed the song at the traditional annual event of Prešeren's recitations on the occasion of the cultural day in the center of Ljubljana.

Flirting with vocal music has continued since 2012 when he appeared at Slovenian Chanson Festival with his song Ljubljana, which was his first vocal television appearance. Two years later, he was ranked in festival Slovenska popevka 2014, where he presented the song V mojem starem klobuku. The fruitful collaboration with Luka Kuhar also gave birth to the song Hollywood in 2018, for which he also recorded the video.

Nastop na Slovenski popevki 2014, Foto: Žiga Culiberg
Performance at Slovenska popevka 2014, Photo: Žiga Culiberg

Ambient Music

Miha has dedicated a huge part of his musical career to creating and reproducing ambient music. He started in the restaurant Argentino in Ljubljana's BTC (2009-2012), where he played mainly music by the Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla.

Later in 2018, he performed regularly at Ljubljana's Kavarna Union, where he played lounge piano music on Friday nights. The Event was called Retro Piano. The repertoire contained legendary Slovenian composers from so-called Golden age of Slovenian songs of the sixties and seventies.

Miha Renčelj kavarna Union Plakat
Promotional poster for "Retro Piano" evenings in Ljubljana's Kavarna Union, 2018, photo: Luka Grilc

Working in Culture

What turned out to be one of the most fruitful collaborations, was the one with saxophonist and clarinetist Zoran Mosič, which probably reached its peak in 2015 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The group Balkan Rog, founded by Mosić and Yelena Istileulova, participated in Sharq Taronalari X, the one of the largest ethno festivals in the world. The group presented the country of Slovenia for the first time in the history of the festival, which is held every two years and is funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

At the beginning of 2016, Miha started working as a self-employed cutural worker specialized in following professions: instrumentalist, composer and arranger .

Nastop na festivalu Sharq Taronalari v Samarkandu (UZB), 2015
Performance at the Sharq Taronalari Festival in Samarkand (UZB), 2015

Television Appearances

Miha collaborated with RTV Slovenia many times. In addition to the previously mentioned performances at the festival Slovenska popevka and the Slovenian Chanson Festival, he performed a few times on the shows Od blizu and Dobro jutro .

Host Vesna Milek invited him to her show several times, where he accompanied musical guests on various occasions: tenor Janez Lotrič in aria Nessum Dorma (G. Puccini), countertenor Žiga Lakner in aria Va, pensiero (G. Verdi), actor Marko Mandič at the recitation of Baudelaire's poetry, singer Helena Blagne with the song Dež of Demolition group, and sometimes performed himself.

In the morning TV show Dobro jutro in July 2018, at the invitation of the host Ana Tavčar, he performed his song Hollywood live, accompanying himself on the piano.

Performance of the opera aria Nessun Dorma with tenor Janez Lotrič in the TV show Od blizu, 2016, photo: RTV Slovenia

Collective Keys

In January 2017, he started the project called Collective Keys for the first time from his home. It is a project of so-called Live Streams of free piano improvisations, during which he encouraged his followers and listeners on Facebook to participate in the creative process by giving suggestions for the title of the work in the comments below the video. A few days after the performance, he chose the one he thought was most suitable for each improvisation.

Between January and August 2017, Miha performed 50 improvisations in this way, and in 2018 he released his first album Collective Keys I, on which he chose the 4 best improvisations from this series. In March 2020 he started working on Collective Keys II in Studio Metro as part of the creation of the album and performed another 50 improvisations.

Piano Teaching

Miha started teaching piano for the first time at the music school NEOMUZIK in 2012, where he was invited by his music colleague Pero Micić. He continued with a private music school where he still teaches today. In the meantime, he was also a regular teacher at the British International School BIMS.

Recently, he has devoted himself mainly to researching and improving his Online Piano Classes. If you want to learn more about that, go to section 'Teaching'.

Dvorana Tabor, 2012, photo: Zoran Mosić
© Miha Renčelj / All Rights Reserved