Macedonian music ... Macedonia has an exceptionally rich musical heritage. The numerous studies, among which we can single out the most recent work by Sotir Golabovski, Octoechos, on the tradition of Macedonian spiritual and church singing, are a significant contributiojn to Macedonian and Balkan cultural history.
The Composer's Association of Macedonia today has 60 composers as members. After the founding generation of modern Maceodnian classical music, consisting of Trajko prokopiev, Todor Skalovski, Stefan Gajdov and Zivko Firfov, came the work of Kiril Makedonski, Gligor Smokvarski, Vlastimir Nikolovski, Toma Prosev, Tomislav Zografski, Mihailo Nikolovski, Ljubomir Brangolica and Risto Avramovski.
The Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, established in 1944, is the oldest cultural institution in the field of music. There are also six active chamber and other music ensembles, three professional and about twenty amateur choirs. The richness of Macedonian folklore and songs is represented by the professional ensemble 'Tanec', and there are ten other folklore ensembles which are active on a semi-professional basis. Each year about 50,000 people attend the concerts of the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra and the various folk dance ensembles and other cultural and artistic associations.
In addition to the concerts held as part of the Ohrid Summer Festival, an annual festival of classical music named Interfest was established in Bitola a few years ago.
Folk music is one of the most cherished areas of Macedonian culture, and several folk festivals take place each year. The oldest is Folkfest, held in Valandovo, and it is interesting to note that most festivals have further showings among Macedonian expatriates in Australia and Canada. The Festival of Old Town Songs in Ohrid and the Ilinden Days of Folk Song in Bitola are events which nourish traditional Macedonian songs.
Mak-Fest in Stip and the Skopje Festival are the two best-known festivals of popular music in Macedonia.
The pop group 'Leb i Sol', with its original music which uses traditional folk themes and rhythms, has been active for over twenty years and become widely known beyond the frontiers of Macedonia.