Pianist Pedja Muzijevic stands underneath a geometric wooden sculpture.
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The Spark with Tift Merritt: Pedja Mužijević

Virtual Event
October 22, 2020
7:30 PM

Registration for this event closes at 12 PM EDT on October 22, 2020.

Join us for the second episode of The Spark with Tift Merritt, featuring pianist Pedja Mužijević. In this livestreamed video series, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and UNC alumna Tift Merritt returns to Carolina Performing Arts to take us behind the scenes in artist-to-artist interviews that delve deep into the creative process.

Pedja Mužijević has defined his career with creative programming, unusual combinations of new and old music, and lasting collaborations with other artists and ensembles. Called “mesmerizing,” “precise,” and  “enigmatic,” Mužijević’s bold programming draws inspiration from his  many creative pursuits. His performances at Carolina Performing Arts alone have included pieces for a prepared piano as well as an immersive, intimate concert he curated and performed with the UNC Chamber Singers at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio in fall 2018.

How do you light a spark? How do you make something true? How does art happen? What is mumbled on the way in the studio and how can we hear it? 

Welcome to The Spark.

Tift Merritt

Based on the series Merritt produced for the acclaimed Marfa, Texas Public Radio, The Spark peels back the polished performance to reveal the elbow grease, risk, fire, and courage behind the art—and artists—we think we know. Each month, Tift will welcome a new artist for a 45-minute livestreamed conversation that gets to the heart of their work, followed by a 15-minute audience Q&A. 

The Spark with Tift Merritt logo

A Note from Tift

I began collecting artist interviews for Marfa, Texas Public Radio many years ago and I am thrilled to continue that work in partnership with Carolina Performing Arts. Each month, I speak with an artist about how they really make their work and live their lives. The conversations are not about neatly packaged finished products. These are conversations about laughter, tough times, teachers, and turning points—the not so neatly hewn insight which comes from having your hands in the dirt.

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In the new time zone of 2020, I revisit my own questions of meaning and making meaning every day. Here, I pose them to beautiful thinkers and bright pioneers of making one’s own way though the world. The Spark is my chance to be a student. I learn something new from each episode and find that resonating when I jump back into my own work. The truth is that I’d make The Spark if no one heard it at all.  It is my reminder that making work is a process rather than a destination and listening to the world around you is sometimes the best part.
Tift Merritt, summer 2020

Free and open to the public; registration required. Registration for this event closes at 12 PM EDT on October 22, 2020. This event will stream live, with closed captioning provided by the streaming platform. If you have questions or concerns related to accessibility, please contact us.

A smiling man leans against the wall.

About Pedja Mužijević

Known for his creative programming, Pedja Mužijević draws inspiration from many artistis endeavors. In an interview with Yamaha, he credited his musical style in part to his years working with dancers, saying that they “actually tend to be a bit more adventurous in their musical tastes than many people in the music world.” 


An enthusiastic home cook, Mužijević once performed works by Ravel and Mussorgsky followed by a multi-course dinner prepared by chef David Bouley in his New York City test kitchen.  

Beyond performance, Mužijević explores and reimagines the concert experience—both in programming and presentation—as the artistic administrator at Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, artistic advisor to Tippet Rise Arts Center in Montana, and residency director for Concert in the 21st Century at the Banff Centre in Canada.

Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pedja Mužijević studied piano at the Academy of Music in Zagreb, Croatia before moving to the United States to study at the Curtis Institute of Music and Juilliard. Since then, he has performed at a plethora of acclaimed concert halls and festivals, including at Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center.

Artist Tift Merritt looks to the side with a slight smile.

About Tift Merritt

Called “a diamond in a coal mine” by Emmylou Harris, Tift Merritt has been compared to Joni Mitchell and James Taylor in a proud tradition that reaches back to Dusty Springfield and Bobbie Gentry. A Raleigh native, Merritt played local haunts like Cats Cradle and The Cave before her debut album Bramble Rose soared to the Times and New Yorker top ten lists.


Since then, Merritt has toured world-wide, opening for Joan Baez and appearing on Austin City Limits, the Grand Ole Opry, and NPR.

She returned home to make her Carolina Performing Arts debut in the 17/18 season with a sold-out performance. She began hosting The Spark in over a decade ago for Marfa Texas Public Radio, where it garnered instant acclaim from artists and audiences alike.

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