She graduated high school a year earlier the same way like she did with her elementary school, because she was one of the 2 accepted singers from around 300 at the entrance examination at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz (Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst), Austria, one of the best universities in the world for Jazz music. She was accepted as a young 16,5 year old talent, the youngest student in the history of the University.
Since she was 7 she was performing around Europe, with a group `Kolibri` as a soloist, and in a group of singers. Favorised by Milica Manojlovic who was personally interested in making Sofija a great performer, Sofija performed at many large venues,churches,festivals,halls in Italy, Slovenia and many countries more. She had numerous performances in her hometown Belgrade with Kolibri,10 concerts in Kolarac, 4 in Sava Centar, 4 at the National Theater, National Museum,galeries and more. As well as performing in castles and churches very important for the history of music like Studenica, Fruskogorski Manastiri etc.
While she was still in the primary school she won many awards at numerous competitions in many subjects ( history, drawing, literature, languages(Greek,Serbian,English,Spanish,German) biology, reciting ). As a multitalented child she was always coming home with a first prize. While being still in primary school she was the editor in chief of the Magazine `Vuk`. At the same time she was involved in the parlament of Education and she worked with many well known people in culture in Stari Grad.
With all those competitions,writing and playing piano at the age of 12 she won a prize `Golden Mermaid` for the best young singer in the country. And also the next year as a leader of the vocal group that she put together for the next competition. With her groups including Kolibri and Krsmanovic, she recorded several cd`s that were published by RTS Records. And also filmed for the New Year program for the national TV. Since she was one of the five kids in her family she was raised to help and give to the charities. So she ran the track many times, and was involved in many charity events for the Red Cross Organization.
At the same time she had a debut of her Musical Play written for Romeo and Juliet in English language that took place at the Oldest Theater Hall in Belgrade,Serbia when she was 13 years old. A few month after that she organized a show in Nakovo,Vojvodina for the kids moving to another city to continue their education. Attendance on that show was unbelievably huge. And it was made of a several competitions in music,dance,quizz and retorical abilities competition. After finishing the 8th grade of her primary education in one month, with the support of the pianist family Sandorov she continues her schooling in Mokranjac, where besides attending those 2 departments she leads the choir and records 2 CD`s for RTS. Since they recorded arrangements of Serbian Folk songs it caught a lot of media attention, so she did many interviews and shows connected with those CD`s. During that time she also sang in the choir of international conductor Jana Minov, and they won a 1st prize at the world choir competition in Shangai.
She also sang with her best friend and a composer Stefan Djokovic at the Junior Eurovision contest. She was a part of a spectacle happening on the anniversary of Mozart`s death in Sava Centar, and also sang in the play `Who Is Afraid Of Virginia Woolf`. She was one of the 7 actors in the movie `NASCENCY` filmed about her family ( by Vlada Perovic ). And that movie won a several documentary competitions including the big award in Cezch Republic , which gave the director funds to film the second part of the movie in 2013/2014. Sofija was also a part of another family creation, making the first Mural in Bar, Montenegro when she was 6 years old (Barski Ljetopis Festival).
Sofija played classical piano on over 20 concerts, exhibitions and many otherpublic events. Interested in computers in technology, she won a 1st prize at the informatics competition in her high school.
In her first year of jazz studies in Stankovic she is singing at the concert on the Public Square for the celebration of a national holiday with Jelena Jovovic,Brazillian Affair,Girls from Imapanema,Beogradski Sindikat. She was a part of the famous jazz matinee`s at the Kalemegdan Castle. While being in 2 high schools at 4 departments,she attended many workshops including the one with a couple of worlds best percussionists in Bitef Theater, which were followed with the concerts at the same venue. Also during that time she had a chance to teach international visiting students with the National Musicians Organisation. And that CD is recorded for NMO.
As we already know, she was involved in many charity events, therefore she held 2 big concerts in Mokranjac for 2 teenagers that needed urgent help for the heart surgery. And also the concert in Sava Centar for the homeless children. With the same program she held concerts in Stankovic Hall, SKC Hall. Where she met Stjepko Gut and Aria Hendricks ( Jon Hendrick`s daughter ) where she sang with them in jazz club `Ptica`. After that she is leaving to Novi Sad to sing with Sheila Jordan on the Jazz festival 2006, after which she is singing with Eddie Henderson and his band.Few days after that she is singing at the concert with Peter Herbolzheimer that was organized by Goethe Insitut, with international musicians, that show was recorded live and was showed worldwide.
At the end of her 2nd year of her jazz studies, she was invited to sing at the opening of the biggest jazz club in Belgrade, Dizzy`s. Where she sang with Serbian most important jazz musicians. That year (2007) she begins her studies as the youngest student in the history ofthe university. And in the first few months she entered the audition for the MMJAZZ FESTIVAL in Austria, and passed it with the highest score.After wich she performed with Chaka Khan`s band, and that performance is recorded and filmed for ORF. Right after that concert in St.Poelten she wrote an arrangement for her first recital at the university for the song `Shiny Stockings` arranged for nonet. And it had a huge success. During the summer of 2008. in the cooperation with University of Arts in Serbia, she performs on the international project MUSIC MATTER VIBRATION in JDP, with Michelangelo Lupone, Luigi Picaleo, Carlo Laurenzi and Jean Jeffreau. That performance is recorded and kept in the Italian Embassy. The performance included playing instruments, acting, dancing, composing and singing. After that event Italian ambassador decided to finance the opening of a jazz department at the University of Music in Belgrade, since there was no one.
November 2008. with international musicians Zvonimir Sestak, Tuomo Uusitalo, Lubos Brtan and Piotr Pawlak she performs in Slovakia at Bratislava`s biggest Jazz Club. December 2008. she had to big concerts, 1st one is the Vocal Night concert in Wist,Graz and the other one is a Christmas Concert with Sigi Feigl Big Band also in Wist.
After the succesful summer school cooperation University of Serbia and Stari Grad sponsored a big concert in Djura Jaksic House in Belgrade.Where she performed with Ivan Ilic, Milan Stanisavljevic, Jani Sepetavec and Ivan Maksimovic. In february/march she went on a tour with Don Menza well known saxophone player,composer and arranger (Pink Panther Theme) and Sigi Feigl Big Band performing in several cities on a several concerts.Right before the tour she held a concert for the Opening of the Austrian new Railway.
End of march beginning of April Sofija had a chance to work with a singer from NewYork Sandy Cressman who sings Brazilian jazz, and is very well educated about their language and culture.They had a concert together on the 26th of March in Graz, together with Juan Garcia Herreros. May/June 2009. Sofija works with a Finnish group of musicians, and went on a tour with them in the upper Austria exploring new modern kinds of music mixed with jazz and funk.
After coming back to Graz she performed at the opening of the New Concert Hall Mumuth in Graz, with Edward Anthony Partyka`s Big Band and Lena Mentschel.
July 2009. she proudly presents her duo music with Yvonne Bruger in the Bad Goisern at the human rights charity event, where they asked her to teach at the University stunned by her talent and ambition.
Unfortunately too busy to stay there and teach,she had to go back to Serbia and record a CD with Flamez Shop in the studio of Vladimir Rackovic and then gets into a contact with him and sing with his famous Belgrade Dixieland Orchestra at several festivals such as Bojcinsko Kulturno Leto and Gardoske Letnje Svecanosti. At the same time, she works with producers like Petar Cvetkovic, Dusan Kacarevic,James Rockie, Marvin Stitt, and some more. During the recordings she performs almost every night in a Jazz&Blues Club Plek.
After getting back to Austria she is starting to sing with a jazz latin band SWAY, with which she`s winning the 1st prize on the EMERGENZA Band Festival, 1st prize on Austrian Band Competition, and Replugged Band Competition. November 2009. Sofija works with Derrick Gardner, Charles Davis and Ed Soph. In december she goes on a tour with Tuomo Uusitalo,Felipe Oliveira,Juraj Rasi and Lubos Brtan.Performing at the international Modern Music Festival in Lyptovsky Mikulas and some concerts more including one in Brooklyn. End of december she sings with a KUG JAZZ choir in Wist and in Capparri. After which she performs with a Big Band on the 18th of January 2010. Also with a support of Mary Frances Lubahn, Milan Opera singer she performs at several classical concerts singing opera arias.
All these years of performing she did many interviews, and most of them are recorded.Including the one with Katarina Epstein for Radio Beograd 1 – Afternoon Mood , two shows. And the one for BETA RFI that was recorded a few years before that, and played every year internationally. During her first 3 years of the university she worked with a unique free jazz vocalensemble and performed with the same ensemble at many venues around Europe (Wist, Postgarage, Kug...) And at the same time worked with Barre Philips, John Abercrombie, Adam Nussbaum,Billy Hart,Jerry Bergonzi, Dave Santoro,Bob Brookmeyer. She also worked with many famous jazz musicians since she was 14 like: Jelena Jovovic, Shawn Monteiro, Christian McBride, Terence Blanchard, Ambrose Akinmusire, Fritz Pauer, Jason Moran, Jeff Ballard, David Murray, Rob Bargad, Michael Kahr, Roberto Quintero, Wayne Darling, Annette Giesriegl, Jay Clayton, Sheila Cooper, Sheila Jordan, Dena DeRose, Kevin Mahogany, Nasheet Watts, Taurus Mateen, Fred Hersch, Luis Bonilla , Jim Rotondi, Jim McNeely and many others.
Beginning of the year 2010. she performes her famous arrangement `Disney Medley` for a septet.That concert was followed by a performance in jazz club `Miles` that she dedicated to Horace Silver`s music since he is one of her biggest influences where she presented another famous arrangement of hers with Horace Silver`s tunes. She wrote lyrics to more than 30 Horace Silver`s songs.Spring 2010. she was invited by an English composer and pianist Veryan Weston to join an international a cappella group `VOCIFEROUS` together with him ,Annette Giesriegl, Siruan Kueng, Anush Apoyan, Iris Ederer, Dorothea Jaburek, Patrik Thurner and Franz Schmuck. They all performed together the composition byt Veryan Weston called `Tessalations 2` at the jazz festival in Graz `Singers and Voices` on the stage with Norma Winston. The same set-up performed in Weiz at the `Choir Fire` Festival,where she also performed with the KUG Jazz Choir the same night.
June 2010. she sings with a well-known band `The Jazz Passengers` in `Our Little Theater`. At the same time she got and invitation to perform at the NewYork FashionWeek for the Elie Saab Show.
July 2010. she is invited to sings at the opening of the Brazilian Cultural Center in Belgrade with guitarist Andreja Stankovic from Amsterdam.
September 2010. she goes on a tour in England with VOCIFEROUS. They perform at numerous venues in several cities including London,Welwyn Garden City,St. Albans etc. They also had a pleasure of performing with and amazing pianist Leo Svirsky and the percussion ensemble Welwyn Hatfield Ethnic Minority Group. The whole concert was filmed and it is going to be published during 2011. on a Documentary Film Festival in UK. She also records her cd with Vociferous in the Pinewood Studios in BBC. That CD is later released in spring 2011. for the EMANEM RECORDS. After the tour, she is coming back to Serbia to perform in jazz club Wheels and Izba in Novi Sad, and also records an album with a producer Medicine Man,that is going to be released later (spring 2011) for the EXIT label.
Winter 2010. she is in Graz in her last years of jazz studies, she there works withCharenee Wade and Kevin Mahogany. After that she got a chance to work with Jason Moran and the Bandwagon first at the Belgrade Jazz Festival then at the VIP Jazz Festival in Zagreb, and she composes and records a tune with Moran. And the same night famous saxophonist David Murray recognizes her great talent and asks her to sing with him `at least one tune`.
From september 2010. she is starting to work for a Film Festival Beldocs on 3 positions Marketing Manager, Public International Relations and as a Stylist and a host for the Festivalin Cannes.
Modeling for the fashion magazines,ads,and commercials. Won the first prize in aphotography and photoshop competition in the `SMASHING MAGAZINE` ,she did many exhibitions with her photo work and also as a painter and designer. Sofija also designed dresses and shoes for famous performers in Eastern Europe.Worked for many magazines,as a writer,stylist and a photographer.Now writing for a jazz magazine that is covering European jazz scene `Jazzin`.
February 2011. she is on a tour in the states for a month recording her album with Poogie Bell and Jazzadelica for Warner Bros, where she has a chance to perform for/with Ambrose Akinmusire, Rodney Kendrick, Poogie Bell, Sean Jones, Alex Han, Brandone McCune, Melonie Daniels, Nikki Ross, Lalah Hathaway, Christian McBride,Terence Blanchard, Casey Benjamin... and many more.
In the spring/summer 2011 her work with producer Shazalakazoo was published in a compliation `SWING DISOKTEKA` by a German Label EASTBLOK. After that she performed with Filip Bulatovic on tha national TV in Serbia,in a show that is showed live worldwide `MIRA ADANJA POLAK I VI`. And held a concert in a `Montaza Klub` with local musicians in Belgrade. In June 2011, she performed at the Exit Festival, opening of Cinema City Movie Festival in Novi Sad Serbia, for around 10 000 people. Where she performed tracks from the CD she did with Medicine Man `Data Jazz` which is also the soundtrack of the festival. With the same project they have an organized tour in India in the 2012.
August 2011. Sofija is being invite to perform at the Voicingers jazz competition/festival in Poland, where she continues the tour, going back and performing also in Austria, and finally back in Serbia.
In September she shoots the music video for one of the songs from her `Data Jazz` album with a Soho director Lana Pavkov. And starts another 4 music videos and 3 movies. The other 3 from the 4 music videos she started will be published next year,since the first one already had a premiere a couple of weeks ago on Serbian National Television. All 4 of them are based on the scenes from a movie by a Columbia director Igor Simic, named `Sofijazz` about Sofija Knezevic`s life. Movie is going to be published in the spring/summer 2012. And it is sponsored by RTS. The second movie Sofija did in September is called `Serbian Jazz BRE!` and its actually a documentary following a book about Serbian jazz and jazz musicians in the country, that are living or lived, who are important in Serbian jazz history. The book holds the same title as the movie, and the photo exhibition. No need to say that Sofija is the youngest artist in the whole project. The book,movie and the photo exhibition are done by Ivan Grlic with a help of some other great artists, and was published on the 11th of April 2012. That project is touring the world starting in the summer 2012. with a live band following the project, which Sofija is also a part of. And the 3rd movie is called `Balkan Spirit` directed by German artists with help of a German government, where Sofija plays a role of a singer who sings in more than 5 different lanugages and in many genres of music.
Since she got to the United States she has been offered a couple of record deals by some major labels as Atlantic, Universal,Sony and Warner Bros.. She is going to be signed to one of those labeles later this year. While being in Europe she recorded one album with Carvin and Ivan (Musiq Soulchild,Mary J Blidge etc.) for Ethical Music Entertainment, and started working on material for the album with Nicholas Payton, and Phillip Lassiter.
During the October and November 2011. Sofija also graduated from Teen Vogue Fashion University ahead of her class, since she worked in fashion already and was very familiar with fashion industry, photographers, history... In December 2011. her album with Shazalakazoo Karton City Blok is published by EastBlok Records.
Her interviews for the `She`,`LOVE`,`Razbibriga,`Musiq`,`Bazaar` and the `Elle` magazine are being published. Also both of her new videos on CNN. And the inverview with Terri Matthews for the FlyTalk TV.
In 2012. she had another long tour in Europe with Sofijazz Quintet(Otis Brown III,Oleg Markov,Tuomo Uusitalo,Norbert Farkas), where in Subotica she had Al Foster in her rhythm section.After that she is being invited to perform at a couple of TV shows and programs like Zikina Sarenica,Magazine In, Hocu Da Znas,Jutarnji Program etc.
30. of April she is holding 4 concerts in 5 different cities for the celebration of the first International Jazz Day, invited and organized by UNESCO.
In May 2012. Sofija composed,scored and arranged pieces for a play at the Madlenianum theater.
While being on tour and performing, she is also doing the clinics for young singers and instrumentalists, with being invited to teach as a guest professor at the opening of the first jazz department at the University for Music in Belgrade,Serbia together with Michelle Hendricks and others.And right now she is also writing a book about jazz singing and technique, together with the Serbian Jazz Real Book. And also writing a Jazz Symphony with a great help of Terence Blanchard. Started filming a movie by Aleksandrija Production `Love Comes Later`, where they also used her songs as the soundtrack.And on the 1st of July 2012 she became the editor in chief of Jazzin` Magazine (www.jazzin.rs).
During the summer 2012. Sofija performs at numerous festivals and venues including the newly opened JAZZIBAR festival in Kraljevo where she performed with the All Star band. She also performed at jazz club Krug,Brankow, Iguana, Amstel, and at Dom Omladine the house of Belgrade Jazz Festival, where she performed with the same All Star Jazz band for the opening of Serbian Jazz Bre project.She also performed at festivals as Jazzavienne, Wien jazz festival, Jazz Festival Vrsac,White Fields Jazz Festival,KAIROS Jazz Festival etc. And the the interview that she filmed for the national TV and the show Vita Studentis starts showing at the end of the Summer.
Before going back to New York she is recording her new single and working with her director on a music video for it, which is named `Lipstick`. Lipstick song happened to be a huge success showing on MTV and other televisions in Europe. It was reviewed in many magazines as Bazar, Wannabestars, Nadlanu, Blic, Aladin,RTS etc. The video was published December 1st 2012 and in the first two days had over 10 000 hits on YouTube, and it was the number one on the radio top 20 for over a month in the countries of Eastern Europe. The song also included a trombone instrumental by Elliot Mason. And it was on the I Got Talent competition in Europe January 26th 2013.The song was also in the finals of the World Song Contest of 2012.
During the autumn and winter Sofija became a faculty of the Music School Of New York City, and was invited to teach at the New School Of Music, in 2013. At the same time she is being interviewed , photographed and featured on the spreads and covers of magazines such as January 2013 issue of Cosmopolitan, Student magazine, What Women Want, Per Aspera Ad Astra,City Magazine, Starry ID, Women In Music etc.
While teaching and writing music, Sofija organizes a Benefit concert for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victims and her colleague saxophonist Jimmy Greene who lost his child. The concert was held at Somethin` Jazz Club (ex Miles) in New York, with Obed Calvaire, Luques Curtis, Tuomo Uusitalo and Elliot Mason in the band. Concert was filmed by Milica Petrovic, and photographed by Frank Stewart and Music Exclusives. And it caught a lot of media attention, it was reviewed by CNN,Music Exclusives, NY Daily News, Hot House etc. And all the proceeds from the concert went to Anna Marquez fund.
In January 2013. she is announced to be in the finals of Betty Carter Jazz Ahead. Also her song reached the top jazz download at All About Jazz in the mid January, with her `Lipstick` video being publish on the same site.
At the moment she is in New York performing, teaching, writing and arranging music and also filming the second part of the movie `Sofijazz`.
From: Official Web Site