Dolores: “Every moment somebody dies. I always told my students that tomorrow things will be better. They say, ‘Why you lie?’ But one day will be better, because they must. We should have medical treatment but we didn't. It was a very stressful life. I lost my students - [the snipers] kill them and it's very hard.
At this time I thought I will never work again. In the war I met a lot of people from this time and they said, ‘What are you doing here [in Sarajevo]? You must go.’ And I said, ‘No, I will stay here until the end of the war because this is our city; we want to be here and be working for the whole war.’ Children have school in the basements and it was a very hard situation, but we worked to the end of the war. It was a couple months before the war ended that we were here [in America]. But everybody asked, ‘How can you be working during the war? And how do you study music during the war?’ Because before the work we had gave us a very high-level, comfortable life. We said we cannot stop that. Somebody will survive the war and continue to make music, as they have done. [Now there is a] new symphony orchestra, new opera, new music school, and life continues good. The current music director and conductor of the Sarajevo Opera, Dario Vučić, was my student during these days. This is why we continued to work during the war.”
... Go back: Part 2.
Dolores and Augustin Martinovic are classical musicians who lived in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina during what was the longest siege of a capital city in modern warfare, lasting from 1992-1996. Dolores worked as a piano teacher while Augustin was the music director of the Sarajevo Radio-Television Symphony Orchestra. Dolores and Augustin have been living in Pittsburgh, PA, USA for over twenty years, but their life in Sarajevo is always in their minds and hearts. We visited the couple on a brisk December weekday during a lull in their lesson schedule. We were ushered into their warm living room, tastefully decorated with oil paintings (some painted by Augustin himself), rugs in the Turkish style warming the floor, a fireplace decked with dolls in traditional Croatian dresses, and a cheery Christmas tree gracing the corner opposite of Dolores’ black baby grand piano. Once coats were shed and hugs exchanged, Dolores bustled into the room with homemade cookies while Augustin offered us the choice of mid-afternoon coffee, eggnog, or cognac. Once everyone had settled down in a cozy circle in the couches and chairs, Dolores began to speak to us about their life in former Yugoslavia: their home, their lives’ work, their unending hope, and their new home.