Famous personalities

Marij Kogoj (1892 – 1956)

spomenik Marij Kogoj

As a child, the Slovenian composer Marij Kogoj was a self-taught musician. He began composing as early as in 1910, i.e. before he got a formal music education. During 1914 and 1917 he studied composition in Vienna. Although he worked as a successful music critic and private tutor in the Opera House in Ljubljana, his main work was still composing music. His works belong to musical Expressionism. He became popular in two music fields: on the one hand, there is the opera; the opera “Črne maske” (“Black Masks”) is his masterpiece. On the other, there are his solo singings, compositions for choirs and songs for children, which are also well-known. As far as Slovenian musical development is concerned, he is regarded as the first Expressionist. In remembrance of him, every year the international Kogojevi Dnevi Music Festival is held in Kanal.


Valentin Stanič (1774 - 1847)


After the secondary school, Stanič studied theology and philosophy in Salzburg. At the same time, he began practicing Alpine climbing and achieved successes climbing into Salzburg’s mountains. In 1798, he entered in a friary and was ordained as priest in 1802. As he was very excited by his love for mountains, he was the forth inhabitant of the world who climbed into the highest Slovenian mountain Triglav, as well as the first one who measured its sea level. ln 1808, he founded a school in Ročinj. He laid great emphasis on gym, swimming, mountaineering and on all the exercises that strengthen the body. Thanks to his knowledge, he helped people very much, and gave many advises to the sick ones. His greatest merit in the field of medicine is the introduction of vaccinations against smallpox. Stanič was a great, spiritual enlightened person. He laid great stress on school books and thus he also wrote and published his own books. On his initiative, institute for deaf and dumb and a society against animal torturing were founded in Gorica. He also opened the first bookshop, in which religious and educational books were sold. He also had great merits in the introduction of progressing agriculture. He taught farmers how to do various rural works. In 1818, the archbishop of Gorica Jože Wallant called him in Gorica in order to nominate him dean. Today he is remembered as an outstanding man, who worked as a priest, climber, doctor, poet, social worker and farmer. In remembrance of him, a traditional march “Following Valentin Stanič” (“Po stopinjah Valentina Staniča”) from Solkan to Kanal is organized every year.






Riko Debenjak

Riko Debenjak (1908 - 1987)

In February 2008, Kanal celebrated the 100th anniversary of Riko Debenjak’s birth. In order to commemorate the latter, there was an inauguration of his bust in front of the Gallery entrance. The statue was sculpted by the academic Sculptor, Mirsad Begić. The Honourable Speaker at the inauguration was the then Minister of Culture, Dr. Vasko Simonitti.    








Ivan Čargo (1898 - 1958)

Ivan Čargo - Spomenik

Ivan Čargo, a painter, drawer, illustrator and scene painter, was born in the Littoral. After having finished his study in Rome and Florence, in 1924, together with Veno Pilon, Čargo presented his first works at the first art exhibition in Gorica.
He mostly worked as a graphics designer. Among his renowned works, the following shall be included: the portraits of his friends, i.e. composers, artists, writers, architects and actors. In the summit of his production, he produced several caricatures of artistic contemporaries coming from art society. With the growth of unemployment rate, his paintings began representing persons doing degraded and oppressed jobs, i.e. workers, farmers, miners, blacksmiths and rafters.


Marijan Gabrijelčič (1940 - 1998)

Marijan Gabrijelčič


Marijan Gabrijelčič, a Composer and Educationalist, was born on 18th January, 1940, in Gorenje Polje. He finished his studies of composition at the Academy of Music in 1966. In 1969, he completed a specialist Post-Graduate study of composition with Professor Lucijan Marija Škerjanc.

His first great successes in composition were linked tightly to Kosovel’s poetry and his native Primorska: Jesen (Autumn), V somrak zvoni (Ringing in the Dusk), Vetri v polju (Winds in the Field), Riba Faronika (Faronika the Fish), Vse je tiho (All is Silent), Marija je rožice brala (Maria was Picking Flowers), Spomin (Memory), Pevcu (To the Vocalist), Koncert za violo in orkester (A Concert for Viola and Orchestra). The Mass for a mixed choir, organs and bells was first written and performed at the 16th Kogoj’s Days in 1995 in Kanal ob Soči.

The Christmas Mass, which was written in homage to Pope John Paul II, will be performed for the first time in public at the 29th Kogoj’s Days with the help of an orchestra, choir and soloists of the SNG Opera Ljubljana.





Štefan Mauri (1931-2014)

Štefan Mauri g


Štefan Mauri was born in 1931 in Avče by Kanal. After he had finished Technical School in Ljubljana, he completed the first level of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Reka in 1955. In 1967, he graduated from composition in the class of Professor L. M. Škerjanc. His later life path was interwoven tightly with working as a teacher of professional technical subjects in Ljubljana and Nova Gorica and with active and committed musical work. He achieved some great acknowledgements as a Choirmaster (he led the Chamber Choir in Nova Gorica) while, as a composer, he wrote numerous choral, vocal-instrumental and chamber works. He cooperated actively also in the International Festival of Contemporary Music called “Kogoj’s Days” and received many awards and accolades. In 2010, he received the title of Honorary Citizen of the Kanal ob Soči Municipality.

He passed away in his 83rd year, on 30 December, 2014. He was buried at the cemetery in his home village Avče.  








Josip Kocijančič (1849 - 1878)

Josip Kocjančič, a national awakener, Choirmaster, Composer and a Publicist, was born on 16th March 1849 in Kanal.Spominska plošča - Josip Kocijančič (4 of 4)

In 1867, when he was still a very young boy, a sixth grader to be exact, he established a Reading Club in the so-called “torion” (defence tower) at the Križnič Inn. The Reading Club played an important role in the preservation of the Slovenian language, as the Choirs and Dramatic and Recital Societies also operated under the auspices of it. He was a self-taught musician, who managed the Student Choir (their most notorious success was achieved at the great “word” in Gorica) all by himself already as a third grader. In the period from 1869 to 1873, while he was studying Law in Vienna, he ran a choit called Slovenia. He dedicated himself to his studies again in the years from 1875 to 1876 in Gradec, where he led the singing lessons of the Slovenian Singing Society. Later, he founded an excellent Choir-Quartet in Kanal, in which he collaborated with a brilliant baritone.

He gained important choir contributions by giving the incentive for the founding of Slavec - a choir for the entire Gorica - that has brought a qualitative turning point to the singing development of Primorska. He published two collections of Slovenian folk songs for a male choir. His original compositions were published only after his death in a collection entitled as “Čuti v napevih” (Ljubljana, 1881, eight men choirs).

He died in Kanal due to then incurable disease (Tuberculosis) on 10th April, 1878. 


Anton Nanut (1932 - 2017)

_AD_1647Anton Nanut studied at the Ljubljana Music Academy. He began his career as a permanent conductor of the Dubrovnik City Orchestra, and built it as a conductor of Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the head of the Conducting Department at Ljubljana Music Academy. He took the philharmonic musicians in Italy, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Poland, the Soviet Republic and to the States. During the period between 1981 and 1998, he was the Chief Conductor of the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, with which he released more than 30 CDs. He was also in tour in the famous Carnegie Hall in New York, Ciudad de Mexico and in many other European countries. He was a conductor for Dresden Steeatkappelle, the Berlin Radio Symphonic Orchestra, the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra and many others. For his artistic work, Nanut received a number of rewards: Carnegie Medal, Smatana Medal and Milano Golden Medal by Milan Concert Association.









Vinko Vodopivec (1878-1952)


On the 90th anniversary of Vinko Vodopivec’s birth, a Priest and Slovenian Composer, the people of the village Ročinj and the members of the eponymous academic choir erected a memorial plaque on his house of birth. On it is written:

“Out of the live wells of a warm homestead scooped the master of the Slovenian melodies.”




Stanislav Anton Kamenšček (1908-1978)


Stanislav Anton Kamenšček was born in 1908 in the village of Ročinj. He was a member of the TIGR Organisation and a combatant for the liberation of the Slovenian Primorska. In September 2008, a memorial plaque was erected on his house of birth in grateful remembrance of his actions (the petitioners were the Slovenian Community of Gorica and Krožek Anton Gregorčič). 





Ivan Gradnik Miklavčič (1680-1714)


Ivan Gradnik – Miklavčič was the military leader of the great Tolmin Revolt in 1713. In April 2008, a memorial was erected at the cemetery in the village of Ročinj. He was convicted and executed in Travnik in Gorica in 1714. His spirit has carved itself into the hearts of the people, while his sacrifice has become a part of our remembrances.