Touted as a “gifted young guitarist” by the New York Times, and “a guitarist to keep an eye on” by the Washington Post, Mak Grgić is emerging as a star on the worldwide stage. By the age of 14, Mak was balancing his world champion status in karate with his love for the guitar. Following an injury to his left thumb, he made the decision to focus solely on a career in music, going on to complete a bachelor’s degree at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. After completing the Arts Leadership master’s programme at USC Thornton, he became the first guitarist in the university’s history to be admitted to the elite Artist Diploma programme. At the age of 22, Mak made his debut in Russia, performing with the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Lande, receiving standing ovations. As a concert artist, he averages eighty-five performances worldwide a year as both soloist and collaborator.
1. Where was your very first flight to?
Hmm. If I remember correctly, my first flight was actually to Japan. My father took me to the world karate championships when I was nine. I came home with lots of toys with the Swissair logo.
2. Name three things you cannot travel without.
I almost always have a guitar with me when I fly. If I'm lucky I'll have it in the cabin with me as hand luggage. Also a computer, because nowadays that's fairly essential. And I'm totally lost without an eye mask and earplugs. I like to sleep on planes, and these help me create my own little peaceful corner for a pleasant nap.
3. What would be your preferred destination for a weekend break?
I'd rather not go anywhere. Somewhere local, for a relaxed coffee with someone.
4. What kind of bird would you be if you could fly?
I'm not very well up on birds but I've always liked eagles. The king of birds with amazing eyesight and incredible speed.
5. Favourite European city and why?
Oh. Do you even have to ask? Ljubljana, of course. Mainly as a tourist and for short visits. Because I live in the USA.
6. What do you like more as a tourist – museums or the buzz of city streets?
Definitely the buzz of the streets. My job is the job of a musician, most of the time at least. Whenever I travel somewhere new, I like to sit in a local café or somewhere outdoors and enjoy the bustle of urban life. On the other hand: museums pulse with their own kind of life, and it is always nice to visit them.