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Meet Zeljko Pavlovic of Vivaldi Music Academy in West University and Bellaire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zeljko Pavlovic.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Zeljko. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
With a 200 year legacy of musicians from both sides of my family, music has always been an essential part of my life. My father was a renowned musician in ex-Yugoslavia and I was surrounded by great artists and musicians from a very young age. I began playing the violin when I was 3 years old, and was fortunate to study under Marina Yashvili, a professor from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory at age 9. Having won several national and international competitions and our family status however did not shield us from the Bosnian conflict.

The war in Bosnia began in 1992 when I was a teenager living in the heart of Sarajevo. We became refugees overnight and music was the only way we sustained ourselves through the difficult and tragic times. I eventually made my way to the Royal Conservatory in Belgium, earning my master’s degree in violin performance. I was so overwhelmed when we finally heard the words “Welcome to America” at the US Embassy in Frankfurt, Germany. From there, my life has been an incredible journey of opportunities playing with orchestras in America.

The idea of Vivaldi Music Academy began when I started looking for violin lessons for my young son. I realized that Houston was in need of a high caliber institution of music education for young children. I was inspired by Vivaldi himself, a Venetian composer who taught children music and whose strings ensemble and choir of orphaned children was widely recognized throughout Europe during his time. My wife Uma, a physician at MD Anderson, and I decided that we would open a music school to provide this opportunity for our community. We opened our first location in West University in August of 2013 and our second location in Bellaire in January of 2016. In three and a half short years, we are now the largest privately owned music school in Texas and one of the largest in the US with 1400 students.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Opening any new business is definitely risky and challenging. We had such a positive and overwhelming response from our community that it was a challenge to keep up with the demand. In our first year, we reached full capacity with a growing waitlist and we had to rapidly expand our faculty, staff and operating systems.

Please tell us about Vivaldi Music Academy.
Our goal is to foster confidence and creativity in students of all ages through exceptional musical learning. Vivaldi Music Academy provides high caliber music education to students of all ages and levels. We offer private lessons in piano, violin, cello, voice, guitar, percussion and more along with a children’s choir, strings and guitar ensemble classes. In addition, we have developed our own early childhood music program – Vivaldi Seasons for ages 1-5.

From decorated recitalists to award winning composers, our faculty are dedicated to teaching and inspiring our students. Faculty members have instrument specific university degrees from prestigious institutions such as Boston Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Yale University and Rice University.

As the 2014 National Music School of the Year, we are proud of our students’ accomplishments, our incredible faculty, dedicated staff and the overwhelming support of our community. We strive to create an encouraging and welcoming environment. We have amazing performance opportunities for our students such as Carnegie Hall in New York City, Vivaldi’s Church in Venice, Italy and our upcoming debut at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I loved being with my father when he was on tour with his band back in the day! Hanging out backstage with incredible artists and musicians, experiencing sold out stadiums of 20,000 people for his concerts, and just being around my father’s charming persona was very special to me. I have fond memories of growing up in the beautiful city of Sarajevo, a cultural hub at the time.

Contact Info:

  • Address: West University: 3914 Gramercy Street, Suite B Houston, TX 77025
    Bellaire: 5305 Bissonnet Street, Bellaire TX 77401
  • Website:
  • Phone: West University: 713-858-9617 Bellaire: 832-404-2299
  • Email:

Image Credit:
Mir Anwar

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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