Kornelija Bata Kovač was born on the 1st of January in 1942 in Nis, where he lived until 1946, when he moved with his parents to Subotica, his father’s hometown.
His grandfather Kornel Kovač was a musician; he also worked as a conductor in the Subotica Opera, his father Josip played in the Subotica Philharmonic and discovered jazz with the Universal orchestra, and he was also involved in composing.
Surrounded by instruments, Kornelija and his brother Mihajlo (at one time he was a member of the group Delfini, later dedicated himself to TV journalism and since 2001 he was the ambassador of Yugoslavia in Austria) became interested in music very early; they attended a junior music school, piano department.
In addition to classical music education, Kornelija Kovač devotes a lot of time to jazz and rock music. Kovač composed his first composition called “Pusti trotoari” (ENG Empty Sidewalks) at the age of fourteen – in 1956. The young Kovač had his first public performance at the Subotica gymnasium, which he attended at the popular afternoon tea parties.
He began his career as a professional musician in 1961 when he formed his first group – “BKB” in Sarajevo, which became a respected jazz trio. In 1963, he performed with this group at the YU jazz festival in Bled, Slovenia.
After years of leading various orchestras in Bosnia, Kornelija Kovač joins Sarajevo’s most popular pop group “Index.” He performs with them on a two-month-long tour of Russia. He wrote songs like ”Boj na Mišaru”‘ and ”Ako jednom budes sama”.
After this great professional experience, in 1968, when he moved to Belgrade, Kornelija Kovač founded one of the most important Yugoslav groups of all time – “Korni Grupa.”
With the “Korni Group” he performs at numerous music festivals in the former Yugoslavia and Europe, among which of particular importance is his participation in the “Opatija Festival” in 1974. The victory of the “Korni Group” in Opatija ensured their participation in the “Eurovision Song Contest” that year in Brighton. They placed 12th, and later that year, Kornelija Kovač decided to stop the group. Since then, Kornelija Kovač has started a successful solo career.
In 1980, he moved to the United Kingdom, where he collaborated on many musical projects with stars of the British pop and rock scene, such as Bernie Marsden, guitarist of the group “White Snake”, Hans Zimmer, Paul Jones, former singer of the group “Manfred Mann” and Ph.D. Kornelija Kovač wrote music for theater, film, and television. As a composer of pop and rock music, he was extremely successful.
His compositions are published on numerous LP records in former Yugoslavia, Spain, France, USA, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Greece, etc. Many are prefixed with “gold” or “platinum” records in Yugoslavia.
In many musical projects in Spain since 1979, Kornelija Kovač appears as a producer, composer, or arranger. He cooperates with many TV stations in Spain, such as TELE 5 (he is the music producer of Talia, star of Tele 5), and Antena 3 (music director of the popular TV show “De Tu, A Tu”). Also, Kornelija Kovač spends a year as a keyboardist of the popular Spanish Caco Senate Salsa band). For CEAR, he releases a humanitarian CD to help children in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war in the 90s. Numerous public figures are involved in that action, including the then president of Spain, Felipe Gonzalez.
After returning to Yugoslavia, he gathers old and new music stars and, in his music studio, continues to work actively on many musical projects. In addition to theater, films, and television, Kornelija Kovač also wrote some of the biggest hits of local music stars, such as Zdravko Čolić (April u Beogradu, Živiš u oblacima, Zvao sam je Emili, Jedna zima sa Kristinom, Jedina, Mađarica).
Genarations 5 (Ti samo budi dovoljno daleko), Lepe Brene (Janoš, Sanjam, Sitnije Cile, sitnije) and many more.
In 2006 he met his wife Snezana Kovač at the Belgrade Book Fair. On 22nd March 2014, he married Snezana.
He died on 13th September 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia. He was 80 years old.
He leaves behind three children, widow Snezana Kovač.
Her daughter Aleksandra Kovač paid tributes on Instagram to her late father.
“The best man has left us, the greatest musical legend who ever walked in this area and someone who forever changed the history of Yugoslav and Serbian music and art.
“We love you forever, dad, to the stars and back,”.
ESCBEAT team is sending condolences and hugs to the family.
May he rest in peace.