Born in Beli Manastir, Zlata Maleš graduated from the Sarajevo Music Academy in 1977 as an excellent student in Matusja Blum’s class, while also studying Russian language and literature. Being given a French government grant enabled her to go to Paris and study with with the famous pianist Pierre Sancan. Their collaboration continued during extended summer masterclasses in Nice (1980-1982). A versatile musician, upon returning to Sarajevo she held recitals and concerts with orchestra, but also appeared as an accompanist and a member of various chamber music ensembles. During that period she made several recordings for RTV Sarajevo and RTV Belgrade.
Moving to Belgrade, her performing career soon gave way to teaching. An indefatigable pedagogue always seeking to perfect her skills and teaching methods, she spent some time at the Central Music School in Moscow, gaining first-hand insight into the great Russian piano tradition. She sought innovative ways to inspire her students and encourage their individuality and authentic artistic expression through specially designed projects centered around a specific theme or composer (Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” with readings of Russian poetry, Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliette” in collaboration with ballet students, Concerts for 4, 8, 12 and 16 hands on two pianos, Mozart & Salieri –Reconciliation Concert, Music Stories, Call M for Music, concerts dedicated to contemporary Serbian music…).
A total of 35 students have graduated from Zlata Maleš’s class, 31 of whom have entered music academies and conservatories, passing entrance examinations with flying colours. They won more than 500 prizes at important national and international piano competitions. Among her most illustrious students are Lidija and Sanja Bizjak, both world-famous pianists with international careersn and rich discographies, Sonja Lončar, a member of the renowned LP piano duo that focuses on contemporary repertoire for the ensemble, and Dušan Toroman, who is building a successful international career as a harpsichordist.
Now retired, Zlata Maleš is still a very active and sought after teacher who supports and promotes young talents and gives master classes in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. Since 2013 she is a guest professor at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade for the subject “Methodology of Piano Teaching”. A former Vice-President of EPTA Serbia and a recipient of the highest national awards for pedagogy, she is regularly invited to adjudicate important national as well as international piano competitions in the region.