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Community Connection: Predrag Gosta

On discovering music: "I started being involved with music when I was 6 years old. First I played violin, and then interest pulled me further into music, so I started then with music theory, voice composition, harmony and pretty much everything else that someone who wants to become a musician would study."

On the benefits of being from Belgrade: "Belgrade is a very old city. It was known to exist before Christ, from Roman times. ... It has grown immensely, including culturally, so I would definitely compare it to major cultural centers in the world - Paris, London and so on. So growing up in such a town actually exposed me to really good music, really good musicians and lots of concerts. And that part of the world, the music training is very much a Russian-style training. That means I was working very hard."

On whether he's a better singer, conductor or musician: "I always tell people we need to be honest to ourselves - especially if we are interested in a career and succeeding - to actually really recognize where our biggest strength is ... which is why I constantly refer to other friends, colleages, other artists, to get their feedback for whatever I'm doing in music. And there were so many signs, comments and everything that they see me strongest as a conductor. And I actually feel most comfortable leading."

On not letting the prestigious National Philharmonic job interfere with his gig in Gwinnett: "That organization (The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Orchestra) is very dear to me. Therefore, I will be traveling between Washington D.C. and Atlanta, trying to maintain all these jobs."

On that unique (or maybe not so much) name: "(Predrag) is definitely not a common American name, but it is a very common Serbian name. It's even on the list of one or two most common Serbian names. It means 'very dear.' ... Lots of people in the arts community know me as 'Peja,' which is my nickname."

- As told to reporter Chase Mitchell