Stevan Stojanovic Mokranjac was born on January 9, 1856 in Negotin, Serbia. He had been working as a composer, a conductor and a pedagogue; a very important person in the cultural life of Serbia and one of the Serbian national symbol.
He had his first contacts with music in his family, where he had opportunity to learn and sing folk songs, and in his birthplace in which he sang in the church choir. Later, as a high school student, he occasionally attended violin and voice lessons. He became a member of the Belgrade Singing Society in 1873. In spite of the fact that he was most attracted to music, he attended the natural science and mathematics section of the University of Belgrade. In 1879, the Belgrade Singing Society sent him to Munich, where he studied harmony in the class of E. Saks and composition in the class of J. Rheinberger.
The studies, supported by the Ministry of Education, had to be terminated for the lack of money in 1883, so that he had to come back to Serbia. From1883 - 1884 he became the conductor of the Kornelije choir of Belgrade. Mokranjac performed his Garland I with the choir. From 1884 - 1885 he continued to study in Rome in the class of Parisotti. From 1885 - 1887 he studied music at the Conservatory in Leipzig, Germany (S. Jadassohn, C. Reinecke – theoretical subjects, A. Brodsky conducting). Upon his return to Serbia in 1887, he became the conductor of the Belgrade Singing Society. The choir under his guidance has experienced a very significant artistic rise, went out from Serbia and made a big success at many concerts across Europe.
Mokranjac’s social and artistic activity has spread on lot of fields, because of his creative spirit and the ability for organization. In 1889, he founded the string quartet in which he played the first violin, and he performed with them compositions of the standard classical repertoire. Mokranjac was an initiator and a founder of the Association of Singing Societies (1903) and he took part in founding the Society of Serbians musicians (1907). He taught music at the First Grammar School in Belgrade and he transferred to Belgrade Theological College, where he taught church singing. His most important role (together with Cvetko Manojlovic and Stanislav Binicki) was that he had founded the first independent music school in Serbia - the Serbian Music School in Belgrade (today the Music School "Mokranjac"). The school was founded in 1899, supported by the Belgrade Singing Society, after almost a half of the century desire. Mokranjac taught theoretical subjects at the oldest Serbian music school, which presented the crown of his endless work and effort in trying to spread and make music popular. He remained the headmaster of this school until his death. In 1906, he was elected as an associate member of the Serbian Royal Academy of Science and Arts (today the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts) and in 1911, a member of the French Academy of Arts.
n 1912 obliged him gradually to abandon his duties as director of the Belgrade Singing Society. He died during the night of September 29 and 30, 1914 in Skopje where he had taken refuge with his family at the outbreak of the First World War.