During his studies in London as a singer-songwriter and guitarist, Alen Ilijic formed the band Zealot, in 1993. At the time, his musical expression was in the form of experimental rock, noise and Byzantine music. With its innovative sound, Zealot had a big impact on the British underground scene during the nineties. The band stopped performing in 1999, due to Alen's return to Yugoslavia, Serbia. From this point onward Alen Ilijic's interest was in avant-garde movement, under the influence of Béla Bartók, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp and Serbian multimedia artist and composer Vladan Radovanović.
His album I have no coordiNATION was released in May 2014, for the New York-based label 'Ninety and Nine Records'. The album contains eight compositions that were created between 1999 and 2013 in London and Belgrade. Besides three compositions that were performed live (Improvisation for piano, violin and amplifier, at Student Cultural Center Belgrade, 2010, My suspicious look at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, Belgrade, 2008, and I have no coordiNATION, at Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra Hall, 2007), others were recorded and realized in Ilijic’s home studio. My suspicious look is an aleatoric composition performed by Ilijic and Jean Geoffroy, produced by the Italian composer Michelangelo Lupone. I have no coordiNATION was performed by pianist Neda Hofman and recorded by Srđan Hofman. As a retrospective, the album displays the diversity of Ilijic’s creative work.
The Composition for piano, voice and body movement called Red Faces was premiered at the international music festival 'Stone upon Stone’ which was held in the Simphony Orchestra Hall, April 17, 2015, Niš, Serbia. The Red Faces is an homage to Gertrude Stein as a reminder of the terrible past, wars and Holocaust in order to emphasize the similarity to current wars crimes and sufferings. During the same year, Ilijic has performed this composition at the 'Noise Mobility Festival’, Munich, Germany, on May 23. Another part of the performance included the use of guitar, voice and electronics. Furthermore, in 2016, Ilijic has performed Red Faces in Tel Aviv, Israel at Hateiva, as part of the festival 'The Unbearable Lightness of Coherency', January 31. On that occasion Ilijic collaborated with Dganit Elyakim, playing together her composition for piano and voice,'Failing Better'. During his visit to Israel, he also performed with one of the greatest Israeli vocal artists, Anat Pick, and with Nadav Masel bassist and improviser, at Zimmer, in Tel Aviv. His performance of the Red Faces was held at 'Interpenetration’, Club Wakuum, Graz, Austria, on March 17.
In October 2016, Alen Ilijic went to USA. He has performed in the Bratton Recital Hall, at The University of New Hampshire, Paul Creative Arts College (PCAC), on October 20, and at Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC), New Hampshire, on October 21. On both occasions he performed composition Red Faces but also a part with the use of guitar, voice and electronics, called Zealot's time. Before these performances, Ilijic held lecture to students about his way of composing at The University of New Hampshire, Department of Music, on October 18. This is the second time Ilijic held lecture, the first time was in Vienna, at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, on April 13, 2016. The interview about Ilijic's visit to USA was published for The New Hampshire's 18th issue of the 2016-17 academic year.
Rob Haskins, (D.M.A., Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Music, College of Liberal Arts University of New Hampshire) has analyzed his music: ‘lijic’s music is guided by an unerring intuition, revealing unexpected connections among the wide variety of utterances that mark the extraordinary richness of the total musical world available today. But, like Arnold Schoenberg, Ilijic has forged from the materials around him a new and consistent world entirely his own.’
As a multimedia artist Alen Ilijic has had two solo exhibitions in Belgrade: Stellar Refugee (2011), and NOISYGENES (2014). The exhibition Stellar Refugee contains prints of manual drawings, sound installation and a documentary film, dedicated to Gustav Mahler. NOISYGENES is a project conceived with neo-expressionist paintings, symbolic prints and performance, as a way to examine the concept of noise. Neo-expressionist paintings carry an echo of Jean-Michel Basquiat's voice, which is present in Alen's gesture and use of words. An inseparable part of the exhibition was homonymous performance - improvisation for electric guitar and electronics. These projects were supported by the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information.
His triptych Cyclic was exhibited at the group exhibition called I Breathe With You at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States, Augusta Savage Gallery, from February 1 until March 11, 2016. The exclamation 'I can’t breathe' was made by Eric Garner, an African American man, 11 times while lying face down on the sidewalk after being placed in a police chokehold. He died one hour later from a heart attack due to injuries to his neck and chest. A grand jury decided not to indict the offending police officer. 'I can’t breathe' has become one of the most recognizable utterances of recent protests against oppression. I Breathe With You establishes the artist as an ally to people and communities that suffer social injustices and other atrocities.
A third solo exhibition I am movable Jasenovac, was curated by art historian Milica Ilijic, and held at 'KC Ribnica' Kraljevo, Serbia, on September, 2015. The exhibition is based on the theme of the largest concentration camp in the Independent State of Croatia where Serbs, Jews and Roma were killed during World War II (1941-1945). It is focused on personal research, genetic affiliation (and thus racism), anti-Semitism and discrimination, current and past. The commemoration of the Jasenovac’s victims and emphasizing discrimination, specifically Serbs, is in connection with the recent political turmoil in the European Parliament and adoption of the Resolution of Srebrenica. The project I am movable Jasenovac reveals the absurdity of negative stereotypes about the Roma, Jews and Serbs, which persist in modern society. Going back to the past, to illuminate his own origin, Alen Ilijic has also made a step towards the future: towards equality, justice and dignity.
The project New Media Opera ONGEVARFEN (DISORDERED) started in Graz, Austria, February 2016, and it is dedicated to the one of the most influential Austrian composers and painters of the 20th century, Arnold Schoenberg. The new media opera consists of three main parts: artworks; a composition for piano, voice and electronics; and a video installation. These three approaches to expression coexist as interactive parts among each other, especially with the live performance of the artist. As inseparable and equal parts with respect to importance, they form a unit showing Ilijic's great multimedia talent. Due to its complexity with lack of finance, ONGEVARFEN (DISORDERED) remained unfinished.