The conductor Milivoj Štefan Šurbek was born in 1942, in Prelog (Croatia). He studied at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, where he first graduated with the piano diploma (1963) and then obtained the 3rd bachelor's degree (1966) under the tutorship of Professor Janko Ravnik. In 1964, he received his diploma in conducting, under Professor Danilo Švara, DPhil. From 1968 to 1979, he perfected his knowledge in London, where he completed his master's degree in piano (with Professors Cimbro Martin and Kendall Taylor) as well as his master's degree in conducting (with mentors Leon Lovett, Rudolf Schwarz, Sir Adrian Boult and John Aldis – choral conducting), in the academic year 1969/1970.
From 1963 to 1966, Milivoj Šurbek was teaching music theory and leading the orchestra at the Franc Šturm Music School in Ljubljana. From 1970 to 1985, he was engaged first as an Assistant Conductor and later on as a Conductor by the Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet Ljubljana. During those fifteen years he enriched his repertoire with more than 70 operatic works. From 1972 to 1982, he was a Visiting Lecturer at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, where he taught score reading, instrumentation, and introduction to conducting as well as directed the Opera School. At the Osaka Koki University in Japan, where he was appointed Professor between 1985 and 1991, he was giving master classes for conducting and piano, as well as directing Symphony Orchestra, Mixed Choir and Opera School. During those six years the Symphony Orchestra and Mixed Choir performed quite a number of works from the world music treasury and presented various works by famous Slovenian authors, such as Gallus, Osterc, Srebotnjak, Kozina, Golob and others.
During his stay in Japan he performed as a Guest Conductor with the Philharmonic Orchestras in Tokyo (Nihon), Osaka, Kyoto, Kansai, Kobe and Nishinomiya, and collaborated with several Japanese Operatic Societies as well. Honouring the celebration of the Kansai Opera Company’s 40th anniversary, Milivoj Šurbek conducted Verdi's Aida and Ponchielli's Giaconda, as well as Puccini's La Bohème in the Kobe Opera Company. From 1991 to 2000, he was an Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Slovenian Police Wind Orchestra, which achieved at that period of time an enviable professional level. Since 2000, he has been engaged by the Academy of Music in Ljubljana as a Regular Professor, lecturing two main subjects – conducting and score reading - as well as teaching ensemble singing, musical interpretation and leading the Academy Wind Orchestra. For a number of years he was also a Guest Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Slovenian Army Orchestra. In 2001, he became a newly- elected Regular Professor of the University of Ljubljana, in 2003 he was promoted to Head of the Higher Education Studies of the Opera School at the Academy of Music and in 2005 to Head of the Conducting Department. In 2009, he was appointed once again Head of the Conducting Department at the above mentioned academy.
Milivoj Šurbek has received two Student Prešeren Awards, i.e. for piano playing and conducting. He also won an award for his piano playing at the Young Artists Competition in Belgrade (1963) and for his conducting at the International Competition in France (Besancon, 1964). In 1998, he received the Betetto Award for his universal artistic activity and promotion of Slovenian music abroad. During the period 1976 – 1983, he was also a member of important international juries, i.e. at the Competition of Solo Singers Mario del Monaco (1982) as well as during the period 1985 - 1991, when the jury was presided over by Carlo Bergonzi, at the Verdi International Vocal Competition and from 1981 to 1984, at the Rudolfo Lipizer International Violin Competition. Since 2000, Milivoj Šurbek has been a member of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.