Archives for June2016


Big Band Rousse

Yet another evidence of the long-lasting traditions in musical art in the city is the Municipal Brass Band Big Band Rousse. For over 50 years now not only has it been affirming musical talents, but also developing them by creating its own sound style and working on joint projects together with national and international artists.

bigbandruse3The band is established in 1963 as a civil formation of musicians. Its first conductor is Maestro Stefan Vachev. The orchestra is actually the successor of the military musical bands which brought about the orchestral idea to Bulgaria in the 19th century having Czech musicians visiting the country. These later became the founders of the brass music in our country.

As of 1995 the conductor of the brass band in Rousse is Mr Dimcho Rubchev. With the support of collaborators and other professionals, he further develops the orchestra in such a way that its music is now recognizable by its innovative approach and dynamic performances while accompanied by the high professionalism of the musicians. Gradually, Big Band Rousse became one of the city emblems of cultural life.

bigbandruse1Among the guest soloist of the band are some of the best Bulgarian jazz musicians – Angel Zaberski, Mihail Yosifov, Ventsislav Blagoev, and Hilda Kazasyan.

Big Band Rousse has done recordings for the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio. It is the only orchestra in Bulgaria which has released two solo CDs with paid copyrights.

For the band’s musical achievements they are awarded the special prize by the Ministry of Culture and the Cyril and Methodius 1st degree medal. They are also the first brass band to be nominated in the Crystal Lyre National Contest in 2013 and 2014 in the Orchestra Art category. In 2013 the band receives four awards from the Union of the Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers.

dimchorubchevThe band has successfully toured in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Finland, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Romania. They win the Special Prize of the Jury and the Prize of the Audience at the International Competition in Olomouc, Czech Republic, and also a prize from the International Competition in Nantes, France.

Listen to the band perform their Friday Concerts Cycle here and to their live performance together with Hilda Kazasyan here.

Sources

1. Ruse Info
2. Big Band Rousse
3. Darik News

The photos in the article are not owned by this website.

The Golden Fiddle

goldenfiddle3The Golden Fiddle is one of the oldest folklore festivals in Bulgaria and an emblematic event for Rousse. It is held in the open during the first two weeks in June every year and lasts one day. It is organized by the Municipality.

The beginning was set 47 years ago. From the distant 1969 up to 2015 including it is takes place near the banks of the Danube in the vicinity of the Prista Hut very close to the city. With time it becomes a traditional centre of attraction for singing groups and individual performers of authentic and cultivated folklore music. They present songs, folklore sketches, costumes and ancient rituals and customs to the jury.

goldenfiddle7The festival features two parts. The Cultivated Folklore Music one includes folklore dance groups, choirs, vocal groups and orchestras performing folklore music. The Authentic Folklore Music one is presents folklore traditions, groups for playing songs with and without accompaniment, instrumental groups, and storytellers.

The Grand Prize that is awarded is the Golden Fiddle and, in addition, all winners receive cash prizes too.

goldenfiddle5The 47th edition of the festival in 2016 is held in the city at the Park of Youth. It brings together over 800 participants from all over the country. They comprise 29 groups for authentic folklore, 28 groups for cultivated folklore, and 43 individual performers. The youngest participant is a five-year old local girl. The edition is accompanied by the exhibition of hand-made household appliances made by craftsmen from the Bulgaria from Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Silistra, Kazanlak and other towns in the country as well as craftsmen from Peru and Ukraine.

The winner of this year’s (2016) Golden Fiddle Folklore Festival is the community centre Prosveta 1915 (Enlightenment 1915) from the residential area of Dolapite in Rousse.

goldenfiddle1Sources

1. Festivals
2. Rousse Info
3. Bulgarian National Television 2
4. Rousse News
5. Rousse Top News
6. Bulgarian National Radio

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Photo credit: Tsvetomir Tsvetanov

Elias Canetti

elias1The only Nobel prize laureate so far to be born and to have lived in Bulgaria comes from Rousse and was born on July 25 1905. Elias Canetti is the eldest of the three sons to Jacques Canetti and Matilda Arditi. His mother comes from one of the oldest Sephardic families in the country, who are also among the founders of the Jewish colony in Rousse in the late 18th century. The kin can be traced back to the 14th century when the ancestors worked as court physicians and astronomers at the Aragonese Royal Court of Alfonso IV and Pedro IV.

elias-allBy the age of six the family lives in Rousse, where Elias’ father and grandfather develop a successful production plant for umbrellas and also trade with glass, paints, varnishes, and other household goods. In 1911 the family moves to Manchester, where his father takes part in the family business there. In 1912 Jacques Canetti suddenly died. His mother was desolate and alone with the three children. She moved then first to Lausanne in Switzerland and then again to Vienna in Austria.

Besides the languages he already knows – Bulgarian, English and French, Elias learns German as well. In 1921 the family moves to Zurich and in 1924 to Frankfurt, where he graduates from high school. In 1924 he became a student in chemistry at the Vienna University to graduate with a doctorate in 1929.

elias-vezaIn 1934 he marries writer Veneciana (Veza) Taubner-Calderon, who is eight years older than him and is to become his muse and literary assistant. When Austria joined Nazi Germany and the persecutions of Jews began, the Canetti moved to Paris and then London to finally settle in Britain. Elias gets married a second time after Veza’s death and has a couple of affairs one of which with the Irish poet Iris Murdoch.

vezacanettiThough writing in German, in 1952 he receives UK citizenship and remaines in Britain until 1970. The last 20 years of his life he spends mainly in Zurich. There he writes his autobiography. Its first part published in 1977 is “The Tongue Set Free”, where he describes the first years of his childhood he spent in Rousse, then the time when the family moved to Britain, his father’s death and the subsequent relocation of the mother with the children in Switzerland.

1981 brings about the Nobel Prize for Literature for Lifetime Achievement “for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power”. Apart from the Nobel prize, he received recognition by winning a number of other international awards.

canettiElias Canetti has been a sensitive boy and grew up to become an intuitive man. Rousse, where he spent his first childhood years, is colourful and dynamic with people of different backgrounds and from various cultures and he is exposed to variety of languages. The heavy loss of his father and the two world wars later on also affected his personality and marked his work. The main topics gradually to become characteristic of his works are fear, death, evil and power. Gradually, the writer shares the idea that death and evil are identical and represent one whole. Strong influence on his works have also Franz Kafka, Georg Büchner and the psychoanalytic school of Sigmund Freud.

The philosophical Crowds and Power is considered to be his masterpiece and is completed only in 1960. In it he uses the description of the elementary experience of being a part of a crowd to reveal the conditions and dynamics of the masses. As a result, he makes immersive conclusions about the mechanics of power, namely, that the crowds and power are inherently and constantly connected.

In 1994 Elias Canetti dies in Zurich. His works are translated into 25 languages.

Recognition in Bulgaria

In 2005 in Rousse is established the Elias Canetti national literary prize.

During the first international conference in Bulgaria in 1992, which was dedicated to the works of the writer, in Rousse is set up the Elias Canetti International Society.

The building where the family lived before the Canetti leave for Manchester is preserved.

The commercial building used by the family business is used by the Elias Canetti International Society under the name The Canetti House.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the writer, in 2005 in Rousse a memorial plaque on the eponymous square is inaugurated.

The Vocational School of Economics and Management in Rousse adopted the name of Nobel Prize winner.

In 2004 one of the Antarctic peaks is named after Canetti.

Quotes

Everything that I later experienced had already happened once in Ruschuk.

It is only in a crowd that man can become free of this fear of being touched.

It is for the sake of this blessed moment when no one is greater or better than another that people become a crowd.

Sources

1. Nobelprize.org
2. Wikipedia
3. Kafka through the Eyes of Elias Canetti by Ventseslav Konstantinov
4. The First Window – Elias Canetti – Rousse 1/3
5. The First Window – Elias Canetti – Rousse 2/3
6. The First Window – Elias Canetti – Rousse 3/3
7. Elias Canetti… from Rousse

The photos in the article are not owned by this website.

Michael Arlen

by Bassano, half-plate glass negative, 8 December 1930

by Bassano, half-plate glass negative, 8 December 1930

An extremely talented and internationally distinguished writer from the beginnign of 20the century, Michael Arlen is was born in Rousse as Dikran Kouyoumdjian in November 1885 to an Armenian merchant family who had emigrated to Rousse because of persecutions of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire.

His mother comes from the wealthy Armenian Aslanian family who trade with tobacco and wool predominantly with English enterprises. She is a highly educated woman, who plays the piano, speaks an excellent French and is keen on reading owning a library full of classic novels. She is also the one to take care of the small boy’s education and to trigger his passion for literature.

During these years the family business thrives and grows. The parents decide to send Dikran to England to study so that he is able to lead the English branch of the family enterprise later on. At the age of six in 1901 Dikran leaves for the Island, graduates a state school and is admitted to the St Andrews College in Scotland. arlen2

While he is at college, the family business takes a steep downfall and goes bankrupt. As a result, Dikran quits college, settles in London, starts to write to make ends meet and adopts the prn name of Michael Arlen.

In the beginning he writes for newspapers and magazines. His first novel The London Venture, which is description of his life up to that moment, comes out in 1920. In 1921 his first collection of short stories called The Romantic Lady is published. In 1922 he acquires a British citizenship and adopts Michael Arlen as his official name.

His novel The Green Hat is out in 1924. It is considered to be his masterpiece, becomes an instant success. The Green Hat is later on dramatized and presented at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre, then adapted for cinema and filmed in 1928 starring Greta Garbo in the lead role.

Mrs. Michael Arlen (formerly Countess Atlanta Mercati) wearing dark-colored knit dress with long sleeves, pleated hem, and contrasting collar; sitting in a chair

Mrs. Michael Arlen (formerly Countess Atlanta Mercati)

During this period of his life Michael Arlen is socially very active. Among his friends are Hemingway and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Often critics liken Arlen’s writing to Fitzgerald’s due to the multi-layer protagonists both depict. In 1928 Michael Arlen marries Countess Atlanta Mercati from whom he has a son and a daughter. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War the family moves to the United States and the Arlen becomes one of the most sought after scriptwriters in Holywood. He also writes horror stories and Alfred Hitchcock integrates some of them into his movies.

In 1956 at the age of 60 Michael Arlen dies in New York.

Resources:
1. BG Traces
2. European Culture Centre in Rousse
3. Wikiwand
4. Wikipedia

The photos in the article are not owned by this website.