Emil Tabakov

One of the most prominent contemporary Bulgarian conductors, composers, and authors of symphonic music, Emil Tabakov was born in Rousse on August 21, 1947. As a student at the School of Music and Arts in Rousse, he takes part in the concerts of the Rousse Philharmonic Orchestra. Together with some of his classmates he formed a chamber orchestra, conducted it and started writing his own music.


In 1974 he graduated from the National Academy of Music Prof. Pancho Vladigerov in Sofia with specializations in Conducting, Contrabass, and Composition. In 1977 he was the laureate of the Nikolay Malko Conducting Competition in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Emil Tabakov began his professional career in 1976 as a Conductor of the Rousse Philharmonic Orchestra and held that post until 1979. From 1979 to 1988 he was the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Sofia Soloists Chamber Ensemble. From 1985 to 2000 he worked with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and in 1988 became its Music Director and Chief Conductor. From 1994 to 1999 he was the Chief Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2002 to 2008 he was Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra in Ankara. From 2008 to 2015 he held the office of Chief Conductor of the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In 1997 Emil Tabakov was appointed Minister of Culture during the in the temporary government led by Mr. Stefan Sofianski.

He is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Composers.

Works and Recognition

Emil Tabakov’s symphonic and opera music includes nine symphonies, concerts for various instruments, symphony orchestra plays, a requiem, chamber and solo works, and two ballets, and is performed both at home in Bulgaria and abroad in Germany, Portugal, USA, Japan, Finland , France, Mexico and other countries.

Over the years, he has been invited as a guest conductor of the orchestras in various countries around the world, including England, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Russia, Australia, Singapore, Ecuador, and others. Along with composing own music, he recorded more than 250 symphonic and opera works on CDs for partners in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries.

Emil Tabakov has also been awarded a number of prizes for his works including Man of the Year by the Cambridge International Bibliographic Center and Musician of the Year based on audience rankings of the 1992 Alegro Vivace program. He was awarded the 2009 Crystal Lyre prize by the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dance Practitioners and was selected as one of the 100 Best Professionals according to the 2012 International Biographical Center in England.


According to the critics, the Emil Tabakov’s works are dynamic and explosive. For him, as he himself says in various interviews, music is not fun, but a mission, and perhaps his extraordinary working capacity, productivity, tirelessness, and dedication to music owes much to this attitude. Through the decades in the classic music world, he has become greatly respected for his perfectionalizm, extremely high repertoire goals, great rigor, and uncompromising performance.

In his career, Maestro Emil Tabakov has also faced professional clashes with the musicians in some of the Philharmonic Orchestras he has led. It is likely that his perfectionism and rigor would not have found complete resonance in the performers, or, maybe, his creative ideas over time are actually due for an update. What is the truth is something that only he and his musicians know. The conclusions we leave to you, our readers, and link the articles to some of the media that have reflected these inevitable in any professional career challenges.


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Official Maestro Emil Tabakov’s Website
  3. Bulgarian National Radio
  4. Union of the Bulgarian Composers
  5. Impressio
  6. Offnews
  7. Mediapool

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

Petar Petrov – Parcheto

%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%8a%d1%80%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%80%d0%be%d0%b22 In collaboration with Tsvetelina Petrova

“Rousse and Bulgaria mean the world to me.”

One of the founders of the Bulgarian jazz music, a colorful saxophone player, a loving, committed, enthusiastic, and keen supporter of jazz, “an oddball, a quirky eccentric and a bon vivant, a screwball with a gnarly character”, Petar Petrov – Parcheto is one of the urban legends and major advocates for Rousse, a musician with a mission who has repeatedly demonstrated a wide encyclopedic culture, artistic charm and profound sensitivity all of which turn him into one of the emblematic figures of the Bulgarian culture.

Petar Petrov – Parhceto was born on November 28, 1932 in Rousse. He graduated from the State Academy of Music in Sofia majoring in clarinet and started working at the Philharmonic Orchestra in Rousse as a soloist player on the clarinet. There he worked for nearly 40 years.

In 1959, he gathered with some friends to form a small jazz band in the city. In 1963 he went to play in Prague. After returning to Rousse, he created a jazz band called The Petrovs Quartet featuring as members him on the saxophone, Petar Petrov–Petuha on the trumpet, Zlatko Petrov on the piano and Ilko Petrov on the drums. The band predominantly played contemporary jazz music, such as hard bop and free jazz, and took on improvisation. In 1960s, together with composer Alexander Vladigerov, Petar Petrov-Parcheto grounded the foundation of the jazz tradition in Rousse.

In the early 1970s, he played in Germany with the special permission from the then Concert Directorate, which allowed Bulgarian musicians to work in the Socialist Republic of Germany. However, he managed to work playing the sax in the Federal Republic of Germany too and got an impression of the music culture in the country.

On his returning to Rousse, he began inviting jazz musicians from other cities in the country. In this way, the first National Jazz Fest was born in 1977. Until his death in 2013, Peter Petrov-Parcheto was its leader and organizer. By means of his active work he contributed to the gradual promotion of the city and of the National Jazz Fest not only in Bulgaria, but also abroad. More and more jazz music players joined the annual festival. He also became the founder and leader of the Jazz Club in Rousse.

People say about him that he was “what a great artist is – it was unthinkable for him to limit himself to and close himself into the space of music solely. He also knew literature, art, and theater – and the people who made them“. So naturally, in 1981 the Jazz and Poetry series were found. In the first one it was Radoi Ralin who took part, Ivan Tsanev took part in the second one, and Boris Hristov took part in the third one. All three were Petar Petrov’s personal friends.

The then Petar Petrov’s jazz band called Rousse became an immutable and prerequisite participator in the jazz festivals in Sofia and Sopot. The orchestra toured around Europe, Asia, and America performing in Poland (at the Jazz Dzhembori Festival), Hungary, Russia, Italy, Slovakia, Romania, and Turkey. They attended the jazz festival Jazz Yatra in India and together with Yildiz Ibrahimova, Stayko Staikov, Ilko Petrov and Alexander Petrov – Alex Berbera they toured in Mexico.

Petar Petrov-Parcheto was awarded the Rousse prize and became one of the first honorary citizens of the city. He was given the Cyril and Methodius medal, the Honored Artist title, and the Crystal Lyre prize of the Union of Musicians.

His relatives, however, believe that all prizes he won throughout his life were accepted by him without superfluous vanity and that, after all, he remained „real, edgy, irresistible, spontaneous, and endlessly gifted”. As Iglika Peeva says in her book Petar Petrov-Parcheto: The Free Flight of the Spirit, as an „outstanding erudite, he could afford to stay true to himself, without caring for the status quo“. With his unrelenting passion for music, literature and art, he continued to spread and advocate for the beauty of jazz music in and outside Bulgaria.

Being a dean of the Bulgarian jazz music, Petar Petrov-Parcheto made pioneering efforts to preserve and develop the culture in Bulgaria during the totalitarian rule of the Communist Party in the country when culture was totally neglected and brutally censored. Therefore, his active stand and work contributed to the transformation of Rousse into one of the most significant and prominent Bulgarian jazz music hubs while he also helped young musical talents by supporting their professional career, and also fostered the love for jazz music in generations of art lovers in the city and in the country. He too contributed to the development of Bulgarian musicians such as Yildiz Ibrahimova, Theodosius Spasov, Kamelia Todorova, Antoni Donchev, and Boris Petrov.

Petar Petrov-Parcheto died on January 24, 2013 in his home in Rousse.


1. Interview with Petar Petrov-Parcheto
2. Ruse – the City of the Free Spirit
3. Fakel
5. Bulgarian National Radio
6. Madiapool
8. Darik News
9. Bulgarian News Agency

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

Rousse State Opera

operata3Undoubtedly, the State Opera in Rousse grounded the establishment of the city as a cultural hub way back in the 19th century and is still developing Rousse as such. In recent years, its achievements have boosted and its musicians have earned an increasing number of awards from their participation in national and international competitions. With each passing season, the enthusiasm and the commitment on behalf of the Opera team to attract talented artists not only from the city, but also from country- and Europe-wise, provoke the respect of both local audiences and admirers in the capital and other major Bulgarian and foreign cities. However, hardly anything would have been possible if the traditions of the Opera do not date back to a century ago and if it has not been led by a team of creative and enterprising people, among whom is its current Director, Maestro Nayden Todorov.

operata1The first temporary opera, choral, and symphonic groups in Rousse begin to form in mid-19th century when the city became the entry point for European culture to the country. In 1891 the Lira Musical Community is established. It is the first permanent musical organization in the city for performing opera music. There follow years of multiple administrative transformations until, ultimately, in 1919 the State Opera in Rousse, as we know it today, is established. Its first premiere, Kamen and Tsena by Bulgarian composer Ivan Ivanov, is during the same year on April 23.

In 1949 the Opera becomes under the full control of the State and under the overall administrative management of the Theatre. The two institutions are housed together in the Profit-Yielding Building. In 1951 the Opera hits an extremely successful season and, as a result, during the next 1952 it becomes fully independent from the Theatre. In 1999 the Opera and the Philharmonic administratively unite. Now, the State Opera in Rousse manages the Philharmonic orchestra, the Choir, the Ballet, and the Children’s Opera in the city. The Opera is among the Bulgarian opera institutions that are financially self-sustainable.

opera5The 1950s and 1960s are extremely rewarding for the Opera. To this fortune contribute three opera soloists – Penka Marinova, Nikolay Zdravkov, and Kiril Krastev, known as the Star Trio. In2011, in their honoura relief next to the Opera is erected.
In the 1960s the Opera begins presenting more and more new operas on scene, performs in the capital city, starts its cooperation with the Romanian Opera and moves to a separate building – the one where it is located today. At the same time, it develops relations with the Union of Composers in Moscow, resulting in the presentation of operas by Prokopief, Stravinsky, and Hrennikov for the first on Bulgarian scene.balet

One of the most dedicated foreign artists who demonstrated his talent in Bulgaria is Dmitri Shostakovich. He assists in the preparation for the performance of Katerina Izmailova, the opera he writes especially for the Opera in Rousse. His close and warm relations with the city continue for years and his successful cooperation with local artists and musicians from the Opera and the Philharmonic led to the announcement of Shostakovich Honorary Citizen of Rousse in 1965.

The hard work of guest artists and composers, along with the professionalism of the musicians and the management of the Opera, its Philharmonic Orchestra, Choir and Ballet, as well as the placing of operas for the first time in the country turn the Opera into an avant-garde and innovative institution in terms of its repertoire. For the first time in Bulgaria, the Opera in Rousse presents Stiffelio and Macbeth by Verdi, The Human Voice by Francis Poulenc, Summer 893 and Maria Desislava by Parashkev Hadziev, Girl of the West by Puccini, and The Mornings Are Quiet Here by Molchanov.operata2

Over the years, the Opera becomes a host for legends like Nicolai Ghiaurov, Nicola Gyuzelev, Raina Kabaivanska, Gena Dimitrova, Anna Tomova-Sintova, and many others. Records of performances by the Opera are stored in the Golden Fund of the Bulgarian National Radio and Television. The Opera also participates in festivals in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Italy and tours in Belgium, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Portugal. In 2012 the Opera is awarded the Golden Lyre while in 2015 it receives the prize Ensemble of the Year that is awarded by virtue of choice by the listeners to the Bulgarian National Radio classical music show Allegro Vivace.

In conclusion, I’d like to say a few words about the man who is one of the driving forces behind the proactive initiatives of the Opera; who generates ideas and finds solutions to promote its artists and repertoire and to attract musicians from other Bulgarian cities to work at the Opera; whose energy as conductor raises a storm of emotions on stage; whose comments and views on professional topics are straightforward and inciting responses.operata4

Maestro Nayden Todorov is born in Plovdiv, demonstrates the candour and heartiness of a resident from Rousse, and shares the worldviews of a cosmopolitan. Trumpeter, pianist, composer, and conductor, he becomes the Director of the Opera in 2005. As of the 2004/2005 season he has been a permanent guest conductor of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2012 and in 2016 he wins the Crystal Lyre prize awarded by the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers and Classic FM Radio, and in 2013 he is voted Musician of the Year by the listeners of the Bulgarian National Radio.

To find which the latest performances at the Opera are, follow them on Facebook.

To listen to the great performances of the musicians, follow their channel.


1. Rousse State Opera
2. Rousse Philharmonic Orchestra
3. Rousse Opera Choir
4. Rousse Opera Ballet
5. Rousse State Opera on Wikipedia
6. Maestro Nayden Todorov on Wikipedia

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

Pavlina Dokovska

pavlina-dokovska1A world-famous pianist and inspiring teacher, an engine power behind music initiatives related to the promotion of her students and Bulgaria, the Head of the Piano Department at the Mannes College of Music in New York, Pavlina Dokovska worked for years with Nikolay Giaurov. Her colleagues deeply respect her, her students genuinely love her, and other people who know her, consider her a “bright, inspired, thorough, sensitive, and dedicated person.”

pavlina-dokovska2Pavlina Dokovska is born in Rousse in a family of lawyers. Her great-grandmother on her mother’s side is Velichka Shipkalieva. Velichka is one of the first teachers in Rousse, one of the first actresses in the city as well as the first woman whose voice is recorded on a record. Together with Petrana Obretenova, they transported the flag of the Revolutionary Committee across the Danube and her name stands in the Pantheon of National Revival in Rousse.

Pavlina Dokovska graduated from the National School of Arts in Rousse. Then the family moved to Sofia. In the capital, she graduated from the Prof Liubomir Pipkov National School of Music from the class of Lydia Kuteva, which leaves a deep mark on her development as an artist and as a person. She became a student at the Pancho Vladigerov State Music Academy as a student of Julia and Konstantin Ganevi. She continued her studies in Paris and arrived in New York in 1978 with a Fulbright scholarship for specialization at The Juilliard School where she received a Master’s degree.

pavlina-dokovska4She has played in concert halls of New York, Washington, and Munich. She also toured with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra, the Austin Symphony, as well as the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Leopold Hager. She has done joint recitals with Nikolai Giaurov in Paris, Salzburg, Milan’s La Scala, and London and has won numerous awards at international competitions.

In 1995 Pavlina Dokovska organized the Cyril and Methodius Foundation annual concert called The Musical Treasures of Bulgaria for the first time at one of the most famous concert halls in the world – Carnegie Hall. The concert aims at presenting young Bulgarian musicians to a world audience and has been conducted ever since once a year. Since 2003 in memory of her teacher Lydia Kuteva she has personally helped for the professional development of young pianists from the State Music School by donating funds for their scholarships.

In 2008 and 2009, one of the creators of the 168 Hours Press Gropu, journalist Radostina Konstantinova, began working on the film called I Believe in the Mission whose idea is to promote the talent of Bulgarians overseas. This first series is about Pavlina Dokovska so at that time the recording of the first interviews began. Unfortunately, in 2010 Konstantinova died and in 2012 her friends and colleagues decided on finishing the job she started.

pavlina-dokovska5Since that film, Pavlina Dokovska has had the idea to organize concerts of Bulgarian musicians at the hall adjoining the Consulate General of Bulgaria in New York. It took her just a couple of months to raise the sum of USD 55,000 not without the help of the Consul General of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian community in the metropolis. The sum was used for the purchase of a grand Steinway piano of excellent quality. This marked the beginning of the musical series called Bulgarian Concert Evenings in New York which aims to familiarize the American public with Bulgarian talented musicians.

When Pavlina Dokovska organizes classes and concerts in Bulgaria, they are always admission-free. She is convinced that every Bulgarian musician who has succeeded professionally abroad has to
be generous to theit country of origin where they are born and where they have received free education.

In conclusion, we’d like to share with you two quotes by Pavlina Dokovska – a person full of love, faith, and inspiration.

We must follow our own priorities and learn to wave the Bulgarian flag.

People can truly be free and cosmopolitan only when they are attached to the place where they started from.


1. Utro Newspaper
2. Eva
3. Kultura
4. Bulgarian National Television
5. 24 Hours Newspaper
6. Dnevnik
7. Darik News

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

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.


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.


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



Photo credit: Tsvetomir Tsvetanov

Svetlin Rusev

In collaboration with Jennifer Atanassova

One of the most famous musicians in the country and abroad, Svetlin Rusev is a violinist and a violin teacher and is internationally recognized for his talent and mastering skills.

He is born in Rousse in 1976. Although his dream is to become a fighter pilot, he takes his first violin lessons from his mother at the age of five and is admitted to the National School of Arts in the city.

In 1991, the famous clarinet player Mr Koycho Atanasoff invites him to a concert-recital in Paris. After the event, the young virtuoso is noticed by representatives of the Paris Conservatory and at the age of only 15 he is accepted to the Conservatory. Among his professors are Devi Ehrlich and Jean-Jacques Kantorow. In 1997 he settles in Paris and later on marries his now wife Fleur, together with whom they have two children – Chloe and George. Their second names are Mila and Simeon respectively. He speaks with them in Bulgarian only.

Since the year two thousand Svetlin Rusev has been a concertmaster in the Overn Chamber Orchestra. In 2005 he becoms a concertmaster of the French National Radio (RFI) Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 2007 – a concertmaster of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. An interesting fact is that all the RFI Orchestra musicians are goodwill ambassadors to UNICEF and visit Africa and Latin America on various missions involving children.

Svetlin Rusev is awarded the 2006 Musician of the Year prize in Bulgaria. Throughout his career he wins numerous international prizes. Some of the most prestigious ones are from the competitions in Indianapolis and Melbourne as well as the Marguerite Long – Jacques Thibaud award. In 2001 he wins the Grand Prize, the Special Audience Award and the Special Award for the best interpretation of a Johann Sebastian Bach’s concerto at the First International Competition in Sendai, Japan. Svetlin Rusev plays a 1710 Camposelice Stradivarius, which is kindly provided by the Nippon Music Foundation.

Since September 2008 he has been a Professor in violin at the National Higher Conservatory in Paris. In Bulgaria, he leads master classes. He also works with the Bolshoi Theatre, Suntory Hall, the Seoul Center for the Arts, the Champs-Elysees Theatre and plays alongside some of the world’s most recognized musicians.

A more extravagant activity is his participation in the Tangisimo ensemble with who he plays Argentine tango. The ensemble has visited Bulgaria on several occasions too. Yet another creative project in which Svetlin Rusev has taken part is the Rusev-Salk-Rozanova piano trio that is highly appreciated by the international audience.

An incredible virtuoso, Svetlin Rusev plays his violin in such a way that it brings ages, feelings, events, and relationships to life and paints pictures which are effortlessly followed by the imagination. Judge for yourself:



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

Emilian Gatzov – Elby

elbi2I remember Elby from the time when our high school was the focal point for many of us in those crazy teenage years. A beautiful boy from a senior class with a charmingly alluding and enigmatic smile—all that it took to rocket him into our charts of the few guys I and my best friends fell for. No, it wasn’t me who dreamt about him, but whenever I saw him, though we were never close, it was a fiest for the eye and soul. There are people you simply like without the necessity to know them further. A fleeting glimpse of them is enough to make your day.

Emilian Gatzov known back then among us and now in his career as a music writer as Elbi, is the invisible but impertinent presence behind the music accompanying many theater performances and works with some of our famous theater directors such as Marius Kurkinski, Desislava Shpatova, Cassie Noah Asher. He produced more than 70 theater and dance soundtracks, won the 2007 Ikar award for the music of Desislava Shpatova‘s “Psychosis  4:48” in “Sfumato”. He is also nominated for 2016 Ikar awards the winners of which will be announced on March 27. Among the productions to which he contributed are the “Inspector”, “Open Marriage”, and “Someone visited my soul”. elbi

Outside the theater he works with dancers from NOMAD Dance Academy, Brain Store Project, “Arabesque” ballet, OisNotAcCompany, Kinesthetic Project. He makes music for short movies, does sound editing, delivers sounds for cultural advertising campaigns, creates remixes. The basic techniques he applies, according to the articles about him on the Internet, are voice processing and focus on effects. Besides modelling music, he also plays the synthesizer. He produces his own music – abstract, experimental, unconventional. He uses the so-called granular synthesis, which enables the incorporation of temporal aspects in music, and participates in international art festivals as well.

His life has had interesting twists most probably because of his (obviously) searching character. As a boy he went to piano lessons, later on graduated from the English Language School in the city, then began playing the synthesizer, and studied philosophy until, finally, he managed to find out his calling through an invitation from a friend to participate in a musical project. Here is yet another person who apparently is not afraid of experimenting with himself.

Read more about Elby here and here.

On you can hear the presentation of “Theatre, My Love!” by Valery Petrov and directed by Kasiel Noah Asher – one of the two productions, for the music of which Elby is shortlisted for the 2016 Ikar awards.

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

March Music Days Festival

didie-lokwoodWhen the March Music Days Festival was first held in Rousse in 1961, hardly did anyone imagine that 55 years later the city would still be the venue to attract international jazz and classic music performers every March for two weeks.

The March Music Days Festival is one of the oldest and most recognized festival stages in Bulgaria. Ever since its beginning, it has taken place annually in March and hosted some of the world’s most famous artists, such as Dmitri Shostakovich and Max Richter, among some of the renowned orchestras like the Bucarest Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Peterburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia and many others. koeran-quartetThe Festival presents young talented musicians from around the world and promotes the role of music in cultivating and sustaining culture and respect for art.

The Festival has been awarded the international European Festival Label (EFFE Label) by the European Commission and the Europe for Festivals Association for the years 2015 and 2016. The program for this year’s March Music Days Festival is quite rich as it features, for a second year in a row, a Junior edition, intended for children, as well as a number of cultural events at the Art Gallery and other places, which accompany the main music program. junior
Among the participants in 2016 are the Academy of Ancient Music, the Romanian National Symphony Orchestra, Gli Accordati, the Czech Philharmonic Collegium, the Rousse Philharmonic Orchestra and others.

Check our Events page to see the program of the March Music Days.

Read more about the March Music Days Festival here and go to their official Facebook page.

To get the feel, listen to some of the previous years’ performances as well.

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

Tereza Todorova

tereza2 This 11-year old This 11-year old diva has been working at one of the most famous evening television show programs broadcast on one of our national televisions for the last two years. Yet, I hadn’t heard of her until two weeks ago. And I did so by chance while searching through related articles on a related topic. Hey, Mayor, so much for your campaign on promoting young talents outside the comfortable realm of Rousse. If I were you, I would fire half of the PR crew for failing to promote this incredible voice.

Tereza took up singing when she was two years old. At four she started performing on stage in the city and her talent didn’t go unnoticed—a teacher at the Municipal Center for Art and Culture began to train her for a professional singer. At five she ventured the piano and took her first lesson so that when she became 6, she was admitted to the National School of Arts in Rousse. Currently, she also dances and, as they say, enjoys creating the choreography on her own.

She was brought to national fame in 2013 when the talent-searchers of the Slavi’s Show, who were looking for a girl to accompany their youngest show performer on stage—a boy telling jokes—came across her. Throughout her career she has won numerous awards at home and abroad, and in 2015 she went to New York to play the piano in Carnegie Hall after ranking second in the American Protégé international competition. During the same year another international recognition followed—the one from the Premio Accademia di Roma, where she got an unprecedented 11-point result at the Cantagiro competition.

tereza4 I watched part of an interview with her, held in the presence of her mother. Instead of some childish gibberish that I was half-expecting due to her infancy, this beautiful young lady presented herself in such a charming and respect-commanding manner, that unwillingly, while watching her, I was engulfed in what she was saying and was smiling too, forgetting all the evil in the world. Her confidence and spontaneity in front of the camera, and her avid and sparkling eyes with inspiration conquer you and speak of a great potential and talent.

Listen to her latest song here. Again on you can listen to her incredible cover of Camino, a song originally sung by Lily Ivanova and which won Tereza one of the greatest recognition by the Italian public.

Read more about Tereza here.

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

Naiden Kirov Folklore Dance Theatre

The Naiden Kirov Folklore Ensemble has been another symbol of the city for decades. 2 Its founder, Ivan Donev, started the dance theatre more than 50 years ago—in 1960—and remained its Artistic Director and choreographer until his death in 2012. Kamen Donev, his son and a talented and famous Bulgarian artist born in Rousse, has taken his place as Artistic Director.

The ensemble is one of the most popular in Bulgaria and in Europe. Its members cherish and attempt to preserve the Bulgarian folklore music and dance traditions. Its performances are famous for their fast beats, high quality of presentation and sophistication of the dances. 4The folklore theatre consists of several ensembles that include a group of concert dancers; professional orchestra using traditional Bulgarian instruments such as bagpipe, flute, fiddle, accordion, and others; female a cappella choir singing group, a dance group for kids aged between 6 and 14; and a dance ensemble for teenagers aged between 14 and 18.

The performers received international acclaim throughout the years having participated in numerous competitions, won plenty of awards, and taken part in various TV broadcasts in Bulgaria and in countries all over the world such as Japan, Italy, USA, Canada, Cuba, Israel, Turkey, and many others.

The ensamble takes special part in the Shibil performance of the Sava Ognianov Drama Theatre in Rousse. For more information, visit our Events page.

In July 2016 for a third time the ensemble will take part in the 28th edition of the International Folklore Festival in the French town of Martig. They will be performing together musicians and danccers from around the globe: from Belarus, Thailand, Chile, Russia, South Africa, France, Fiji, and Costa Rica among many others.

Find out more about Naiden Kirov Folklore Ensemble on their official Facebook page.

Watch these incredible lads and lasses on

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Now I’m going to tell you a couple of words about…SUBMONKS

SUBMONKS is a DJ crew and a bunch of friends. Some of them live abroad and this might be the reason why their biggest parties are usually held on national holidays such as Easter and Christmas. Submonks first start playing at parties in 2009. They love drum&bass and dubstep and as their initial idea went, they organize monthly events in clubs and in the open alike both in Rousse and in other Bulgarian cities. They played in Romania several times before in exchange for their Romanian DJs coming to Rousse and driving the local audience mad with their expressive music and mixing sound.

SUBMONKS members are SUBfreak, Pixelize, Tekniq, Zombassa, and M.T.K.

Read more about SUBMONKS and any upcoming parties on their official website. Listen to their explosive DJ sets on

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Portable Elephant

So, it seems that this week is going to be fully dedicated to the music bands that are born and bred in Rousse regardless of the fact whether they still live on or have broken up. portable-elephant1 Luckily for us all, Portable Elephant are alive and kicking and continue their artistic evolution. Kaloyan and Angel, two friends in their late twenties, stand firmly behind the band and dive into, as they say themselves, the post-noise-punk-jazz-core music. Whatever the terms used to indicate the style of the music they create, you are guaranteed to listen to non-commercial art. Some articles I found on the Internet state that their sound resembles the one produced by Oresund Space Collective and that their pieces are an example of instant composing.

During the last two years they’ve been regular guests at the Alarma Punk Jazz—a radio festival organized by the Bulgarian National Radio under the hood of the Hristo Botev radio program. portable-elephant3 They were the support band for King Automatic, played together with Keira Is You and Weinberger, and also opened the 2013 Atmospheric Festival.

The two guys work on their separate music projects as well and are also the two out of three members of the psychedelic-rock KAR trio. Another of their projects was the Raincircle (Live In Dom Kafe) impro-piece they released for Mahorka.

Listen to some of the music produced by Portable Elephant, learn more about them on their official Facebook page, or tune in the Alarma Punk Jazz free music channel online.

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Ico Darka & Mazut

mazut1Here is another musical project from Rousse started years ago by Ico Darka—Darka, unsurprisingly meaning ‘the Dark’—the cyberpunk band Mazut. Along with writing the music, he plays the guitar (and what not!) and is quite a colourful character, whom I remember ever since I was a teenager. Ico frequently visits the capital city of Sofia where he is a regular guest at underground musical events in clubs and at festivals.

Currently the band consists of Ico himself and Dory, the charming blondie that additionally jazzes up their musical and visual performances on stage. I am far from being the greatest cyberpunk fan, but from what I dug up out of my resources and my scattered personal impressions from the couple of their concerts I went to, Mazut is probably the only local musical and visual project that is not afraid to explore the unknown territories of cyberpunk anico-darkd its related musical styles.

Just like many artists, genuinely attracted and dedicated to music, Ico runs another musical project called Cogwheel Crack, which takes part in the first musical compilation of the Kontingent Records label.

Read more about Mazut on their official Facebook page and listen to their music on Find some additional information about Ico and his projects here, also here, and here as well.

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Nikolay Danev and Antoni Rikev

Both Nikolay, known among us since the dawn of time as Kolio, and Antoni, a.k.a. Toni, come from Rousse. They started their musical career by setting up the local band Ahead in 1996 and sticking to it throughout its dynamic evolution over time of attracting members from other places in the country, letting go of others from the initial pack, and eventually rising to national prominence. The guys have gone through many musical projects since then, finally arriving at the Tri O Five one.

kolio2I’ve known Kolio since I was in high school and he was playing the drums in a local amateur band called Hon Gil Don together with other guys from the English Language School. I don’t quite feel fine about going into details on Kolio’s getting the first drummer kit as a gift from his father at the age of 5 as this is something I myself know from the Internet. But I feel pretty comfortable to say that Kolio is an extremely talented musician, sharing his love for music in an expressive though humble, concentrated, and always smiling manner. When he’s on stage, you may sometimes not be able to see him very well as drummers are not quite visible behind the drums, and the drums are usually positioned at the back, somewhere between all the mikes and cables and amplifiers and front men. However, you cannot but succumb to the rhythm – uncompromising and clear in its measure and irresistible in its insight, depth, and mood.

toni-triofive-1 As for Toni I know one thing for sure. Don’t be misled by his charming smile and timid respect for his guitar while on stage—rather take these as a true sign for a single thing: you are listening to a professional. Kolio and Toni, sometimes together, other times on a separate venture, had taken part in a number of other musical formations and projects before joining the initial members of Tri O Five.

tri-o-five Now, apart from the two of them, the group consists of the 21-year old Preyah as the lead singer, who first rose to national recognition through her participation in the Bulgarian edition of X Factor and later on Musical Academy, DJ Marten, and Desislav Ivanov playing the saxophone.

As Kolio’s and Toni’s musical careers are long and marked with collaboration projects with a lot of other musicians, you can get some more information about one of their current projects Tri O Five on the band’s official Facebook page and also on

Listen to more singles by Ahead on as well.

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Having named their band after the active Mexican volcano, these guys have always been almost that much eruptive and unpredictable on stage ever since 1995 when they gathered for the first time. The leading singer and the face of the group from the beginning is Tzetzo the Animal – an explosive ball of energy who gives himself away when on stage. At the beginning of the 1990s he was a notable figure in the city as he hosted a radio show on a local media. My memories of this period are not so profound as I was quite young, but what I know from my recent encounter with the band is that the Animal has not changed at all. A couple of months ago, when I went to Station Hall to see the band play, his stage performance was so contagious, so inflammatory, that I found myself dancing right away.


The group changed its members on different occasions and was joined by members of two renowned nation-wide groups: Favorit, a famous jazz-and-rock musical group, whose leading vocal and drummer died one after the other in tragic circumstances, and Fobos, a trash musical band. This altogether lead to a change in the band’s sound and from producing rock and alternative cover pieces and creating their own tracks in the same genres, now they experiment with pop, ethno, and swing music as the group attracted some young brass players as well.

Popocatépetl was the support band for Goran Bregovich’s concert in Bulstrad Arena on December 20, 2015, which speaks for the international recognition and respect the band has deserved with their music.

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