Music, Art & Culture


Dobri Nemirov

Today we are writing about Mr. Dobri Nemirov – Bulgarian writer and public figure, one of the founders of the short psychological narrative and the psychological novel in the Bulgarian literature, co-founder and chairman of the Union of the Bulgarian Writers in the period 1937-1940, founder of the pension fund at the Union of the Bulgarian Writers and of the Yordan Yovkov Fund which was established to support talented authors, member of a Masonic lodge. But before we go on, we want to make it clear that Dobri Nemirov was not born in Rousse. However, the years he spent in the city were formative and the author remained connected with the city until his last breath. And now, let’s start…

Behind the pen-name of Dobri Nemirov stood the person with the real name of Dobri Haralampiev Zarafov. Almost immediately after he was born in 1882 in the town of Tutrakan, his family moved and settled some 60 km west, in Rousse. And this became the reason why most of his biographers claim that Rousse is Nemirov’s birthplace. Here he studied at a seven-grade high school, but after completing the fifth grade, he had to quit his education. Being very poor, the family was no longer able to pay for the school and the boy began to work as a clerk. Although out of school, the boy started to educate himself and was much devoted to reading Bulgarian, Russian and Western classic authors.

Nemirov became known for his many talents which were further encouraged by his uncle Mitiu Petrov, who at the time was an actor and virtuoso player of many musical instruments in Bucharest. The boy had a strong interest in music and managed to learn how to write notes and play the violin while practicing on a friend’s same musical instrument. He also had an inkling to painting, making sculptures and being an actor. When the Victor Hugo theater circle was formed in Rousse in 1898, Dobri Nemirov was one of the first actors and frequently took part in designing the setting of the plays.

He first used his pseudonym in 1902 when he began publishing stories in periodic magazines in Rousse. In 1905 he moved to Sofia where he started collaborating with a number of progressive print media such as the Democratic Review, New Road, Bulgarian Collection, and many others. He published his first book called Stories in 1912 and quickly won his fame of a talented fiction writer. In 1913 Nemirov became a co-founder of the Union of the Bulgarian Writers.

The First World War and his service in the military print media Fatherland and Military Announcements mark the period of his maturing both as a person and creator. Under the influence of the Western philosophers Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Wund, he began to create in his work deeply grounded characters whose fictitious fate was the result of tragically developed circumstances. In 1923 Nemirov wrote the poem Poor Luke which became his most famous work and was filmed in 1979.

Until 1918 he worked as a librarian at the Bulgarian Literary Society and the Ministry of Welfare. In 1925 with his cooperation in Rousse was established the House of Arts and Print Media and Nemirov was elected an honorary member. He was the founder and supervisor of the Studio theater. At that time, Nemirov, together with Dechko Uzunov, Elin Pelin and Assen Zlatarov, was also involved in the establishment of the Union of the Friends of Movies. He founded the pension fund at the Union of the Bulgarian Writers and in the period 1937-1940 was its chairman. He also founded the Yordan Yovkov Fund to help talented writers, the money for which he had been personally donated by his childhood friend Jacques Elias. He became a member of the Masonic lodge.

Nemirov was very popular for his time and many people were reading his books. Most of the critics regard his novels as a continuation of Ivan Vazov’s novels and his Brothers is considered to be the greatest pinnacle in the Bulgarian literature after Vazov’s Under the Yoke. In 1936, Nemirov was awarded the Cyril and Methodius’ Literary Prize by the Berlinov Fund for his overall creativity and he was only the third out of all Bulgarian writers together with Elin Pelin and Yordan Yovkov to win the prize. For one reason or another, however, some critics who were considered authoritative for their time seemed not to appreciate his talent and his name was not even mentioned by critic Panteley Zarev in his Panorama of Bulgarian Literature. However, Nemirov’s works were popular among people and his works were studied at school until the Communist coup in 1944.

It is said that Nemirov was an extremely intelligent man, a humanist with a subtle sense of humor, a sociable, witty, and desirable interlocutor. He supported the idea for cultural convergence between Bulgaria and Romania. In the early 1930s he visited the towns of Dobrich, Balchik, Kavarna, and Constanta in southern Dobrudja, which at that time was still under Romanian rule under the Thessaloniki agreement of 1918. There he met the local people and became the ambassador of Bulgarian culture among the population there.

Dobri Nemirov died in Sofia in 1945. Due to ideological reasons, after his death, despite his important contribution to the Bulgarian culture and along with many other Bulgarian writers and public figures at that time, he was ignored, deliberately neglected and eventually almost successfully forgotten.

But we remember and respect our public figures and our writers because we know that with their works they create our history, retell our past and create a mirror of the previous ages in which we have not lived and for which we cannot know firsthand. Each of them has helped us build our own self-consciousness, our sense of belonging as humans and Bulgarians, helped us to get to know and in this way preserve our culture to this very day. Because how else could we preserve something we do not know we ever had?

Sources

1. Part of Dobri Nemirov’s books available for free online (Bulgarian only)
2. Wikipedia
3. Lyuben Karavelov Regional Library, Rousse
4. PressTV
5. Interview with Dobri Nemirov (1930), Glasove Magazine
6. Svobodata.com
7. Lira
8. Liternet

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


Nigos Bedrosian

банкаСимеонови-min

Brother Simeonovi’s bank

In collaboration with Lyuben Karavelov Regional Library

After the Liberation from Turkish rule Rousse became the biggest and most dynamically developing city with a population of over 25,000 people in the Principality of Bulgaria. The Danube provided easy access to Rousse from abroad which attracted not only foreign entrepreneurs whose businesses in the city thrived in the following decades, but also famous cultural figures who, along with many talented Bulgarian artists, created their masterpieces in Rousse. One of the greatest achievements this mutual cultural and artistic pursuit accomplished was the remarkable architecture because of which Rousse became known as The Small Vienna.

Though, unfortunately, the beauty of some of these incredible buildings is now neglected or, even worse, lost forever, the characteristic architectural techniques and the flair of the foreign and Bulgarian masters from that time are absolutely irrefutable. Some of the European most famous architects such as France Gyunanger, Nino Rossetti, Hermann Maier, Edward Winter, Janovic and many, many others showcased their genius in Rousse.

Today, however, our article is about a mysterious and self-taught architect who, although not born in Rousse, left his unique artistic fingerprint and absolutely unmistakable style that added up to the architectural splendour of the city. It is a pity indeed we know awfully little about Nigos Bedrosian. The materials for this article were kindly provided by the Regional Library in Rousse as I was not able to find a single detail about his life online. Not to waste more time, here’s what I found out in the newspaper articles the Library sent over to me…

Куюмджиян-min

The Kuyumdjians’ house

Armenian Nigos Bedrosian came to Rousse from Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) two years after the Liberation – in 1880. In the city, he was happy to join the huge local Armenian community of about 1,000 people who, for centuries, had had their Orthodox church and had lived in rapport with the other religious and ethnic communities in Rousse. At the time of his arrival, Nigos Bedrosian had no professional qualification and began work as a regular builder at the city sewing system. He was known as Nigos the Apprentice.

In early 1893 the Municipality assigned to engineer Charles Guillon the making of a draft of a project for a city pier. To help achieve this purpose and according to the contract, the regional government had to provide for 60 borehole drillings – 30 on the shore and 30 in the river. It was believed that the only professional builder who ad the competency to handle the challenging task was Franz Brox. Both Charles Guillon and Franz Brox researched new possibilities for delivering drinking water because at the time it was acquired from the Batmish area located outside the city. Charles Guillon planned for a filtration system of the river water similar to the ones people had in Braila and Galati, while Brox looked for options in making artesian wells.

католическаНикополскаЕпархия

Ivanitsa Simeonov’s house

Given that the only potential candidate, Franz Brox, the Municipality did not announce a tender for the borehole drilling. His bid for the project, however, turned out to be higher than the planned BGN 15,000 from the state. The Municipal Council then held a meeting to discuss how to deal with this stalemate situation. During the meetup, one of its members suggested that besides Brox there was a Nigos Bedrosian who was also able to accomplish the project if the Municipality agreed to open a tender so that both Brox and Bedrosian could possibly take part in it. Even though at the tender Bedrosian was the only candidate, the Municipality approved his offer of BGN 12,000 for the same project duration of 3 months.

On April 12 at the session of the City Municipal Council, the Mayor of Rousse Mr. Peter Vinarov declared his support for issuing a document of professional qualification for Nigos Bedrosian on the basis of an application received by the latter. The practical skills and knowledge of the architect were supported by the testimonies of notable citizens whose houses he had designed and built. Nevertheless, the District Engineer transferred Bedrosian’s request to the Directorate of Public Buildings on the grounds that he was not familiar with the qualities of the builder. Eventually, after a public debate and backup from the Mayor, the Municipal Council fulfilled the request for professional qualification and issued a “license of professional competency to the citizen from Rousse, Nigos Bedrosian”.

In 1901 the architect left Rousse and no trace remained indicating his further fate. Nor do we have information about the exact number of buildings he designed and built during the two decades he spent in the city. Of them all, however, 14 are currently declared monuments of cultural heritage. Two of these 14 were built in 1895 and are proclaimed cultural heritage of national importance.

къщатаМариамБедросян

Mariam Bedrosian’s house

The first one is the commercial building of the brothers Ivanitsa and Stefan Simeonovi who were among the best-known bankers in Bulgaria at that time. They took part in the establishment of the first insurance company in the country with offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Chicago. Now the building is a DSK Bank office, has been restored and its maintained beauty is absolutely dazzling.

The second one is the house that belonged to one of the brothers Simeonovi, Ivanitsa. Currently, it is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Nikopol. It is situated in a large courtyard, its main entrance represents a terrace with a stone staircase and appears to be in a very good condition.

Polikar Canetti


Policar-Canetti Merchant Building

Ever since its construction, one of Bedrosian’s houses has been associated with an urban legend. Mariam Bedrosian’s house was built in 1897 as a wedding gift from Nigos to his beloved one, Mariam. It is alleged that in the construction of the building the architect invested all the money he had earned two years before from the brothers Simeonovi for building their bank. Until their departure from the city in 1901, the Bedrosians lived in this house. After that it became a Turkish consulate, later a private clinic, a hat factory, and in 1948 – a student dormitory. In 1977 the house was destroyed by an earthquake. In 1989 it was scorched by a fire which only left its façade surviving. Then it was permanently abandoned for a long time until a few years ago when the owners of Darik Radio bought and restored it, and brought its elegance back to life.

Nigos Bedrosian designed and built the house of the Kouyoumdjian family whose son, Dikran Kouyoumdjian, later settled in America and became a world-famous writer under his American name Michael Arlen. Read more about him on http://insiderguide.me/en/blog/2016/06/04/michael-arlen-en/.

Among the masterpieces of Nigos Bedrosian is the Policar-Canetti Merchant House. It belonged to the Canettis – the family of the first and so far the only Nobel laureate of Bulgarian origin, Elias Canetti. Read more about him on http://insiderguide.me/en/blog/2016/06/11/elias-canetti-en/.

Sources

1. Newspaper articles by Hachik Lebikian, provided by Lyuben Karavelov Regional Library in Rousse.
2. Manager Magazine
3. Buildings – the European Cultural Heritage of Rousse (in print)

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


Petar Petrov – Parcheto

In collaboration with Tsvetelina Petrova

“Rousse and Bulgaria mean the world to me.”

%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%8a%d1%80%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%80%d0%be%d0%b22One 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.

%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%8a%d1%80%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%80%d0%be%d0%b21In 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.

%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%8a%d1%80%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%80%d0%be%d0%b23People 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.

%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%8a%d1%80%d0%bf%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%80%d0%be%d0%b24His 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.

Sources

1. Interview with Petar Petrov-Parcheto
2. Ruse – the City of the Free Spirit
3. Fakel
4. Wax.bg
5. Bulgarian National Radio
6. Madiapool
7. Vesti.bg
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 Youtube.com channel.

operata6Resources

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.

Resources

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.


Zmei Gorianin

zmei2A brilliant writer, translator and editor with keen wit and encyclopaedic knowledge, Zmei Gorianin (the Dragon) is the author of over 50 books, including epigrams, historical novels, novellas and short stories, poems and tales for children. His life is filled with vicissitudes through which, however, he remains true to his principles.

Svetlozar Akendiev Dimitrov was born in Rousse on January 11, 1905. Although his family travels a lot, he graduates from the high school in the city. In 1926, he tries to set up a business in Rousse and hires a printing house. In 1927 he marries Sonya Dimitrova – an extremely intelligent and beautiful woman, whom he has known from school. Shortly after, the printing enterprise goes bankrupt and the family makes an unsuccessful attempt to move to Sofia, then again returns in Rousse, where Zmei Gorianin takes part in the publication of the Rousse News newspaper. In 1930 he and his wife move to the capital city of Sofia for good. He begins to write and publishes his works under many pen names among which the most famous is Zmei Gorianin. It is borrowed from Serbian writer Jovan Jovanovic Zmai.zmei1

Zmei Gorianin is a close friend of Elin Pelin. Their friendship is draws from the shared love for fishing and stamps. The two families are very close and meet each other frequently. It is believed that Elin Pelin is extremely fascinated by Sonya, Zmei Gorianin’s wife, and there are allegations as to the extent of their proximity. At the time, Sonya is considered a truly remarkable woman of which the love the artist Vasil Stoilov feels for her also speaks. When he paints her first out of a series of portraits, he falls deeply in love with her and his feelings stay with him until he dies years later.

In 1942 for a short period of time the writer becomes a censor at the Prinitng Directorate. After the coup d’état on September 9, 1944 and the advent of the Communist Party to power, he is accused by the People’s Court in 1945 that he had obstructed the publication of works by left-wing writers. Although this proves untrue, the People’s Court sentences him initially to five years in prison, but then reduces the term to one year because of his poor health. His books are added to the list of fascist literature and are seized from the libraries in the country.

zmei8When released from prison, Zmei Gorianin is not allowed by the Communist regime to publish any more. To win this opportunity back , some of Zmei Gorianin’s left-wing friends advise him to repent publicly, but he refuses to do so. In 1951 the author withdraws to the monastery called The Seven Thrones in the Vratsa Mountains. He spends there the last seven years of his life in creative isolation, dies in 1958 and is buried in the Monastery.

zmei6One of the consequences from the deliberate oblivion imposed on the writer by the Communist regime and the ban on his writings is that his works get published again not before 2000. It is then that some of his works reach the public for the first time. Others have been lost and are therefore unreleased even today.

Sources
1. Wikipedia
2. Pravoslavieto
3. Slovo
4. LiterNet
5. Fakel
6. Tema

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.

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

Photo credit: Tsvetomir Tsvetanov

goldenfiddle6

goldenfiddle4


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.


Svetlin Rusev

svetlin800x640 (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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W839DuQcadE.

svetlin-rusev

Sources:
1. http://cantusfirmusbg.com/125/svetlin-roussev/
2. https://www.24chasa.bg/Article/693751
3. http://svetlinroussev.com/main_en.html

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


Kamen Donev

kamen2I wish I could tell you something you haven’t read about Kamen Donev; or that he himself has not communicated about his personality through the wording of his performances, through the dances and choreography he creates, or the irony and patented sense of humor he exhibits, all of which reveal a sincere love for Bulgaria, its past and present, people and traditions.

Kamen Donev is an actor, director, playwright, and choreographer. Born in Rousse, he graduated from the class of Krikor Azaryan and Todor Kolev—two names much famous in Bulgaria—at the National Theatre Academy. He participates in “The Street” blockbuster comedy series directed by Tedi Moskov together with Maya Novoselska, Krastio Lafazanov and many other favourites of the Bulgarian audience. kamen4 His father, Ivan Donev, was the founder of Naiden Kirov Folk Dance Theater in Rousse, and its director and choreographer until his death in 2012. Since then, Kamen Donev is also Chief Artistic Director of the ensemble. He has won numerous national and international awards in his career so far, including Ikar and Maxim. He has written a book, has worked abroad, but returned to Bulgaria, where he lives with his family today.

In recent years his success is all the more sweeping because of the performances he writes, directs, and performs such as “The Views of a Teacher on the Folk Art,” “The Views of a Teacher on the Common Instruction” and others. At the end of 2015 his performance “On the Weddings” attracted 12,000 spectators at Arena Armeets Hall in Sofia, which is a record attendance at a theatrical production for the country. He also authors skits that are published on the http://shvargalo.com/ website.

If you succeed in digging up tickets for any of his productions scheduled for 2 or even 3 months ahead and go watch it, prepare yourself for a storm of emotions. Kamen Donev is an exceptional improviser who can make you cry with laughter – and that’s no exaggeration. Even when it comes to a line said many a time, it is performed as if it’s just been thought of and said out loud for the first time and with the sincere desire to be immediately shared with you. His performances are a colorful palette of dance and choreography in which he also invites guests to perform – singers and musicians such as the Boban and Marko Markovic’s Orchestra in “On the Weddings”. kamen1 A spectacle of folklore music and dances, accompanied by his mocking viewpoint, and combined with his explosive sense of humor are the signature of the artist Kamen Donev, with which he creates a unique insight into and of the performing arts in Bulgaria.

His interviews with have shown to a yet greater extent his sarcasm and harsh outlook on pressing social issues. I’ve seen him taking part in some of the protests two years ago. I’m far from limiting his rich personality within chauvinistic frames, but it’s exactly during these interviews that I cannot help but notice the “typical” traits of character people from Rousse exhibit: he is outspoken, calling a spade a spade, with an assertive and uncompromising opinion and an active citizenship standpoint – a noncommercial perceptivity of a nonconventional personality.

Read more about Kamen Donev here and here.

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 Youtube.com 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.


Leon Daniel

“Look at me. I am you.”

leon2If someone had asked me a day before whose these words were, I would have immediately answered that “I am you.” are the emblematic words of a quick-tempered and sarcastic Beckstrom , the Swedish criminologist from my favorite crime TV series. He uses them to provoke suspects to admit to their crimes by speaking on their behalf as if he was in their heads and saw what they had done.

These words, however, belong to Leon Daniel. They remain his signature in the memories of some actors whose talent he encouraged on stagein an equally eccentric way as the Swedish Beckstrom encourages the intuition for investigation.

leon4Leon Avram Daniel a is Bulgarian stage director of Jewish origin, born in Rousse. He graduated from the State Theatre Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, known as Leningrad and the Soviet Union respectively back then. He started his career at Drama Theatre in Rousse until 1957 when he moved to Bourgas and spent the next three years there.

Despite having been exposed to Russian influence, Leon Daniel asserted his creative ideas and became known as opposing the communist government. It was in Bourgas when together with three other stage directors at the Bourgass Theatre, he formed the so called The Great Four. During the Communist regime in the late ‘60s they staged for the first time authors such as Brecht, Dürrenmatt, Mrozhek and Sartre whose plays were not allowed in Bulgaria at the time. In this way, The Great Four created a new stage language that opposed the canon of socialist realism speech on stage.

Critics define his work as a whole epoch in the development of the national theatrical art: “The theater of Leon Daniel is he himself, his own personality. He created a school and was a remarkable pedagogue without teaching at the National Theatre Academy. He was relocated for his ideas were challenging the regime and moved from theatre to theatre in the country and yet he indisputably remained a person that stood up for talent and the values of art. ”

leon1Next, he worked at the National Radio, the Bulgarian Army Theatre, Sofia Theatre, and many others. He was the director of one movie and three documentaries. He received numerous awards at international and national stage contests including an honorary Ikar for overall activity and Askeer for overall contribution to performing arts. He wrote papers, publications, and books. The play “Pygmalion” by S. Beckett which he directed is being performed in Sofia for a 10th consecutive year.

He is the father of the Bulgarian painter Andrei Daniel and the grandfather of the Bulgarian writer Ida Daniel. He died in Sofia in 2008. Among his favorite actors and friends who share his artistic ideas, are Yosif Sarchadjiegv, Iliya Dobrev and others.

Sources:
1. http://alef-bg.org/
2. http://bnr.bg/
3. http://www.capital.bg/

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.


2019 European Capital of Culture Candidate

sand4 As you may already know, the European Capital of Culture is a city, designated by the European Union for a period of one calendar year, during which it organizes a series of cultural events with a strong European dimension. Preparing a European Capital of Culture can be an opportunity for the city to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits and it can help foster urban regeneration, change the city’s image and raise its visibility and profile on an international scale. (Source: Wikipedia).

Rousse was one of the contestants from Bulgaria, respectively Europe, during the latest competition that took place last year (2015), and challenged other participants under its “Rousse – City of the Free Spirit” representative leitmotif. The Free Spirit City Municipal Foundation was found. It desired to further promote a broad cultural spectrum of events in the city and encourage young talents. As a result, in 2015 the Foundation organized about 150 cultural and art events, supported 5 talented children and 10 creative teams from Ruse, established partnerships with local businesses and received a number of donations to the aim of imposing wider social effects and strong recognition of the cause. vintage-car2

I am not quite enthusiastic to admit that the city where, according to the state officials, the free spirit resides, lost the battle, but you know—life’s a motley crew of possibilities! In a nutshell, Rousse didn’t pass the first round of nominations and in the end Plovdiv, another great Bulgarian city, was pronounced the final winner, but… that’s another story. However, the contest participation itself brought about new events in Rousse, such as the 2015 Green Rock Fest featuring the legendary rock band Nazareth, the International Sand Sculpture Festival, the First Vintage Car Parade, and the International Ice Sculpture Festival.

Watch the official video that represented the city at the international community here.

Read more about the topic here and on the official Facebook page here.

Below are some photos from the major cultural events in Rousse held in 2015 while the city was aiming to become the 2019 European Capital of Culture.

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 Youtube.com 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 Youtube.com.

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


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.

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


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 Youtube.com. Find some additional information about Ico and his projects here, also here, and here as well.

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


Nikolay Danev, Antoni Rikev & Tri O Five

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 Youtube.com.

Listen to more singles by Ahead on Youtube.com as well.

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Popocatépetl

popokatepetal-1

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-animal

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

​SUBMONKS

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 uncoming parties on their official website. Lsten to their explosive DJ sets on Youtube.com.

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