A 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 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.
She 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.
Since 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.”
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