The Choir of the Maritime University of Szczecin, Poland – Competition
The Choir of the Maritime University of Szczecin has existed for 20 years and gathers over 100 members. Only throughout the last 10 years the choir has received over 80 main awards at the most prestigious Polish and international festivals and choral contests, including: 13 Grand Prix (among others in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania) and 46 Golden Medals. It had an opportunity to perform in over 25 countries (Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Macedonia, Lithuania, Malta, Ireland, Ecuador, Russia, Canada, Japan and Taiwan). It also has on its account 9 CDs, 17 music videos, hundreds of concerts and numerous premieres of contemporary music. In 2023 its newest album, The Sound of the Sea was nominated for a prestigious award Fryderyk (Polish Grammy). Through its activity distinguished by passion, the choir created a widely recognized image that refers to the cities maritime theme, for which the group received a title of the Ambassador of Szczecin – its home town.
Sylwia Fabiańczyk-Makuch, PhD, associate professor at College of Musical Arts in Szczecin Art Academy, founder and conductor of the Choir of Maritime University of Szczecin, with whom she has been performing, passionately promoting choral music. Conductor of the professional vocal ensemble Pomerania Singers, director of the Culture Centre at the Maritime University of Szczecin, artistic director and originator of a unique Common Sounds project, artistic director of the Polish Union of Choirs and Orchestras in Szczecin, member of Jury at choral competitions. She holds several dozen titles for the best conductor at numerous choral competitions, among others in: Barczewo, Lublin, Legnica, Bratysława, Prague and China (award for one of the top 10 best conductors (out of 200 choirs) at the World Choir Festival in Hong Kong, as well as other awards for her artistic accomplishments awarded by the President of the Republic of Poland, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and others.
Madrid Youth Choir, Spain – Competition
Madrid Youth Choir is a youth ensemble, made up of about 85 members. In its short career, it has managed to become one of the leading youth choirs in Spain. The Madrid Youth Choir is a member of the Madrid Choir Federation, the Catalan Federation of Choral Entities, and the International Federation of Choral Music.
Since its beginning in 2014, the Choir has participated in international festivals such as the XIX and XX EUROPA CANTAT, the French 22nd, 23rd and 24th Choralies Festival, the “Eternal Music Rome” competition, and the 11th World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona in 2017. In 2022 the choir participated in the 57th Barcelona International Choral Music Festival, organized by the FCEC. In that same year, it was part of the program of the XX World Day for Peace, organized by UNESCO in Tolosa (Basque Country, Spain). For several years, the Choir has organized the World Day of Choral Singing, promoted by the International Federation of Choral Music.
In addition, it has numerous awards in national and international competitions, among which are the first prize and the public prize in the LI Marine Song Contest of San Vicente de la Barquera (Cantabria, Spain), Gold Diploma in the Mixed Choir category in the online version of the World Peace Choral Festival 2021, as well as four prizes in different modalities of the 52. Tolosa Choral Competition. In 2022, they won the XXII Spanish National Grand Prix of Choral Music, held in San Vicente de la Barquera (Cantabria, Spain), as well as the first prize in the “with a mask” category of the II International Choral Video Contest, organized by the FCEC. It has recently won first prize in the I “Ciudad de Granada” Choral Contest, held in February 2023. The choir has taken part in numerous radio and television programmes, as well as been featured in the media.
Juan Pablo de Juan conducts the Madrid Youth Choir since its creation in 2014. In addition, he conducts the Madrid Men-voices Choir (Coro de Voces Graves). He started his studies in Melilla (Spain), and in the Superior Music Conservatory of Málaga, specialising later in Singing and in Orchestra Conducting in the Royal Superior Music Conservatory of Madrid.
He has won numerous conducting awards: Grand Prix of Varna (2010), 60 International Contest of Habaneras and Polyphony in Torrevieja and in the 8th International Festival “Musica Eterna Roma”. He was president of the jury at the 63rd International Contest of Habaneras and Polyphony in Torrevieja. He has conducted some ateliers in different festivals and meetings, like 23rd Choralies in 2019 and the Barcelona’s International Choral Music Festival in 2022, organised per FCEC. In 2019 he was the main conductor of the Spanish National Television Choir.
Emils Darzins Mixed Choir, Riga, Latvia – Competition
Founded in 2003 as Swedbank choir. Renamed as Emils Darzins Mixed Choir in 2014. Since 2019, the choir’s Artistic Director is Mr. Rihards Lapiņš. The Choir performs in a cappella, as well as in instrumental concerts with organ and orchestra. The choir participates in various musical events such as theatre plays, Riga Christmas concerts, church services and charity event, amateur choir gatherings in Latvia, international festivals and contests, as Spittal Choir competition (2nd place in folklore and 1st place in original music category; audience choice award), International Choir Contest in Marktoberdorf, Germany (3rd place), 1st International Choir Competition “Riga sings” (winner of mixed choir category). In 2022 the Choir participated in the 5th International Baltic Sea Choir Competition and was selected for participation in Grand Prix, and was awarded the 4th place and declared as a winner in category “The Most attractive performance”. Emīls Dārziņš Mixed Choir has got the highest-level evaluation in regional showings and nominated to participate “Battle of the Songs” competition in Latvia.
Rihards Lapiņš was born in 1999 and is a conductor from Riga (Latvia). Born in Latvia, he has been singing since the age of 2 and he took conducting lessons since the age of 15 with V. Bernhofs. From 2006 to 2019 he attended the National School of Arts Riga Cathedral Choir School (RCSS) finishing choir conducting and vocal studies programmes. In 2023 Rihards graduated at the J. Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, professional bachelor’s degree study programme in choral conducting, with A. Veismanis. Besides his studies, he participated in choral conducting masterclasses with K. Putniņš, A. Parrot, R. Norrington and ensembles such as Theatre of Voices etc. In 2021 he studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Finland as part of the Erasmus exchange programme.
As a singer, he has travelled across Europe, Asia and the USA singing with several professional and amateur choirs. Rihards has worked with many important choirs in Latvia. He also has worked with several instrumental and vocal ansambles in his country and abroad. He works as an artistic director in the Emils Darzins mixed choir in Riga and mixed choir Vidzeme in Cēsis as well as vocal group “Midnight Five”. Rihards has successfully participated several choral conducting competitions, including 3rd I. Kokars International young conductors competition in 2019 in Latvia, receiving 1st place.
Vocal Ensemble “Fortissimo”, Burgas, Bulgaria – Competition
Vocal ensemble “Fortissimo” was created in 2014 in Bourgas. Straight away with their first performances they began to gain the public’s love with their homogeneous and expressive sound and distinct vision. Polyphonic sound of arrangements of Bulgarian folk songs, pop and rock music inspired the ensemble to participate in the TV format “Game of the Choirs”. In 2017 they won the Ist prize in the category ” Chamber choirs ” and the special award of the Bulgarian Choral Union for most attractive participation at the prestigious XXXVIIIth International May Choir Competition ,, Prof. Georgi Dimitrov”. In July they participated in the European Choir Games and Grand Prix of Nations in Riga, Latvia 2017. They earned the gold medal and the title of winners in the category “Chamber choirs & Vocal Ensembles” along with the big Award Grand Prix of Nations in the same category. Also VE “Fortissimo” took part in the national contest for new original songs “Bourgas and the sea” and received the prize of the jury and the big award of the audience at the end of July 2017.
Throughout the course of 2018 Vocal Ensemble “Fortissimo” participated in the World Choir Games in South Africa where they won two gold medals and the champion’s title in the “Vocal Ensembles” category. In 2019 they won again two gold medals during the European Choir Games and Grand Prix of Nations in Gothenburg, Sweden and became finalists during the EBU’s competition “Let The Peoples Sing” in Spain 2019, gold medal in “Rimini International Choral Competition” – 2020, as well as gold medals and Winner Category on Rovdo International Choral Competition – Belarus 2021, World Choir Festival – Hong Kong 2021, World Piece Choral Festival – Austria 2021 and many others. In 2021 the ensemble became a two-time world champion in two categories in the World Choir Games – Flanders – Belgium.
The choir has released two solo albums. Besides contests they have had concerts in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Latvia, South Africa and many cities in Bulgaria. In 2018 and 2021 they won the prestigious award “Ensemble of the year” of the National Radio of Bulgaria. Conductor and founder of the ensemble is Milena Dobreva.
Milena Dobreva has graduated from the Music School in Burgas, the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts – Plovdiv, and has studied Pop and Jazz Singing at the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” in Sofia, and Music Media Technologies and Audio Engineering at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. She has been a teacher for Pop and Jazz Singing and piano at “Dimcho Debelyanov” High School, Jazz Singing and Vocal Ensembles at “Professor Pancho Vladigerov” National school for Musical and Performing arts, Burgas. From 2021 she is a teacher for Pop and Jazz Singing at CSPD, Burgas. From 2018 she’s the conductor of Mixed Choir “Rodna Pesen”, in partnership with the Municipality of Burgas.
She is the founder and conductor of Vocal formation “Morski Pesachinki” and vocal ensemble “Fortissimo” – two choirs that have won many prestigious awards in national and international music competitions and festival. With the ensemble and formation Milena Dobreva has recorded 7 albums. She helps with audio recordings, editing and mastering of numerous albums of folklore ensembles, gospel groups, as well as individual performers. She is a composer and makes arrangements for children’s songs, that have received awards at the National Competition “Burgas and the Sea” and the National Competition for Children’s Song “Sladkopoyna Chuchuliga”. She has won first prize at the Competition “Teacher of the Year” in Bulgaria (2008) and “Burg of the year 2018”, as well as the award for conducting “Prof. Veneta Vicheva” at the 25. Choir Festival “Dobri Voynikov”, Shumen 2019. She has completed the Masterclass for Choir Conducting with Maestro F. Bernius in 2019. In 2022 she received the Citizen Award in Burgas.
I Piccoli Cantori of Barcellona P.G., Italy – Competition
“I Piccoli Cantori” of Barcellona P. G. (ME) is a choral and musical training school, founded in 1999. It promotes an intense educational activity for children aged 3 and older and organizes concerts, festivals and training courses.
The Children’s Choir has competed in national and international competitions: in 2017 the 1st prize in two categories and the Grand Prix at the 9th “Il Garda in Coro” in Malcesine; in 2018 the 1st prize in the children’s voices category and the 3rd prize in the category “Sacred music program” at the 66th International Polyphonic Competition “Guido d’Arezzo”.
In 2022 it also won the 27th “Efrem Casagrande Grand Prix” at the 55th Choral Competition Trophies City of Vittorio Veneto, on that occasion also winning the 1st prize in the Sacred Polyphony category, the 1st prize in the children’s choirs category and the award for the best project. The choir participated in the creation of the CD Giro Giro Canto 8, published by Feniarco.
Graduated in piano and Music Education, Salvina Miano obtained an academic diploma in musical disciplines. She undertook the study of teaching and vocality for children’s choirs with Nicola Conci and in 1999 she founded the School of vocal and musical training I Piccoli Cantori of Barcellona P. G. (Me) with which he carries out concert and teaching activities; organizes vocal education courses, collaborating with speech therapists who are experts in vocology, and masterclasses in performance practice with internationally renowned teachers.
With the children’s choir I Piccoli Cantori she has received prizes and awards in national and international choral competitions and collaborates in the realization of musical training projects, raising awareness of the diffusion of choral music in primary schools.
She is frequently called as a member of the jury in national choral competitions and as a teacher to hold training courses on teaching and child vocality.
Vocal formation “Morski pesachinki”, Burgas, Bulgaria – Competition
Vocal formation “Morski pesachinki” was founded in 2003 in Burgas, Bulgaria. The formation has always impressed listeners with its rich repertoire of various styles – such as bulgarian folkore, pop and rock music.
The formation has won many prestigious awards both in national and international competitions. Some of them include: Grand Prix in National competition “Harmony” – Stara Zagora, Grand Prix in National competition “Orpheus spring”, Grand Prix in International competition “Trixie” – Albena, Grand Prix in National competition “Christmas confession” – Kiustendil, Grand Prix in National competition “Road to glory” – Sofia 2020, The Grand Prize for category “Vocal Formations” in National competition “Fifteen tulips” – Hisaria 2020, The Grand Prize for category “Vocal formations” in National competition “BELIEVE, WANT, CAN” – Sofia 2020, Grand Prix in National competition “River notes”, Grand Prix in National competition “Song pallete” – Karlovo 2021 and many more.
The formation has also held concerts both in Bulgaria and abroad – both in the Czech Republic, as well as in Austria. “Morski pesаchinki” is an irreplaceable part of the cultural life in Burgas. In addition to its five released albums it also has many successful commercial and television music videos. Its founder and conductor is Milena Dobreva.
“Orpheus” Children’s Choir, Haskovo – Festival
“Orpheus” Children’s Choir was founded in 1977. For its 45 yearlong existence, the choir has had more than 650 concerts in Bulgaria and overseas, and has toured Europe and Asia. The “Orpheus” choir members have won many awards at national and international competitions and festival in Varna, Preveza, Moscow, Cantonigros, Köln, Bydgoszcz, Plovdiv, Panagyurishte, Sofia, Nesebar, Lloret de Mar, Vienna, Daugavpils and Beijing.
“Orpheus” is the first Bulgarian choir that took part in the World Choir Festival of Peace in Vienna, where the choir performed in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Philharmony – Musikverein. And is the only Bulgarian choir performing at the festivals in Beijing and Shanghai – The China Soong Ching Ling Science & Culture Center for Young People.
The choir and its conductor have been awarded the title “Founder of the Children’s Choir of Bulgaria”, given to them by the BCU. The choir was one of the finalists in the first ever Bulgarian reality for choir. It was awarded the “Golden pin” of the BCU, “Silver Lyre” from the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers (UBMD) and for its 40-year anniversary the choir received the title “Golden Lyre” from the UBMD. The current conductor of the choir is Elena Tsvetkova.
Elena Tsvetkova is a graduate of the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts – Plovdiv in the class of prof. V. Aleksandrova for Classical Singing and Choir Conducting with docent Krikor Chetinyan. She has received the title “Golden Lyre” from the UBDM, “Golden Pin” from the BCU and was awarded for her contribution in vocal pedagogy by the “Evterpani” Association in Sofia. She is the secretary of the Bulgarian Choir Union and the founder and artistic director of the only National Festival for Christmas and New Year’s Songs in Bulgaria.
“St. George the Victorious” Children’s and Youth Choir, Ruse – Festival
“St. George the Victorious” Children’s and Youth Choir was founded in the autumn of 1993 as a Boys’ Choir in Ruse by conductor Mina Dragneva-Vlaykova and pianist Emiliyan Akimov. From 2001 until 2006 the choir is part of the Opera and Philharmonic Association in Ruse, and its creative team include the pianists Elena Koleva and Bozhena Ivanova. The different ensembles of the choir have taken part in different operas, concerts with the Ruse Philharmony, individual concerts, festivals and competitions in Bulgaria and overseas. From 2006 to 2008 the choir was part of Military Club Ruse. From 2008 it’s part of Youth Centre Ruse.
The choir is active at many concerts and has a big repertoire, which always includes sacral and patriotic music tied to the feel of Bulgarian songs. For its high creative achievements and contribution to the popularization of Bulgarian choir music the choir has received golden, silver and bronze medals, special awards, plaques, diplomas, etc. It has won the “Ruse” Award and “Silver Lyre” from the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers. The choir has performed in Romania, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Greece, Italy and many more.
Mina Dragneva-Vlaykova was born in 1958 in Dobrich, Bulgaria. In her hometown she graduated from the Math High school, learned the piano and sang in the world renowned Children’s choir of Zahari Mednikarov for 10 years. In 1980 she graduated from the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts – Plovdiv in the class of Zlatina Deliradeva for Choir Conducting, as well as Orchestral Conducting with Ivan Dimov. During her study she sang at the Plovdiv Singing Association and Women’s Student Chamber Choir with conductor Krikor Chetinyan.
From 1980 to 1987 she was the conductor of the Choir School of Zahari Mednikarov in Dobrich, where she founded The Boys’ Choir. In parallel she is the general conductor of “Chernomorski zvutsi” Mixed Choir in Balchik, with which she has won a golden medal in the Sixth National Choir Festival. From 1987 until 1990 she was a solfege teacher and conductor of the Choir at the Music School “Hristina Morfova” in Stara Zagora. From 1991 she lives and works in Ruse. Between 1991 and 2001 she is the assistant conductor of “Dunavski zvutsi” Mixed Choir. In 1993 she founded the “St. George the Victorious” Boys’ Choir, with which in 2001 she founded the Children’s and Youth Choir Studio at the State Opera in Ruse. From 2008 she is the conductor of “St. George the Victorious” Children’s and Youth Choir at Youth Centre Ruse.
Children’s Choir “Svilengrad”– Festival
Children’s Choir “Svilengrad” – In the beginning of September, 2016 former choir members of the Choir School in Svilengrad, together with their conductor, decide to bring back the tradition of choir singing in their town. The Children’s Choir is then founded in the autumn of 2019. During these years the choir has successfully participated in the National Festival for Christmas and New Year’s Song in Haskovo 2019, 2020; in the Festival of Children’s and Youth Choirs, Varna 2019, 2020; and in the editions of the Festival “Let us sing together”, as well as in the Initiative of the Bulgarian Choir Union (BCU) “Bulgaria Sings”. The Choir has also had numerous individual concerts in Svilengrad Municipality and outside of it. In its repertoire the Choir School has music from different eras and genres. In 2021 and 2022, the Children’s Choir was chosen by the BCU together with 10 other children’s choirs from the whole country to participate in the founding of the “Children’s Choir of Bulgaria”. In 2023 the Children’s Choir took part in the International Choir Festival in Çhanakkale, Turkey. The Choir’s performance is mentioned in 2 central Turkish newspapers.
Kiril Tarpov began studying conducting when he was 16 as a student of Georgi Dimitrov and Samuil Vidas. He later graduated from the National Academy of Music in the class of prof. Dimitar Ruskov. His debut as a choir conductor was in 1977 in Vratsa, Bulgaria, where he worked as an assistant to prof. Vidas and conductor of the Youth and Children’s Choir. From 1985 he worked in Svilengrad, where he founded the Choir School. From 1999 he lived and worked in New York. Together with a few American foundations he led several programs for cultural exchange between Bulgaria and the USA. In 2001, sponsored by JP Morgan Chase, Kiril Tarpov became a member of the Association of American Choir Conductors and he follows through with his idea for a Bulgarian-American Forum for Arts “Festival of Light”. From 2003 Tarpov organizes the Festival of Bulgarian Arts and Culture “Bulgarian Seasons in New York”. He has won prizes such as “Musician of the Year” and “Active Creative Career” from the Bulgarian National Television in 2021.
“Dobri Chintulov” Mixed Choir, Sliven – Festival
“Dobri Chintulov” Mixed Choir at “Zora 1860” is the first mixed choir in Bulgaria. It was founded in 1893 from the teacher Mihail Raynov. Now, more than a century later, the choir continues to perform and defend Bulgaria’s pride at concerts in Bulgaria and around the world. The one who has contributed to a lot of the honors and awards of the choir is academic Metodii Grigorov, who led the choir from 1977 to 2018. While he was conductor, “Dobri Chintulov” Mixed Choir becomes widely recognized with its performances at numerous prestigious international competitions such as: The 19th International Festival of Choir Songs in Poland – “Grand Prix of the Polish Union of Choirs and Orchestras”; awards at the International Competition for sacral music in Preveza, Greece; third place at the International Choir Festival in Loreto, Italy. For its 123-year-old history the choir has performed in over 30 countries – Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Belgium, Austria, Cyprus, Ukraine, Serbia and others. The repertoire of “Dobri Chintulov” Mixed Choir encompasses songs from all styles and eras. From the autumn of 2018 conductor of the choir is Georgios Filadelfefs – a pianist and tenor with international recognition.
Georgios Filadelfefs graduated from the Conservatory of Athens in 1997 as a pianist. In 1998 he came to Bulgaria to study piano at the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” in the class of prof. Zheni Zaharieva. He then finished his Masters in Opera Singing with docent Svilen Raychev, prof. Pavel Gerdzhikov and prof. Alexander Yosifov. In 2005 he debuted in the opera “Tosca” as Cavaradossi. He has played the parts of Ernesto – “Don Pasquale”, Telbaldo – “Montagues and Capulets”, Prince Vasiliy Shuysky – “Boris Godunov’, Turiddu – “Cavalleria rusticana”, Canio – “Pagliacci”, Rodolfo – “La Boheme”, Romeo – “Romeo and Juliet”, Alfred – “Die Fledermaus”, Maeda – “Destiny”. His repertoire includes not only tenor parts, but also includes antique arias, Lieder, oratories, canzonets and chamber music. He has performed in Cyprus, Hungary, Serbia, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland. G. Filadelfefs has won many national and international competitions for piano, like the International competition “Grand Prix Maria Callas”, International competition “Seiler”, National competition “Maurice Saltiel” in Greece, Competition for Two Pianos “Yamaha” and others. In 2002 the mayor of Athens awarded Georgios a medal for his creative work.
“Zlatna Lira” Women’s Chamber Choir, Targovishte – Festival
“Zlatna Lira” (Golden Lyre) Women’s Chamber Choir, Targovishte was founded in 1973 by the conductor Borislav Hadzhiiski. The choir has become one of the leading women’s choirs in Bulgaria and around the world and is the organizer of the only festival for women’s choirs “Prof. Liliya Gyuleva”. The choir has participated in many competitions and festivals, as well as toured countries such as: Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Albania and others. Female Choir “Zlatna lira” has received golden, silver and bronze medals, and in 2023, because of its 50-year anniversary, the choir received the highest award from the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers – “Crystal necklace”. The choir’s repertoire includes music from all styles and eras. Conductor of the choir is Iliana Ivanova.
Iliana Ivanova was born in Targovishte, Bulgaria. She graduated from the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts – Plovdiv. She studied Conducting with prof. Zlatina Deliradeva and prof. Marin Chonev. She then specialized in Choir Conducting with prof. Lary Wild (USA), prof. Ellen Gi (France) and prof. Marin Chonev (Bulgaria). She began to sing in the Women’s Choir, when she was 15 years old and was a longtime solo performer of the choir. In 1980 she became the assistant conductor of the choir, and from 1998 is its conductor.
She has received many awards including: the award for culture from the Municipality of Targovishte (2007) and award for education (2017). This year, 2023, she was awarded the “Zlatna lira” award, given by the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers, because of the 50th anniversary of the choir. For this anniversary the choir published its own book “The Daughters of Orpheus”.
Iliana Ivanova is the artistic secretary of the Festival of women’s choirs “Prof. Liliya Gyuleva” in Targovishte.
Plovdiv Boys’ Choir “Stefka Dimitrova” – Festival
Plovdiv Boys’ Choir is a youth choir named after Stefka Blagoeva. In the distant 1981 the founder of the children’s choir Stefka Blagoeva, together with the conductor Theodosia Pankova created a youth choir for boys between 15 and 25. The Youth choir has taken part in many concerts and festival through the years in Bulgaria, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, France, Belgium, Macedonia and others, as well as in many Christmas concert tours in Europe as part of Plovdiv Boys’ Choir “Stefka Dimitrova”.
From 2019 conductor of the choir is Borislava Blagoeva. For a short amount of time she manages to prepare the choir and perform at different festivals such as: International Music Festival “Trimontiada”, Plovdiv; performance for European capital of culture (2019); International Choir Festival “Chernomorski zvutsi” in Balchik (2021); 12, 13 and 14. Editions of International Children’s Festival in Sofia and Kiten (2021, 2022, 2023); 6th and 7th editions of the National Festival for Christmas and New Years’ Songs in Haskovo, Bulgaria. In 2022 the choir participated in International Music Festival for orthodox music in Pomorie and in the project of “Darbi” Foundation in Sofia – “Bulgaria-Norway Sing”, where it gets the chance to tour different cities in Bulgaria. The choir regularly takes part in different concerts organized by the Municipality of Plovdiv and Municipal Children Complex, as well as the annual initiative of the BCU “Bulgaria Sings”.
Borislava Blagoeva was born in Plovdiv in a family of musicians. In 1975 her mother – Stefka Blagoeva, founded the Plovdiv Boys’ Choir, that today acts as a choir school, carrying the name of its founder. Borislava Blagoeva graduated from the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts – Plovdiv, specializing in Piano and Music Pedagogy. She also took part in a conducting course led by prof. Vasil Arnaudov and masterclasses with docent Krikor Chetinyan and Krastin Nastev. From 1989 she works as a music teacher and conductor of the Preparation Group of the Plovdiv Boys’ Choir. From 2016 she becomes the conductor of “Slava Ruseva” Children’s Choir at the Symphony and Opera Association “Maestro G. Atanasov” in Pazardzhik. From 2019 she leads the Youth Choir of the Choir school and has participated in many prestigious music festivals.
Youth Capella Choir, Sofia – Festival
Youth Capella Choir is an ensemble that belongs to “Lyubomir Pipkov” National School of Music, Sofia. At first the ensemble was led by prof. Liliya Gyuleva, later by Tatyana Hristova, and currently the choir’s conductor is Slavil Dimitrov.
The school subject “School choir” is part of the learning process for students, who are learning the piano and accordion at the School and it’s the only place where these young musicians can play in a big ensemble.
The Youth Capella Choir has taken part in national and international forums, such as: European Music Festival in Sofia; Sofia Music Weeks and others. The choir takes part in the annual event organized by the Municipality of Sofia – the Day of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, of the Bulgarian alphabet, education and culture and of the Slavonic literature – 24 May, as well as in many school concerts. The choir’s repertoire consists of small choir forms, cantatas and oratorios by J. S. Bach, W. A. Mozart, G. Fauré, G. Holst, E. L. Weber, L. Pipkov, G. Andreev. It has had many concerts alongside the National Philharmonic Choir “Svetoslav Obretenov”, and taken part in the BCU’s project “The Children’s Choir of Bulgaria”. In 2021 the choir was part of a concert in Hall 1 at The National Palace of Culture, Sofia, together with more than 400 choir members from around the country.
Slavil Dimitrov was born in 1972 in Momchilgrad, Bulgaria. He played the piano with the famous teacher from Shumen – Rositsa Mihaylova. He was then already a part of the choir “Bodra pesen” with conductor prof. Veneta Vicheva. Later, when he was a teenager he began studying composition with Alexander Raychev and prof. Georgii Uspenskii in Odesa.
He graduated from the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov”, specializing in “Choir Conducting” and “Opera and Symphony Conducting”. As a student he worked in the Sofia Boys’ Choir and Academy Choir “A. Manolov”. Even before his graduation, he began working at the State Philharmonic (“Symphonietta”) Shumen. There, in 2006 he founded Choir “Simeonis”. From 2007 until 2009 he was the Choir director at the Sofia Opera and Ballet, after that he became chief conductor at the State Opera in Ruse. There he led the choir “Dunavski zvutsi”. In 2012 he became the Choir director at the Opera in Izmir, Turkey and in 2013 became the conductor of the orchestra. There he founded the first ever “Choir conducting” discipline in Turkey. From 2015 until 2022 he was the conductor of the National Philharmonic Choir at the Sofia Philharmony, where he founded the Children’s Philharmonic Choir. He is the conductor of the symphonic and choir ensembles at “Lyubomir Pipkov” National School of Music, Sofia and of St. Sofia Church Choir in Sofia.
He has composed instrumental, choir and opera music, as well as cantatas and oratories. He is the General Director of “The Children’s Choir of Bulgaria”. He is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Composer. From 2018 he is the Chairman of the Bulgarian Choir Union.
Teachers’ Choir “Ars Music”, Varna – Festival
Teachers’ Choir “Ars Music” Varna was founded in 1951 as a women’s choir. Through the years the choir has been shaped by many country-wide renowned conductors, composers and music teachers. In 1988 the women’s choir turns into a mixed choir named Teachers’ Choir “Ars Music”. From 2012 Veselina Marinova is conductor of the choir and Boyan Bachvarov the pianist. Together with the choir they take part in many national festivals and creative activities. The choir has won many medals, plaques and diplomas. It’s also been awarded the order of Saints Cyril and Methodius (1976) and the Varna Prize (2001). In its history the choir has many accomplishments, including: Tour in Beaucouzé, France; first place in the 20. Choir Festival in Soave, Italy; diploma from the 13. Choir Festival “Franz Schubert”, Vienna; first place in the 2. Choir Competition for sacral Slavic music in Veliki Preslav, Bulgaria; first place at the International Choir Competition “Yan Verhulst” in the Netherlands; diploma from the 8. International Choir Competition for sacral music “D.P. da Palestrina” in Rome, Italy. The choir takes part in concerts in Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Ukraine and others.
Veselina Marinova was born in Varna, Bulgaria. She graduated from “Dobri Hristov” National Art School in the class of Yulia Zhekova for piano. She continues her education in the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts – Plovdiv, specializing in Music Pedagogy. She studied the piano with Todor Kyuvliev and Krastina Boeva, choir conducting in the class of Vasilka Spasova and orchestral conducting with prof. Ivan Spasov. After graduating she works in the Children’s Choir in Dobrich together with maestro Zahari Mednikarov. From 1987 until 2022 she works as an accompanist in State Opera Varna. In 1987 she becomes the choir conductor of Teachers’ Choir “Ars Music”, and from 2012 the chief conductor. Together with the Teachers’ Choir “Ars Music” she is an active part of concerts all around Varna, and also part of numerous projects in the country and overseas: 2012 – Istanbul, Turkey; 2014 – Karpenisi, Greece; 2015 – Ruse, Bulgaria; 2016 – Harmanli, Bulgaria; Budapest, Hungary; 2018 – Nikolaev, Ukraine; Karpenisi, Greece; 2019 – Ruse, Bulgaria; Malta; 2022 – Gabrovo, Bulgaria; 2023 – Çhanakkale, Turkey and many others.
“Sveti Atanasii” Women’s Church Chamber Choir, Varna – Festival
“Sveti Atanasii” Women’s Church Chamber Choir in Varna was founded in 2003. Throughout the years it has been led by Teodora Andreeva, Rozina Tsoneva and Evgeniya Grigorova. The Chamber Choir consists of 12 choir members and 1 soloist – Lyubomir Grigorov.
The choir proudly works to popularize sacral singing, not only with liturgical performances in churches, but also with many concerts in the country. It annually takes part in: the Festival of old-time and sacral music „Stravaganza” in Kavarna; “Bulgaria Sings”, an initiative of the BCU; performs at “Rakovina” Stage in the Sea Garden, Varna. As tradition there are the concerts “Women’s chamber choir and friends”, that are long awaited by fans of the choir. It has been awarded diplomas from the 14. International Festival for orthodox music in Pomorie. In 2018 the choir took part in a concert with Archimandrite Nikidomos Kavarnos. In 2019 the choir participated in Choir Meeting “Saint George the Victorious” in Ruse.
The “Sveti Atanasii” Women’s chamber choir and the Men’s choir at Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral come together as the Eparchy Mixed Choir, that sings at big Christian events and liturgies in Varna, Shumen and Veliki Preslav. In 2023 the Choir had its 20 anniversary.
Evgeniya Grigorova was born in Varna in 1957. She sang in the Children’s Choir “Dobri Hristov”. She graduated from “Dobri Hristov” Art School in Varna and the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts in Plovdiv. From 1979 until 1985 she worked with the famous Bulgarian choir conductor Zahari Mednikarov in Dobrich as an assistant conductor. After coming back to her hometown she worked as a teacher and conductor of the Women’s choir at Naval Hospital, Varna, Children’s Choir “Magic 7”, Teachers’ Choir “Ars Music”, with which she has won: first place at the International Choir Competition “Yan Vermulst” in Uithuizen, Netherlands; first place in the Second Choir Competition for Church and Slavic Songs “Zlaten ek ot Zlatniya vek” in Veliki Preslav, participates in the 13th International Choir Festival “Franz Schubert” in Vienna and in the 8th International Choir Festival for sacral music “Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina” in Rome, Italy.
With the Chamber ensemble “Saint John Chrysostom” at Ancient Church “St. Assumption”, Varna she has won the Special award of the International Choir Festical for orthodox music in Hajnowka, Poland, recorded two movies for BNT with orthodox music, was an award winner at the Third International Festival for Orthodox Music in Pomorie, as well as a prestigious medal holder. From 2003 she is the conductor of Children’s Choir “Angels” and “Sveti Atanasii” Women’s Church Chamber Choir in Varna.
“Prof. Marin Chonev” Women’s Choir, Varna – Festival
A women’s choir with over 50 years’ worth of history. For many years (1981-2022) creative director and conductor of the choir was Zaharina Milkova-Nikitasova. The choir has been awarded many first, second and third place at international choir competitions in Varna, Bulgaria; Neerpelt, Belgium (two-time winners of the special award “Cumlaude”), Arezzo, Italy; Landgolen, the UK; Ankara, Turkey; Montreux, Switzerland. At the same time the choir has received many prestigious diplomas for participating in numerous European choir festivals, ateliers, including some in Minnesota, USA. The choir has also been an organizer of many choir meetings and ateliers in Varna. It has performed at concerts with the philharmonic orchestras of Varna, Sofia, Odessa (Ukraine), Belfort (France). In their concert repertoire the choir includes all sorts of music – from short compositions to oratories.
From October 2022 conductor of the choir is Salzitsa Nikolova. Together with “Prof. Marin Chonev” Women’s Choir they tour in Poland, participate in the 11th International Choir Festival “Chernomorski zvutsi” in Balchik, and take part in different concerts in the country.
Salzitsa Nikolova was born in 1964. She graduated “Dobri Hristov” Art School in Varna, specializing in Solo Singing. She completed her higher education in 1990 in the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts, Plovdiv focusing on Music Pedagogy and Aesthetic. She began singing when she was 10 years old and has participated in different choirs. She has worked with Lidiya Dushek, Zaharina Milkova-Nikitasova, Krikor Chetinyan, and Vasil Arnaudov.
As a conductor and teacher she has worked with and led a school choir and vocal group. In June 2010 she became the conductor of Women’s Chamber Choir at the Ancient Church “St. Assumption”, Varna, Bulgaria. With the Choir she took part in individual concerts and performed at a lot of cultural events, organized by the Municipality of Varna. She also helped arrange recordings at Radio Varna. From 2022 she became the conductor of “Prof. Marin Chonev” Women’s Choir. With this Choir, during 2023-2024 she prepared a new A Capella program, toured in Poland, participated in the 11th International Choir Festival “Chenomorski Zvutsi” in Balchik and performs at numerous concerts in the whole country.
“Dobri Hristov” Children’s Choir, Varna – Festival
“Dobri Hristov” Children’s Choir at the Centre for Support and Personal Development – Municipal Children Complex, Varna is one of the first Bulgarian children’s choirs founded in 1952-1953 by the prominent music teacher Veselin Ivanov, with Dimitar Resnenski as a follower. Other prominent conductors have recorded their names in the history of the choir and contributed to its growth – Lidiya Dushek, Tsanka Petrova, Ivelina Dimitrova, Zaharina Milkova, Irena Kolarova. Since 2016, the choir conductor is Galina Stanisheva.
In 2020 and 2022, the choir took part in the International Music Festival “Varna Summer” in creative collaboration with the chamber ensemble “Symfonieta”, conductor Prof. Milko Kolarov.
“Dobri Hristov” Children’s Choir was awarded the award of the “Yordan Kamdjalov” Foundation, presented at the XI Festival of Women’s and Girls’ Choirs “Prof. Lilia Guleva”, Targovishte 2019. In 2021 the choir was awarded a golden medal for its participation in the online edition of the World Peace Choir Festival – Vienna, Austria. Again in 2021 the Varna singers won First Prize at the prestigious Moscow International Music Competition in the Ensemble category. 2022 brought the “Dobri Hristov” Children’s Choir First Prize from the Ohrid Choir Competition, Ohrid, North Macedonia, in the “Children’s Choirs” category. The jury also awarded the choir the special award for the best performance of a song by a Macedonian composer. For its contribution to the art of music, the Dobri Hristov Children’s Choir has been awarded the Golden Lyre of the Union of Bulgarian Music and Dance Artists. During the 2022-2023 creative season, the “Dobri Hristov“ Choir celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Galina Stanisheva graduated from the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts, Plovdiv, where she graduated with a major in Music Pedagogy. She studied conducting with Prof. Krikor Chetinyan and later specialized in classical singing in the class of Prof. Valentina Alexandrova. In 1993, Galina Stanisheva started working at the CSPD-Municipal Children Complex, Varna. Since 2002, she has been part of the both teams of the Varna Youth Opera and Children’s Choir “Dobri Hristov”, where she worked as a vocal and solfeggio teacher. In 2014, she became the conductor of the preparatory ensemble of the Choir and since 2016 she has been conducting the Concert group of the choir. Under her conducting, the Children’s Choir has participated in numerous prestigious festivals and competitions and has won many honors and awards.
In 2013, Galina Stanisheva received the Municipal Children’s Complex-Teacher of the Year award. In 2018, she was awarded the Silver Lyre of the Union of Bulgarian Music and Dance Artists. In 2022, she received a high distinction – Varna Award in the “Teacher of the Year” nomination. In 2023 she was awarded the Golden Lyre by the Union of Bulgarian Music and Dance Artists, Sofia. The prize is given for high artistic achievements on the occasion of 70 years since the establishment of the “Dobri Hristov” Children’s Choir and 30 years of creative activity.