Spot on Bulgarian Music: Pancho Vladigerov’s ‘Piano Concerto No.1 Op.6’

Written by on November 10, 2017 in Leisure - Comments Off on Spot on Bulgarian Music: Pancho Vladigerov’s ‘Piano Concerto No.1 Op.6’

Listening to ‘Piano Concerto No.1 in A-minor’, which Pancho Vladigerov composed at the age of 19, is like looking at landscapes, or beauty in other forms. His music tells stories, is full of emotion, contains suspense, and belongs to the most wonderful symphonic pieces ever written.

Pancho Vladigerov was born in Zurich on March 13, 1899, but spent his first few years in Shumen, Bulgaria. In Sofia, little Pancho was taught to play the piano. He also learned about the theory of music. It did not take long, until he started composing pieces of his own.

In 1912, at age 13, he started studying composition and piano at the State University and other institutions in Berlin. After his military service in Bulgaria, he graduated in 1922. Even before his graduation, Vladigerov won the prestigious Mendelssohn Competition twice.

It was 1932, when Vladigerov, a Bulgarian Jew, finally returned to his home country. In Sofia, he occupied a professorship position at the State Conservatory. He taught countless students, including some who would be famous as well, including the great Milcho Leviev.

Vladigerov composed ‘Czar Kaloyan’, the first Bulgarian opera which would get attention abroad as well, and symphonies, but also vocal and instrumental works of different kinds. Pancho Vladigerov died on September 8, 1978.

This piece (see Youtube video below) is the third movement of Vladigerov’s ‘Piano Concerto No.1 Op.6’. This version was performed by the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Vladigerov, the composer’s son.

Photo at top of page by Central Library of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com