Our core musicians
Kalina Hristova received her musical formation at the National Music School “Lyubomir Pipkov” and then at the National Academy of Music “Professor Pancho Vladigerov,” in the violin class of Professor Elisaveta Kazakova. While at the Academy, she also spent time in Torino, Italy, specializing with Professor Mariana Sirbu. From 1993 to 2000, she furthered her experience as ensemble musician in the role of concertmaster of the “Orpheus” chamber orchestra, Pernik, Bulgaria.
With proven professionalism and individuality, she is concertmaster of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, a post she has held for 16 years now. She is also a frequent soloist with numerous orchestras in Bulgaria and abroad. Recent appearances as a recitalist include Osaka, Kyoto and Nara, Japan and as soloist with the Kanzai Philharmonic, Japan. As both soloist and chamber musician she regularly participates in festivals in Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands. She has made numerous recordings for the Bulgarian National Radio and Television.
Tsvetelina Popova – Staykova was born in Sofia. She began studying violin at the age of four and finished the National Music School “Lubomir Pipkov” with honors. She graduated from the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” ” in Sofia in the violin class of prof. Alexander Ilchev and received her master degree with prof. Evelina Arabadjieva.
Since her school years she has been interested in chamber music and has participated in various ensembles and competitions. In the year 2000 she was a scholarship recipient of the Summer Academy for Baroque Music under the direction of Reimar Orlovsky (violin) and received the award for best participant in the academy. In 2004 and 2005 she again was a scholarship recipient of summer academies, this time with prof. Peter Buck (Melos Quartet) and prof. Kolia Lessing (violin) in Oberstdorf, Germany.
In 2002 she joined the Classic FM Radio Orchestra and in 2006 became associated principal violinist of the second violins. Together with the orchestra she has participated in a number of chamber and symphonic projects, among them, memorable concerts with Nigel Kennedy, Gill Shaham, Pincas Zuckerman, Joshua Bell, Maxim Vengerov, Shlomo Minz, Vesko Eshkenazy, Svetlin Rusev, Vasko Vasilev, Mila Georgieva and many others. From 2009 to 2016 she was a member of the Sofia Opera and Ballet Orchestra and in 2017 she joined the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Evgeniya Georgieva Baadzhieva – Dimova studied at the Music School “P. Pipkov” in Pleven. She graduated from the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” in Sofia in the viola class of prof. Ognian Stanchev and completed her master degree in viola with prof. Stefan Jilkov.
Over the years, she has worked with many orchestras – Collegium Musicum Bankja, Chamber Orchestra “Orpheus”, Academic Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Opera and Ballet Orchestra. She regularly performs and records with the New Symphony Orchestra of Classic FM Radio, Chamber Orchestra Studio Primo, Sofia Session Orchestra, Sofia Soloists and others. Since 2012 she has been associated principal violist at the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Kristiana Alipieva Genova-Mihaylova studied at the Music School in Burgas and at the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov”, where she completed her Bachelor and Master degree in violoncello with prof. B. Karakonov. She also specialized in 2013-2014 at the New Bulgarian University with prof. Hristo Tanev. During her studies she was a soloist of the Academic Orchestra at the National Academy of Music, Sofia and the Burgas Philharmonic and was a price- winner of a nomerous of competitions.
As a soloist, she has participated in master classes with Robert Cohen, Young Chang Cho, prof. Peter Buck (Melos Quartet), prof. Laszlo Mezo (Bartok Quartet), Ulf Tischbirek (Lubeck), Xenia Jankovic, Martina Schucan (Zurich), Dominique de Williencourt, Stefan Popov, Lilia Shultz- Bayrova, Vencislav Nikolov. She has also participated in music festivals – Oberstdorf (Germany), “Prague- Wien –Budapest” (Austria), International Festival “Balabanov’s House Music Days”, (Plovdiv) , “Apolonia”(Sozopol). As a chamber musician, she has specialized in master classes in with musicians and teachers from the string quartets Prague Quartet, Mosaiques Quartet, Vienn Quartet, Bartok Quartet, Keler Quartet and Melos Quartet.
She is active as a chamber musician and has performed with Andrew Mariner, Maria Prinz, Vasily Ilisavsky, Alexis Kosenko, Elizabeth Pitcairn etc. She was honored to perform the Haydn Passacaglia for Violin and Cello with Nigel Kennedy.
Kristiana Mihailova successfully combines her career as a soloist, chamber musician, and member of several orchestras. Since 2008 she has been a member of the Sofia Philharmonic, and during 2006 – 2011 of the Symphony Orchestra at the Summer Academy Chigiana in Siena, Italy. Since 2002 she has been principal cellist and concertmaster of the Classic FM Radio Orchestra.
Mihail Mihaylov was born in Gabrovo in 1979. He studied at the National Music School “Lubomir Pipkov”- Sofia and graduated from the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” - Sofia in French horn with Lyubomir Nikolov, prof. Vladislav Grigorov and Bojidar Hristov.
In 2000-2001 he participated in the International Summer Academy “Prague – Vienna – Budapest” in Austria, in horn classes with prof. Adam Friedrich, and in chamber music classes with Gerhard Turecek and Klaus Lienbacher.
Since 2003 he has been a principal horn player in the Sofia Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
Clarinetist Yavor Dobrev is a native of Sofia, Bulgaria. He graduated from the National Music School in Sofia in the class of Dancho Radevski and later from the National Music Academy in the class of Professor Petko Radev. He further specialized at the Conservatoire de Music de Genève with Thomas Friedli and at the Conservatoire de Lausanne with Frédéric Rapin, earning a diploma in solo performance. He has also worked with Peter Schmidl, Paul Meyer, and Wenzel Fuchs.
He is a first prize winner at the Plovdiv Competition for French Music and the Reid Competition in Switzerland. As a chamber musician, he is a prize winner at the Young Talents Competition, and as a soloist, he has appeared with the Bulgarian National Radio Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne. Having worked and studied in Switzerland for ten years, he is currently with the Orchestra of the Sofia Opera and Ballet, as first clarinetist.
Praised by the New York Concert Review for her “golden tone,” pianist Victoria Tzotzkova has performed widely, notably at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, The Miller Theater, and The Iridium in New York City, as well as numerous other venues in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, and her native Bulgaria. She is a co-founder of ClassicalArt Ensemble with the Philharmonic Orchestra, Sofia, Bulgaria, and a frequent collaborator in experimental and interactive performance projects.
Also a researcher, she holds a PhD in music theory from Columbia University, where her principal advisor was Professor George E. Lewis. As a performer-researcher, she has received support from the Council for the Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative at Harvard University, and Columbia University’s Reid Hall Institute for Scholars in Paris, France. She has presented her work at different forums, including Columbia University, Harvard University, Indiana University, the Eastman School of Music in the US, Cambridge University, the Royal College of Music – London, in the UK, and the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, Belgium.
She is currently based at Harvard University as a Research Assistant and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an Affiliate Artist.
Lyudmil Nenchev graduated from the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” in Sofia specializing in violin with prof. Stoika Milanova and in chamber music with prof. Dimo Dimov and prof. Dimitar Kozev. He also participated in master classes with prof. Ifra Nieman and Ruggiero Richie.
From 1992 to 2005 he was a concertmaster of the Chamber Ensemble “Sofia Soloists”. From 2006 to 2013 he was a concertmaster of the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Since 2002 he has been a concertmaster of the Classic Radio FM Orchestra and since 2013 – associate concertmaster of the Sofia Opera and Ballet Orchestra. As a soloist he has performed with many orchestras and has given numerous recitals and chamber concerts in Bulgaria and abroad.
Mihail Dimitrov Zhivkov was born in Yambol in 1969. He studied at the Music School “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” in Burgas, specializing in clarinet. Later he graduated from the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” in Sofia in the classes of prof. Sava Dimitrov and prof. Petko Radev. In 1995 he earned his master degree with honors.
In 1997 he was appointed by audition to the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has been working until now as principal clarinetist. He has participated in a numerous concerts and recordings under the direction of renowned Bulgarian and foreign conductors such as Rosen Milanov, Emil Tabakov, Martin Panteleev, Lyubka Biadjoni, Uros Lajovic , Sir Neville Mariner and others. He actively participates in the concert life of Sofia as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. Earlier in his career he also performed genre and film music.
Our special guests
Kiril Hristov is a viola player, part of Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra and leader of viola group in Classic FM Orchestra. Born in Pleven, he studied violin there and then continued his studies as viola player at the National Academy of Music "Pancho Vladigerov". He has a Master degree in Viola. As a student he was part of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and for eleven years he played in the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has numerous performances in the country and abroad as a group leader, as well as chamber and solo appearances, recordings and concerts.
Margarita Kalcheva was born in Pleven, Bulgaria. She began her musical training in double bass at High school of Music with Irina Petrova. As student of prof. Todor Toshev she received the B. M. degree in Performance from National Academy of Music. She has attended masterclasses with prof. Victor Chuchkov and Michel Veillon.
Margarita became a principal double bassist of the National Radio Orchestra of Bulgaria since 1998 as well with Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa- Japan since 2009. She maintains ana international profile and career in a variety of roles as a soloist, chamber and orchestral double bassist all over the world. Her repertoire includes Bottesini, Dittersdorf, Kusevitzkii, Tschaikovski,Goleminov, Tabakov. She made numerous records and first performances including solo concert in Japan (2012), Variations Rokoko- Tchaikovsky, Concert for doblebass – M. Goleminov, “Breavissimo” E. Morricone.
Graduated from National Music School “Lyubomir Pipkov” with bassoon. She continues her education in Germany, studying in Hochshule für Musik und Tanz Köln, Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt”- Weimar, Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst – Frankfurt am Main (baroque bassoon, classical bassoon, dulcian). Becommes her master’s degree “Diploma cum laude” from Eesti Muusika- ja teatriakadeemia in Tallinn, Estonia. Winner of numerous national and international awards . Worked as bassoonist in New Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonie der Nationen, Jenaer Philharmoniker, Heidelberger Symphoniker, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and many others. Currently works in Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
The expirience of Sabina Yordanova in the area of the historical interpretation includes projects with the baroque orchestras Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Corelli Baroque Orchestra, Haapsalu Festival Baroque Orchestra, solo and chamber music concerts as well as participation in the recordings for the CD “4 elements - 4 seasons” of Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.
Ian Munroe, composer & pianist
Ian Munro has emerged over recent years as one of Australia’s most distinguished and awarded musicians, with a career that has taken him to thirty countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia. His award in 2003 of Premier Grand Prix at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition for composers (Belgium) is a unique achievement for an Australian and follows on from multiple prizes in international piano competitions in Spain (Maria Canals), Italy (Busoni), Portugal (Vianna da Motta) and the UK, where his second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1987 established his international profile.
Since 2003, his works have been frequently heard all over Australia, with broadcasts on the ABC and BBC. Commissions from the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra through a Symphony Australia residency led to ‘Blue Rags’ (2005), ‘Drought & Night Rain’ (2005) and ‘O Traurigkeit’ (2006), written for soloist Sue-Ellen Paulsen (cello). In 2011 he was Featured Composer for Musica Viva’s international season, in which his piano trio ‘Tales from Old Russia’ (2008), String Quartet no.1, Clarinet Quintet and Piano Quintet no.2 were toured by the Eggner Trio, Brentano Quartet, Sabina Meyer and the Modigliano Quartet, and the Goldner Quartet with Munro as soloist. Other works have been written for Gondwana Voices, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Chorale, Flinders Quartet, Huntington Festival and Plexus. https://ianmunro.wordpress.com/
Vassilena Serafimova, percussion
Born into a family of musicians in 1985, Vassilena Serafimova is the first Bulgarian percussionist to be awarded the Second Prize of the 56th ARD International Music Competition in Munich and the First Prize of the Fifth World International Marimba Competition in Stuttgart. She won the Grand Prix of the 10th International Competition Music and Earth as a soloist as well as the First Prize as a member of the Percussion Ensemble Accent, founded by her parents Avgustina and Simeon Serafimov. She received the Young Musician of the Year Award in Bulgaria in 2008 as well as the First Prize of the Music Critics in the 18th International Festival of Central Europe in Slovakia.
In 2014, Vassilena made her debut in Carnegie Hall of New York. One year later, together with Thomas Enhco (piano), she was the first marimba player in history to perform at the French Awards Ceremony Victoires de la Musique. In 2016, the duo recorded their first album titled Funambules for Deutsche Grammophon.
She has recorded for Radio France, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Bulgarian National Radio, and the Slovakian National Radio. Vassilena has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall (New York), Théâtre de Champs Elysées, Théâtre de Châtelet, Salle Pleyel (Paris), Hermitage Theater (Saint-Peterburg), Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam and Eindhoven), Herkulessaal (Munich), and Bulgaria Music Hall (Sofia). She has been invited to numerous festivals including Les Flâneries Musicales de Reims, Classique au Vert (France), Middelheim Jazz Festival (Belgique), REpercusionES (Costa Rica), Focus! 2011 Festival (Etats-Unis), and TransART (Bulgaria)). She has been invited to teach masterclasses in Europe, Central and North America, and Asia. http://www.vassilenaserafimova.com
Collaborators & friends
Rumen Boyadjieff, Jr.
Roumen Boyadjieff Jr. was born on 19 June 1979 in Sofia. He graduated from the L. Pipkov National School of Music specialized in percussion instruments in the class of Marina Mindova and from the Pancho Vladigerov National Academy of Music in the class of Prof. Dobri Paliev and Prof. Tatiana Karparova. He was a piano student of Stefan Trajanov, Yavor Dimitrov, Prof. Ivan Evtimov, and a student in composition and orchestration of Prof. Alexander Raichev. He has a master’s degree in percussion instruments. He completed facultative classes in conducting in the class of Prof. Ivan Marinov and Deyan Pavlov.
He is the author of music for feature films, documentaries and cartoons; music for ballet and contemporary dance, theatre and applied music, music for percussions, chamber music. Performed by famous Bulgarian musicians and leading national orchestras and troupes are his Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, Operetta for children and adults “Little Match Girl” based on Hans Christian Andersen’s eponymous fairy tale, Concerto for Brass Octet, Lamento for Flugelhorn and Orchestra, Romance for Oboe d’amore and Piano, Concerto for French Horn and Piano, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Symphonic Bulgarian poem, Requiem Mass for Choir and Great Symphony Orchestra and many others.
Roumen Boyadjieff Jr. was awarded the 2010 Film Composer of the Year by the National Film Academy, and has won numerous international competitions and festivals as instrumentalist and composer.