Hristo Goleminov on jazz and his own freedom to think, feel and tell

Photo: courtesy of Hristo Goleminov

The young saxophone player comes from two famous musical families – he is the grandson of great Bulgarian composer Marin Goleminov and son of Kamen Goleminov – a famous conductor. The latter left a remarkable trace in the culture of Bulgaria and Portugal where he lived over the last decades of his life. His other grandfather is Georgi Badev – a violinist of the highest level and a world-famous pedagogue. The occupation of a musician is the most common profession for both families. Hristo Goleminov’s mother Rumyana Badeva is a violinist who has played with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto Casa da Musica for many years. No matter that everyone around was devoted to ‘serious’ music, Hristo opted for the saxophone. He studied the classical repertoire of the instrument, but over the past years he has been playing jazz more and more often. His initial performance on Bulgarian stage was in 2016 with famous jazz musicians Konstantin and Alexander Vladigerov (piano and trumpet) and Stoyan Yankulov – Stundji (drums). The quartet had concerts in Ruse and Sofia. Hristo knows several languages, he speaks marvelous Bulgarian as well, but with this slight accent, typical for Bulgarians, born abroad.

 “I was born in Porto, the second-largest city of Portugal, but I have always lived in Espinho – a small town right at the seaside and really close to Porto. I graduated the Escola Profissional de Musica de Espinho, where I studied with Gilberto Bernandes. He is still one of my tutors now, at the ESMAE University in Porto. He is the assistant of Prof. Henk van Twillert from Holland who has lived in Portugal for more than 20 years now. He was the man who established the initial saxophone class in the country and I have the pleasure of being his student. Ensemble playing is a major part of our education. At the moment we are 12 saxophone players, including our teacher Henk. Our repertoire is pretty serious – Shubert, Bach, Barber, tangos… everything.”

Hristo and the student ensemble have concerts in Portugal and at least once per year – abroad. The young saxophone players and their tutor have played in Europe and the USA – New York, Boston and other cities. The young Bulgarian also studies composition and orchestration. His own first play, named Song No 1 was created for the concerts with the Vladigerov brothers – the grandsons of Bulgarian classic composer Pancho Vladigerov. The two were born in Bulgaria, but live in Vienna.

Here is what else Hristo shares on his professional choice from the early childhood:

 “When I turned 6, I began to study music and I decided to play the tuba, but later abandoned the ‘marvelous’ idea. Then I turned to the trumpet, but it turned out that I had to wait for my teeth to grow in full. My mother told me that right on my 7th birthday I stated that I would play the saxophone. I had listened to recordings at home but for the first time I tried to play some old instrument given to me and I haven’t left the saxophone ever since. When I decided to get more seriously involved into jazz, Pepa Badeva (Georgi Badev’s second wife) decided to introduce me to the grandchildren of Vladigerov. The families had known each other for years but the third generation’s representatives hadn’t met in person. It all happened very easily – we rehearsed in Vienna then they invited Stundji and organized the concerts in Bulgaria… I prefer to play jazz more and more often. This music allows me to be myself, gives me the freedom to think, feel and tell things in my own way,” Hristo Goleminov says in conclusion.

English version: Zhivko Stanchev 

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