Young violinist Zornitsa Ilarionova between music competitions and concert appearances


On 20 May the Classic FM Radio Orchestra will have a concert at Bulgaria Hall, where they will play Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Astor Piazzolla’s Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aries). Piazzolla’s music will be performed as arranged by Leonid Desyatnikov for violin and string orchestra with soloist Vesko Eschkenazy, who is also conductor of the programme as a whole. Vivaldi’s seasons will be performed by four young violinists, one of them – Zornitsa Ilarionova.

“I hope it will be an exciting, festive event that will bring joy to the audience,” she says. “The concert is entitled “4 Plus 4”. Lora Markova is soloist in “Spring”, Martin Zairanov in “Summer”, Alexander Ivanov from Macedonia in “Autumn” and finally – I am soloist in “Winter”. It is a wonderful idea and I am looking forward to the event.”

The concert in Bulgaria Hall is just one in a string of exciting appearances by the young violinist. Zornitsa Ilarionova has graduated the Lyubomir Pipkov National School of Music and then continued at the Queen Sofía College of Music in Madrid and New Bulgarian University in Sofia. Besides in Bulgaria, Zornitsa has performed in Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Portugal and elsewhere. She is laureate of a number of international distinctions to which one more was added just a few days ago.

“In the last couple of weeks I have had the good fortune of earning four international distinctions,” Zornitsa says. “First, I won the Music and Earth competition in Sofia where the jury awarded me the Grand Prix. The jury was chaired by French pianist Chantal Stigliani who mediates between the French National Radio and this competition. There is a special prize for the holder of the Music and Earth grand prix – the media’s special award, a concert in Paris the following season which is recorded. One day later I left for Turkey to take part in the Suna Kan competition in Ankara. This competition is in three rounds which are extremely difficult. There I came second which was a great honour. Just a few hours after the award ceremony in Ankara I was told I had won the first prize at the eMuse Online Music Competition. And my latest conquest – third place at the International Music Competition “Rising Stars - Grand Prix“ 2017 in Berlin, Germany.”

Last year Zornitsa Ilarionova specialized in Spain and in June she is to graduate from New Bulgarian University. What has she gained from this intensive period of training?

“It was very interesting because I gained an insight into two different schools of music and I had to decide which one worked for me better. I am extremely grateful to my tutors Prof. Zakhar Bron (in Spain) and Prof. Mario Hossen (in Bulgaria) who have given me so much. That turned out to be a major stride in my professional training that has helped me perform successfully at prestigious competitions. When one has chosen the stage as a career, one must look for a style all their own. Coming in contact with renowned musicians, each with their own manner of interpretation helps form one’s individuality. When a musician is taking part in a competition it is difficult to regard it as an opportunity to perform on stage or as a way to express one’s personality. I try not to make a distinction between performing at a competition and playing on stage. Music is music wherever it is played and the musician must endeavour to convey its message, wherever they may be playing and whatever the occasion. On stage, an artiste must be an artiste every day and at any given time. I am sure the pedagogues I have been working with will never become “former”. My mother is the person who is always by my side and gives me her unflagging support. She is a good friend and my first teacher. She has helped me through all trials and tribulations, she has helped me be brave and follow my own individuality.”

The audio file features the following performances by Zornitsa Ilarionova:

-  Mazurka in E Minor Op. 49 by Antonin Dvorak;

-  Sentimental waltz by Tchaikovsky, piano Maria-Elena Sredeva;

-  Concerto for piano and orchestra by Mendelssohn, part 1, arrangement for violin and piano.

English version: Milena Daynova

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