Young musicians at Pioneer Youth Philharmonic Orchestra do everything for “absolute music"

Photo: private library

For the first time in its 66-year-long history, the Pioneer Youth Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Symphony No. 3 (known as "Eroica") by Beethoven. The concert takes place in the "Bulgaria" Hall in the capital city, November 29, and entrance for students is free. Conductor is Lubomir Denev Jr., who has been in charge of the orchestra over the past decade. He has graduated from the National Academy of Music in Sofia and has relatively recently defended a doctoral thesis on a topic little explored in Bulgaria – "Problems in conducting during symphony orchestra recording sessions". As a conductor, he has been involved in the recording of classical music, as well as film music – most often on the order of foreign companies. Since October he has been the conductor of the Students Symphony Orchestra at the Music Academy in Sofia. “I am extremely happy that my work with young musicians has been expanding. I am also grateful for the opportunity to lead Pioneer from a very young age. It can be said that we have been growing together because I became head of the orchestra shortly after it was restored”, he says.

“The biggest challenge we have set in the upcoming concert is Beethoven's Symphony No. 3,” the young conductor continues. “It has not been part of the repertoire of the orchestra, although symphonies No 1, No 5 and No 7 by the great composer have been performed before. So, the audience will have the opportunity to hear our take on this great work. The young musicians chose the work themselves. They love it immensely and our rehearsals have passed with great enthusiasm and energy. I dare say that the orchestra is now in great shape. In addition to ‘Eroica’, we will also perform a short work – ‘Intermezzo’ from Pietro Mascagni's opera ‘Cavalleria Rusticana.’ It will be in memory of Stefan Linev – a Bulgarian conductor who recently passed away. He was a friend of “Prof. Vladi Simeonov" Foundation and the orchestra, which he sometimes played in. Stefan Linev also conducted the concert on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the creation of ‘Pioneer’. We chose Intermezzo from Mascagni because it is among the last things he was conducting. As far as I know, he had some special sentiment about this music.”

It is well known that the Pioneer Youth Philharmonic Orchestra was founded by our great conductor Prof. Vladi Simeonov. When he left this world, difficult years came for Pioneer. Thanks mainly to the efforts of former musicians from the orchestra and “Prof. Vladi Simeonov" Orchestra was restored and started an active concert life.

In recent years, children and youth between the ages of 14 and 23 have been performing in "Pioneer", Lyubomir Denev Jr. says. Most of them are students from the National Music School and students at the National Academy of Music in Sofia. They have been working with sincere dedication to music – there is no remuneration. There are just young people who want to develop as musicians. Literally yesterday I shared with them my astonishment that in one of the poorest countries in Europe there are young musicians like them who do all this for ‘absolute music’. They do it to get acquainted with serious classical works, overcome technical difficulties, show what they can and experience these strong emotions together on stage.

We are very grateful to the institutions that support us  the Ministry of Education and Science, the Children’s Palace where we rehearse, the Vladi Simeonov Foundation and of course our hosts of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra.

English: Alexander Markov

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