Tsarina Martinkova is a pianist born in Bulgaria, while violinist Anna Antypova is from Ukraine. They got to know each other a few years ago and almost immediately started playing together. At first they performed during meetings with friends before they turned into a duo with extensive concert activity. Both have received serious music education in their native countries before continuing their studies in the Netherlands. Eleonora Karamisheva was the piano teacher of Tsarina in the National School of Arts “Panayot Pipkov” – a fact she is very proud of. The name of their duo is somehow made up of their surnames. But in fact, they rarely explain to the audience the real reason to call it that way. “When we created the duo, we talked a long time about how stage performances are unique and every concert is different from the other," Tsarina says. "At that time I was reading a lot about Buddhism and I saw the word ‘antima’, which means ‘last reincarnation’. For us a moment on the stage is antima. It was later when we realized that ‘Anti’ comes from Antimova and ‘Ma’ from Marinkova. Maybe it looks a bit pretentious and I usually give the ‘short version’ with the names, but the name actually means much more to us.”
“I went to the Netherlands when I was 18. I graduated from Groningen and I had my Master's degree in Amsterdam. I stayed in the country and started developing my career as a musician. For nearly two years I have been living in Slovenia – the homeland of my husband, who is a jazz musician. A few years ago we had a trip to the Jazz Festival in Bansko, where I met Anna. We quickly became close friends and a little later we started playing music together. It was just before she received her Master’s degree in Kiev, and currently she is living in Amsterdam. It takes years to create a duo and this is true in every chamber ensemble, but I believe that when people are like-minded, this is reflected in their music. Since the very beginning I have very much liked the fact that we both like to experiment with classical music, which is considered strictly defined. The fact that I moved to Slovenia has made our work a bit difficult, but I often travel to the Netherlands and she travels to Slovenia ...”
In February, the Antima presented in the Netherlands their first album entitled Reflections in C Moll. It includes sonatas for violin and piano by Beethoven and Grieg, as well as Scherzo from Brahms’ sonata, all in minor tuning. At six concerts the young ladies have already presented part of their new program, which includes Bulgarian works.
“As we joke, we decided to enrich the worldview in the Netherlands," Tsarina says. “We presented two incredible works, emblematic for Bulgarian music – the Vardar Rhapsody by Vladigerov and "Sevdana" by Georgi Zlatev-Cherkin. They have been incredibly well received by the audience. We always received big applause after performing them and we were often asked about the composers. We will probably record an entire album of similar works. I am currently organizing a tour to Bulgaria. We have planned to have concerts in Germany in early 2020. We also hope to present the album in Asian countries. The most interesting thing is that since we moved to Slovenia, my projects in the Netherlands have grown and I have to travel a lot. In Slovenia we have a family project together with my husband, his brother and his spouse, who are very good dancers. We will present the project in the prestigious Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana and it is dedicated to love relationships between people, but also to music and dancing. I have also been working on a solo album. With the duo, we are planning a project that is a continuation of the first one, but this time we are looking for reflections in other arts – photography, dance ... I love to participate in projects that bring a touch of experiment with them.”