“Accent” Ensemble – 25 years in the world of percussion instruments


The “Accent” Percussion Ensemble has been described as "one of the cultural emblems of the city of Pleven". And this definition is well-deserved. Young performers are constantly engaged in professional music production, concerts, contests. The start was given by Simeon Serafimov, then a young teacher in percussion instruments at the National School of Arts "Panayot Pipkov". The inspiration came from Prof. Dobri Paliev – his lecturer and role model, the creator of “Polyrhythmia" – a percussion ensemble of students at the National Academy of Music, in which Simeon participated for a short time.

My idea was to create a similar ensemble in my hometown with the best students," Mr. Serafimov says. “All those who had been part of Accent enjoy good careers, most of them abroad, unfortunately. However, they promote our culture in Europe and the United States. We keep in touch and I learn the novelties in the field of percussion, I try to be close to them and support them. Among them are Orlin Gergov – lecturer in Madrid, Svetoslav Stoyanov – lecturer at the University of Miami, USA, my daughter Vasilena, who has been living in Paris for 14 years and  has been teaching there and in Lausanne, as well as Kiril Angelov – in the USA, Vladimir Petrov – performing in Bruckner Orchester, Austria, and many others ... With "Accent" we have won many awards at international contests and we have performed at a number of prestigious festivals in Bulgaria and around the world. Italy, Greece, France, Hungary are just some of the countries in which we have had concerts. The ensemble owes its development also to my wife, Augustina Serafimova, with whom we have been leaders of the orchestra for years.

Avgustina graduated from the Theory and Composition Faculty of the National Academy of Music and for many years she taught theoretical disciplines at the "Panayot Pipkov" School of Arts. She is a musicologist of the Pleven Philharmonic Orchestra, actively participating in the organization of almost all music events in the city.

“Perhaps, my love for percussion instruments started back at the Music School in Sofia, where my classmates wereAntonin Bržecka, Boris Dinev and Iskra Palieva,” she says. “I attended some of the first rehearsals of Polyrhythmia, which took place in the basement of the Music School in Sofia, first with conductor Dimitar Manolov, then with Emil Tabakov. I like percussion instruments, maybe because in most cases they can be played as an ensemble and impress the audience. After we graduated from the National Academy of Music and came to Pleven, our daughters were born and I dedicated my time to them. When our children grew up, they started playing percussion instruments and quite naturally the whole family joined the ensemble's work. The important thing for me when choosing a repertoire is to decide whether the work can be performed by percussion instruments only and what sound could be achieved. For example, Bach chorales performed by two marimbas sound just wonderful. In the school created by Dobri Paliev, Bulgarian music is covered very widely. Children play compound meters easily and it is not difficult to adapt plays by Bulgarian composers.”

The room in which Mr. Serafimov conducts his lessons and the rehearsals of the school ensemble is bright, cozy and filled with various music instruments.

“Our instruments are truly professional and they are made by world-famous company," he says. “Avgustina prepared projects and we won funds for them at the time when the second and third edition of the ‘Marimba and Percussion Instruments Festival’, took place. We organize this festival in Pleven every two years. I can proudly say that in our school we have everything we need.”

In the spring the Accent Percussion Ensemble celebrated its 25th anniversary. The young musicians are also to present a rich concert program at the Bulgaria Hall in Sofia in the autumn.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: private library

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