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On Annunciation Day with:

Denitsa Laffchieva – a modern-day mother, music professor and concert artist

Having a successful career and being a fulfilled mother – for some this combination sounds impossible, but still many ladies succeedin it, despite the constant sacrifices and the uneven struggle with time and their own conscience. Driven by the most sincere love for music and her loved ones, Denitsa Laffchieva is persistently following this path. The birth of her son some time ago led to a serious decision – she left the position of principal clarinettist in Sinfonia Finlandia to dedicate herself to her child. However, it turned out it was impossible to stop the wheel of her professional life. Little Alexis was only two months old when she was already performing at festivals in New York, Nice, Monaco. The commitments made by her husband Alexander Zemtsov are for years to come. That's why her grandmother accompanies her, but this is not always possible. "At some points with her help, at other on my own, I somehow succeeded. The child was constantly between the chairs on the stage and the empty tool boxes," she said.

Деница Лафчиева

Denitsa Laffchieva is among the most famous clarinettists of her generation. She has performed in hundreds of concerts as a soloist and chamber musician. She has given recitals at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall), Musikverein and others. She teaches in Italy and Lower Austria, where she is the director of a music school. Otherwise, the family home is in Vienna. What else has she been doing in recent years?

"I teach at the Talent Music Master Courses in Brescia, along with many other famous musicians. Unfortunately, we've been online more often lately”, Denitsa explains. “Of course, when face-to-face training is allowed, I travel to Italy. For about a year I have been the artistic director of the Summer Academy of Music which is held on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast - in Burgas and Sozopol. In 2020, the master classes had to be conducted entirely online. I sincerely hope that everything will be fine this year, because we will be visited by famous musicians - the amazing violinist Julian Rachlin, Sarah McElravy (violin and viola), as well as Peter Somodari, solo cellist of the Wiener Philharmonic, Alexander Zemtsov, viola professor at the University of Music in Lausanne and also at the University of Music and Arts in Cologne, Germany, and others. We have interesting projects together with the Burgas Philharmonic. We have prepared a program with works by Brahms - Clarinet Quintet in B minor (h moll) op. 115 in the first part, and Julian Rachlin and the pianist Vadim Redkin will play in the second part."

We talk to Denitsa in Sofia, at the Pancho Vladigerov National Music Academy, where she and her son attended Alexander Zemtsov's viola master class - a day after he conducted the Sofia Philharmonic's concert with soloist Mischa Maisky.

"Every time I cross the threshold of the Music Academy, I feel thrilled," she says. “I had the good fortune to study clarinet with Prof. Petko Radev from the age of 14. Our lessons took place here so I virtually grew up in this building. I came several times a week, it was my home. I graduated from the Music School in SOfia, and then at the Academy I took two years for one. Then I studied in Vienna (as a scholarship holder of the Herbert von Karajan Foundation), a doctorate at the Royal Academy of Music, London, but only thanks to my Bulgarian diploma I can now teach around the world, because only it contains pedagogical specialties. I want to call on young people who are preparing to study abroad - do not underestimate our education. It really is at the highest level."

What does Denitsa Laffchieva’s daily life look like now, when it is filled with so many responsibilities?

"It is very difficult. We work in different countries and until recently I hardly saw my husband. During the pandemic, we felt like other families for the first time. Our son has the opportunity to be longer with his father, which used to be difficult. On the other hand, the fact that we are both very busy makes every meeting something really special and beautiful. At home we speak English-Russian-German. Our son naturally speaks Bulgarian, and his father taught him, in my opinion, to talk to my grandparents while they were alive. What language are we arguing in? In fact, we rarely have disagreements that we need to discuss. But for such cases, Russian is very soft and gentle, so we switch to English”.

In the coming months, if all goes according to plan, Denitsa will lead master classes at several prestigious European festivals. In May, a concert will take place at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, where, together with famous Russian musicians, she will present masterpieces for clarinet and various chamber ensembles. And a few days ago, at the invitation of the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in Vienna “Hauss Wittgenstein" and its director Prof. Rumyana Koneva, Denitsa Laffchieva together with Maria Prinz recorded a special spring greeting to all fans of art and beauty.

English version Rositsa Petcova

Photos: private library

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