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The anthem of Bulgaria’s Independence was created on September 22, 1908

Photo: archive

Bulgaria's Independence, solemnly declared in the town of Veliko Tarnovo on September 22, 1908, was celebrated throughout the country on that same day. Especially significant was the celebration in the Black Sea city of Burgas, where the Anthem of Independence was performed for the first time. Its author is Georgi Shagunov - conductor of the 24th Black Sea Infantry Regiment, a musician with a huge contribution to the development of the symphony orchestra and various choirs in Burgas, who also helped lay the foundations of the opera theatre in the city.

Born in Plovdiv in 1873, Georgi Shagunov graduated from the French Catholic College "St. Augustine" in his hometown. His parents sent him to France in the hope that he would study medicine there, but he chose musicinstead. He graduated from the Lycée Saint Jean in Lyon, and then from the Lyon State Conservatory. As a student he was appointed assistant conductor of the Lyon City Brass Band.

Georgi returned to Bulgaria in 1895 and became a military bandmaster. On September 22, 1908, inspired by the great event of the declaration of Bulgaria’s Independence, Shagunov created  both the text and the melody of the anthem, and studied it with the military brass band. Exhilarated, the musicians marched around Burgas, performing the anthem, and the people began to sing along with them.

It is known that Georgi Shagunov was very popular and loved by his fellow citizens, who often danced and had fun to the sounds of the city brass band. He was also the first teacher of brass instruments at the Burgas Music School. He is the author of dozens of marches, the most famous of which is "One Testament".

However, the Anthem of Independence was left in oblivion for many years. Found in the composer's archives, it was brought back to life at the beginning of the new millennium.

English Rositsa Petkova

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