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Conductor Pavel Balev is the new winner of the National Acad. Marin Goleminov Award

Conductor Pavel Balev
Photo: sofiaphilharmonic.com

On September 28, the birthday of Acad. Marin Goleminov, for the sixth consecutive year, the National Award for Contribution to the Art of Music, named after the great Bulgarian composer was bestowed. Traditionally, the award ceremony in his native town of Kyustendil was accompanied by a concert, which opens the new season of the Acad. Marin Goleminov Music Association. This year the young musicians from the independent string orchestra Drop Down Community were on the stage.

String Orchestra Drop Down Community

According to the choice of the authoritative jury, the new winner of the prestigious award is maestro Pavel Balev - a conductor with an impressive career, who has associated his name with some of the largest symphony and opera orchestras in the world.

It is known that in 1996 Pavel Balev won first prize at the International Competition for Conductors "Carl Maria von Weber" in Munich. In 1999, he received the first prize at the national conducting competition in Germany and the Herbert von Karajan Prize, and in 2003 he received the representative prize for conductors from the city of Bad Homburg. In 1998, Balev directed the Dresden Chamber Opera. From 1999 to 2002, he was the musical director of the Rostock Opera House. Since 2002 he has been Deputy General Music Director of the Halle Opera House.

Since 2007 (until today) he has been the principal conductor of the Baden-Baden Philharmonic, as well as the Carl Flesch International Academy, in collaboration with the concertmasters of the Berlin Philharmonic. As of this year, Maestro Balev is also the General Music Director of the Nordhausen Theater and Loh-Orchester Sondershausen, and from 2022 he will also work as the Music Director of the Opera de Limoges.


Despite his great worldwide success, Pavel Balev does not forget Bulgaria and often tours in his homeland. Whenever possible, he includes in his programmes, in Bulgaria and around the world, works by Bulgarian composers. He received the award for his overall work, part of which is an in-depth interpretation of "Symphonic Variations on a Theme by Dobri Hristov" by Marin Goleminov with the Plovdiv and Sofia Philharmonic Orchestras.

Due to professional commitments, Maestro Balev did not attend the award ceremony, but in a letter to the organizers he writes: "I accept this award as a recognition, but believe me - much more as an obligation. I have known the music of the great Bulgarian classical composer Marin Goleminov since he was a student. Gaining experience as a musician and conductor, I began to feel a real strong inner urge to present and interpret his music on stage. The contact with his work filled me with admiration, pride and self-confidence that I am Bulgarian!

It is a real pleasure to discover every time the harmonious logic of the form, the depth and energy of the expression, the picturesqueness, the musical colours, the richness of ideas, the colour of its orchestration. As a Bulgarian conductor I feel indebted to Marin Goleminov! I look forward to the new opportunities related to my interpretation of his works! The award I have the honour to receive from you is a great source of joy for me!

I believe that Marin Goleminov's music will continue to unite and enrich us more and more, because it has long won the right to be an inalienable and irreplaceable part of the Bulgarian cultural heritage!” Pavel Balev writes.

Marin Goleminov

"The fact that it is namely a conductor who has been awarded this year is significant for another reason - no matter how famous Marin Goleminov is as a composer, he was an exceptional conductor and it was he who founded the faculty of conducting at the Music Academy in Sofia. I also want to thank everyone from the Music Association, the municipality and personally the mayor of Kyustendil for the wonderful organization and heartfelt attitude," said Lilia Goleminova, granddaughter of the composer, organizer and member of the jury.


Along with the grand prize, the jury also awarded the Golden Ensemble Prize to the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with conductor Raycho Hristov, which is deeply connected not only with the work of Acad. Goleminov, but also with the idea and realization of the awards in his name. The ensemble receives the award for its overall activity, the interesting programmes it presents to the audience, in which works of the Bulgarian classic are traditionally present.

English Rositsa Petkova

Photos: Sofia Filharmonics, Lili Goleminova, Radio Blagoevgrad, private library

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