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Nikolai Badinski draws inspiration from Levski, Haydn and Messiaen

The premiere of Bulgarian pieces, including two pieces by notable composer Nikolai Badinski to take place on October 18

Photo: private library

This year’s edition of the annual forum “New Bulgarian Music”, organized by the Union of Bulgarian Composers, presents chamber pieces by composers from different generations. Some of them made a career abroad. Nikolai Badinski, who graduated from the National Academy of Music “Pancho Vladigerov”, is among them. He studied violin in the classes of Nedyalka Simeonova and Vladimir Avramov. From 1962 until 1976, he lived in East Berlin, where he attended Masterclass for Composition at the Academy of Arts. In 1976, he escaped to the West.

Badinski founded and directed a String Quartet in East Germany and worked as composer, docent, soloist, concertmaster and special advisor for musical education. For many years, he has worked intensively with many groups, seeking new ways to activate music listeners. His principal publisher is Universal Edition (Vienna, New York, London). The composer’s musical creative work – about 230 pieces – also embraces new sound possibilities and their apperception.

“Apparition of Levski” and a piece from the cycle “Meetings for piano” will be performed for the first time during the concert on October 18. The concert also features the premiere performances by five other Bulgarian composers.


„I can talk about Bulgaria’sApostle of Freedom for hours, – Nikolai Badniski said. – Contemporary witnesses tell that Vasil Levski was extraordinarily lively and performed Bulgarian dances with inspired joy, like in a trance, and with unique craftsmanship. The virtuosity of Levski’s dancing movements must have been so incredible, that they had created an impression, as if his leaping legs were not touching the ground. I have this saga about the dancer with me since my earliest childhood.  The wild, changing Bulgarian rhythms in “Apparition of Levski” for piano should give an idea of Levski’s extraordinary vitality. This is a real challenge for any good pianist. The other piece is part of “Meetings for piano”, which I have been writing over the years. In them, I compare the music of authors from different eras and genres. “Weren’t these Haydn and Messiaen? is the name of the piece that will be performed in Sofia.“

Nikolai Badinski has entrusted the premieres of the two pieces to Alexandra Ivanova.


“In 2018, conductor Ivan Yanakiev acquainted me with the works of Nikolai Badinski, – the young pianist said. – Back then, at his 80th birth anniversary, I performed “Five pieces for piano on a dodecaphonic series”. I always get very excited when I perform contemporary pieces, especially when it comes to world premieres. This is a serious responsibility, but it is very interesting and enriching. My piano lecturer at the National Academy of Music, Professor Yovcho Krushev, used to say that it was important for every pianist to perform contemporary music. That is why, I have been including contemporary pieces by Bulgarian and foreign composers in my music repertoire since I was a student. Nikolai Badinski’s pieces are not easy to perform, but I like his music a lot and I hope that I will be able to present them the way he would have wanted.”

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: private library

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