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Honour and glory to you, national enlighteners!

The Day of Bulgaria’s National Revival Leaders and Enlighteners is one of the most beloved Bulgarian holidays. It was first celebrated in Plovdiv in 1905, but was officially established in 1922, at the suggestion of the then Minister of Education. According to the proclamation of its founders, this is "a day to pay tribute to the memory of all great Bulgarians in the near and distant history who contributed to the building of modern Bulgaria." In 1945, the holiday was abolished for several decades, but after 1992 the tradition was quickly restored and enriched. 

Of course, an integral part of the Day of Bulgaria’s Enlightenment Leaders are the musical works filled with respect for the great personalities of our history. 

"Oh, awakeners of the nation, a whole string of bright names,pure, radiant noble,you are our flags for eternity.”

These words filled with admiration for the great personalities of Bulgarian history were written by Dobri Hristov - a representative of the first generation of Bulgarian composers. He is also the author of the music for the Hymn of the National Enlightenment Leaders.

Born in Varna, after graduating from high school Dobri Hristov worked as a teacher, and in 1899 he became co-founder and conductor of the Gusla music society. In 1900, with funds raised by his fellow citizens, Dobri Hristov went to study at the Prague Conservatory. There, his teachers were Antonín Dvořák, Josef Suk and other prominent representatives of the Czech musical culture. Later he was a teacher at the State Music School and the State Music Academy in Sofia, conducting choirs at the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky. He was an active participant in the strengthening of the Bulgarian choral art, he was also the author of a significant number of works for secular and church choirs, for symphony orchestras, solo songs and others.  

Along with all this, he was one of the most important researchers of Bulgarian folklore, a theorist, publicist, a true awakener, who devoted much of his time to music education in secondary schools, realizing how important it was for the spiritual growth of generations born in post-liberation Bulgaria. 

"Honour and glory, eternal glory, to you, people's awakeners! Your memory inspires us to work for brighter days to come…“ 

Photos: Yana Stamenova and archive

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