For most of us, now is the time for taking a vacation and meeting friends, especially for those who do not live in Bulgaria and are happy to return here for a week or two. For some artists, however, summer is a time of hard work, participation in concerts, festivals and a lot of travelling around the world. One such artist is Bulgarian composer Albena Petrovic-Vratchanska, who has been living and writing music in Luxembourg for years and has always claimed that the profession of a composer is not a privilege for the stronger sex.
She has been proving it constantly, including in recent years, which have stopped countless projects in the field of art. Radio Bulgaria’s music editor Albena Bezovska recorded the interview with her during the Sofia Music Weeks International Festival, with which Albena has a very successful collaboration.
"For seven years I have been regularly participating in the Sofia Music Weeks festival," she says. “Every time the invitation is connected with premiere performances of my compositions, the presentation of my next new album, and in 2020 I was "Composer in focus", which is an honour for me. I am very grateful to the entire team of this prestigious forum. In this year's edition, my works were included in the recitals of pianists Martina Tabakova, Vanya Pesheva and violinist Teodora Sorokow, who performed the Bulgarian premieres of these works. I also had an author's concert within the festival with the participation of Joan Martí-Frasquier - baritone saxophone (Spain), the singer Sinthia Knoch - soprano (Luxembourg), Prof. Borislava Taneva - piano, myself I also joined as a pianist. We presented the program of my new album DREAMLOVER, which received two nominations for the prestigious classical music awards OPUS Klassik'22. Our collaboration with Joan began in 2016. Then we met, exchanged albums, I gave him Crystal Dream, a Gega New release.
Then appeared the play Dreamlover, which Joan included in his recital at a major festival in Barcelona. Then I wrote a Baritone Saxophone Concerto, and during the pandemic the four “Poèmes-Masques” appeared. They are dedicated to the masks we wear, but not the ones that we were obliged to wear during the pandemic, but the masks as a symbol of human behaviour. I often write texts for my works that the performers read or recite. But now I've decided that the message is important and I need to include a voice. It turned out that until now there is no example in classical music (or the so-called Art Music) of a similar combination. So these songs are an innovation in the classical repertoire.”
We also learned from Albena that the Baritone Saxophone Concerto was premiered by the famous saxophonist and the Sofia Soloists Chamber Ensemble in 2018. After that, the performer offered the composer to make a transcription for saxophone and piano, and a little later came the idea of releasing Dreamlover. About two years earlier, in March 2020, the album Bridges of Love was released, which contains piano pieces by Albena Petrovic-Vratchanska performed by Plamena Mangova.
"She chose the pieces among everything I've written for the piano," explains Albena. “Plamena is an outstanding artist and I trusted her completely. I also wrote a new play that I dedicated to her. We were almost unable to present the album due to the pandemic situation in the world, but it received very good reviews in various specialized magazines, as well as a nomination for OPUS Klassik'20."
You will hardly hear the following statement from Albena, but she is certainly among the composers of contemporary music whose works are constantly performed around the world. Before coming to Bulgaria, her works were performed in Barcelona (at the Barcelona Modern festival), in Taranto, Italy (at the Armonie di Primavera festival, Taranto) and in Madrid (at a concert in the Piano Lab hall).
At the beginning of July, the world premiere of her composition A Long Wait for string orchestra took place in Slovakia, performed at the Days of Bulgarian Music festival in Košice, conductor Konstantin Ilievski. This was followed by participation in festivals in France (Nuits Musicales in Forterre, Bourgogne), where songs from the radio opera The Blue Piano were performed, also in Gdansk - Poland, at the Contemporary Music Festival and in Kassel, Germany, where on 3 In August, the world premiere of Big Piece for Pipe Organ and Voice took place. On the same date, her works were performed at festivals in France and Iceland.
This impressive list of premieres and concerts speaks of serious work and ability to motivate and inspire the performers. You probably won't hear that from Albena, either. We can only wish her more achievements and successful moments which she will be willing to share with the friends of Radio Bulgaria.
English version Rositsa Petkova
Photos: private library
March 21 is the day of the city of Kyustendil (Southwestern Bulgaria). The festival is known as "Kyustendil Spring" and recreates an ancient local tradition that combined cult practices of the Thracians and Romans in their..
The Children's Choir of the Bulgarian National Radio with chief conductor Venetia Karamanova presents its traditional Spring Concert. Tonight, March 17 at 19.00 in Bulgaria Concert Hall, the young ensemble will be celebrating the coming of spring..
With his new single "Vekovna Gora", Vladi Ampov-Grafa sends a powerful message and shares his love for Bulgaria. The participation of the world-famous women's choir "The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices" has had a huge contribution to the..
March 21 is the day of the city of Kyustendil (Southwestern Bulgaria). The festival is known as "Kyustendil Spring" and recreates an..