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DW highlights Bulgarian percussionst Vivi Vassileva

Photo: vividrums.com

Meet the rising star of percussion music - Vivi Vassileva. Thus begins Deutsche Welle's short video story about the 29-year-old Bulgarian woman who, at the beginning of the year, became the first percussionist to be awarded the prestigious award named after the American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.‎


Vivi was born in Germany, in the family of violinists Peter and Krasimira Vassilev, and is the youngest sister of the virtuoso Bulgarian violinist Vasko Vassilev. Completely expected, her beginning as a musician was marked by the melodic sound of the violin, but when she was only 8 years old, on a wild beach in the Karadere area of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, she met young people who "played'' drums, tubas and anything at hand which could be "tamed" by their hands. So she was captivated by the sounds of percussion instruments. "In the beginning, I thought that this kind of playing required masculine power, energy and aggression. I didn't know how I would be able to go on stage and play in this way, with convincing passion in every single note," the Bulgarian told the German media. 

It turns out that only 10% of classical percussionists are women. In the video, Vasileva pays tribute and recognition to the first female percussion soloist in an orchestra - the Scot Evelyn Glennie, who despite her deafness is one of the most prominent musicians of our time and at the age of 58 still gives concerts all over the world. Something that Vivi Vassileva herself has been doing since she was 16 years old. She has held concerts in Brazil, Spain, Ukraine, Portugal, Algeria, Poland. She is a soloist at the Rheingau Music Festival, European Weeks in Passau, Gasteig Festival in Munich, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival. And in addition to original compositions, she also performs works created especially for her. ‎

"I believe that percussion is the instrument of the 21st century", Vivi Vassileva said