Why did you decide to be a musician?

I was born in a small industrial town and it always fit me tight. I was looking for something and I found in music a brand-new world, an inner world of mine, that transcends the material nature of daily life. Therefore, I decided to study piano and composition, and at a certain point this magic world became the job that made it possible for me to travel in many different countries and meet interesting people and new cultures. I cannot think of anything more satisfying, except sailing, perhaps.

This is your debut with the Sofia Philharmonic. What are you expect?

I am really excited about my debut in Sofia! I know this orchestra as one of the best in Europe, the guardian of a great instrumental tradition, and I am sure that making music together will be wonderful. I have conducted many times in Bulgaria and I have friends in Sofia as well as in Plovdiv, Pazardzhik and Varna, so this makes this debut even more special.

Do you enjoy conducting new music? What is different from the classic one?

I am always searching for new music, perhaps it depends on my training as a composer or maybe on an innate curiosity. Conducting new music brings different problems in comparison to the classical repertoire: there are often no references to other performances and you are required to give your own interpretation, with no filters. In my opinion, this would also be a great approach to the classical repertoire as well. Furthermore, you often have the opportunity to personally interact with the composers. What would we give for a conversation with Beethoven or Debussy? I feel lucky because I have the opportunity to meet and to work with some of the greatest composers of our times, and I am equally happy to work with the new generation ones. In September 2020, for example, I will be recording a CD with music by the Italian composer Elvira Muratore: a young woman that I am sure we will be hearing about a lot in the future

Tell us a little more about the program in a concert on September 10 in Bulgaria Hall, where you will conduct the pianist Andrei Gavrilov.

The program is wonderful and thrives on the contrasting characters of the music, conceived in different times and with different intentions.

Mozart’s concerto is one of the most beautiful in the repertoire and one of the most dramatic by the composer. It is not a case that the D minor key of the piece is also used in Requiem and Don Giovanni. I am happy to have the opportunity to work with Gavrilov for this absolute masterpiece and I am sure that he will enrich it with a strong character and marked individuality.

The “Italian” part of the program features two authors deeply loved by the audience for their film music, both extremely elegant composers, but with extremely different characters.

Nino Rota’s serenity is revealed in the ease of his writing and in the lightness of his whole heredity. Ennio Morricone is a more introspective author who has lived firsthand the contrast between the “easy” film music production and the music written for a big concert hall.                                                                                                                                   Rota’s Sonata da Camera reveals Ravelian influences combined with a purely Italian melodic taste, it is a splendid work but it is very rarely performed. I believe that this would be a premiere performance for Bulgaria.

Morricone’s Suite with film music combines the most beautiful melodies composed for Sergio Leone’s famous western movies, with a cameo from the film “Mission” which is intended as a tribute and farewell to the great Maestro Morricone.

How did you decide to create several competitions for conductors such as “European Union Condictiong Competition”, “Antal Doráti” and others? How do young musicians develop?

These projects arise from the consideration that the most important competitions allow young conductors to get noticed and eventually to enter the music business through the front door. Competitions are also an excellent opportunity of growth for everyone: for the participants but also for the institutions that host them.

I think that we did a good job so far. For example, during the last edition of the European Union Conducting Competition – the final of which was held right here in Sofia at the National Academy of Music “P. Vladigherov” – we were literally flooded by comments on all social media and we even received the attention of the President of Portugal, where the winner of the competition José Edoardo Pocas Gomez comes from.

What message do you want to leave for future generations?

Go to concerts, listen to live music and play an instrument!