GRIGOR PALIKAROV (1971) graduated from the Music School in his hometown of Plovdiv with a diploma in piano with full honours and a gold badge in 1990, then from the Prof. Pancho Vladigerov National Academy of Music in Sofia with a Master’s degree in four majors: opera and symphonic conducting under Acad. Vassil Kazandzhiev and Prof. Ivan Vulpe, composition under Prof. Dimitar Tapkov, choral conducting under Prof. Stoyan Kralev and piano with Prof. Krasimir Tasskov. He specialized in composition within two summer courses with Prof. Erich Urbanner from the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts.
He began his professional career as a conductor in the Symphony Orchestra of the Bulgarian Army Ensemble (1995-1997), and from 1997 to 1999 he was its chief conductor. In the meantime, he also took up the position of conductor and chief artistic director of the renowned Pioneer Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (1998 – 2003).
He debuted as an opera conductor was when he was a 22-year-old student and he conducted Rigoletto in the opera houses in Pleven and Stara Zagora. In 1998, at the invitation of Ghena Dimitrova, he conducted her gala concert at the Sofia Opera. From January 2000 to April 2019 he was a full-time conductor at the Sofia Opera and Ballet, and his repertoire includes more than 60 opera and ballet works.
Grigor Palikarov is Professor in Opera and Symphonic Conducting at the Music Academy in Sofia. He got his PhD in Music and Dance in 2017.
Mo. Palikarov is a frequent guest conductor of many orchestras and opera houses in the country. Since the 2005/2006 season, he has also been the Chief Artistic Director and Conductor of the Maestro Georgi Atanasov Symphony and Opera Society in the town of Pazardjik.
Grigor Palikarov is a frequent guest conductor of many orchestras and opera houses in the country, including the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bulgarian National Radio, the Classic FM Orchestra – Sofia, of which he has been the permanent conductor since the 2008/09 season, the state operas in Plovdiv, Varna (of which he has been the permanent guest conductor since the 2021/22 season), Burgas, etc.
He regularly tours abroad to Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, USA, Russia, Slovenia, Poland, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Japan, Korea. He has been a guest of the National Opera and Ballet – Ljubljana, the Symphony Orchestra of the Romanian National Radio – Bucharest, the Philharmonic Orchestras of the cities of Brasov and Sibiu, the Century Symphony Orchestra – Taipei, the Opera Circle Company – Cleveland, where his US debut was mentioned by the critics there as “one of the most important musical events for year 2009 for Ohio State”, the Krasnoyarsk Opera and Ballet – Russia, the Janacek Philharmonic – Czech Republic, Czestochowa Philharmonic Orchestra and Warmia and Mazury Philharmonic Orchestra – Poland, Sanremo Symphony Orchestra, Bari Symphony Orchestra, Friuli Venezia Giulia Symphony Orchestra and Magna Grecia Symphony Orchestra – Italy, National Orchestra (SODRE) and National Choir of Uruguay, Dnipropetrovsk Philharmonic Orchestra, Yucatan Symphony Orchestra and Monterrey Symphony Orchestra – Mexico, Symphony Orchestra – Thessaloniki, Symphony Orchestra – Kalisz, Poland, etc. etc.
Among his numerous conducting appearances, a special place is occupied by his extensive studio recordings of various works with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as his participation in prestigious national and international music festivals such as the Sofia Music Weeks, March Music Days – Ruse, European Music Festival – Sofia, Apollonia, Varna Summer, Katya Popova Laureate Days – Pleven, Austrian Music Weeks, New Bulgarian Music, Winter Music Evenings – Pazardzhik, Festival of Opera and Ballet Art – Stara Zagora, Festival of Contemporary Music – Pula, Croatia, May Opera Evenings – Skopje, North Macedonia, Festival Duni di Matera, Italy, etc.
Alongside his conducting and teaching activities, Mo. Palikarov also performs as a pianist and composes. He is an author of choral, orchestral and chamber music. He was awarded the Special Prize for Composition by the Young Bulgarian Talents Foundation in the name of Alfred Schnittke (1994). Some of his works have been performed at festivals and recorded several times. For his successful performances as a composer and pianist he has been awarded a number of national and international prizes at the Svetoslav Obretenov, Albert Roussel, Music and the Earth competitions, etc. He has also been honoured with numerous other prestigious awards, including the Crystal Lyre of the Union of Bulgarian Musical and Performing Arts (2002, 2012, 2017 and 2022), the Golden Quill (2009), the Emil Tchakarov Award (2019), the Golden Lyre of the Union of Bulgarian Musical and Performing Arts for his outstanding contribution to Bulgarian music and on the occasion of his 50th anniversary in 2021.
He has been the President of Mensa-Bulgaria, a branch of the global organisation of people with high IQ, for two tenures.