Veselin Stoyanov

Bulgarian classical composer Vesselin Stoyanov (1902–1969), like Cherkin and many others, perfected his music training abroad and returned to Bulgaria to embed his talent and knowledge in the development of his native country’s art. Born in Shumen into a family of musicians, Stoyanov graduated from the State Academy of Music in Sofia (in the piano class of his brother, Prof. Andrei Stoyanov). In 1926, he was admitted to the Higher School of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna, where he studied the piano with Prof. Victor Ebenstein and composition – with Prof.  Franz Schmidt. But what became a great school to him, practical and inspiring, were the concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic and the performances of the Vienna Opera, which he attended and familiarized himself extensively with works by Mozart and Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner and Bruckner, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg and Berg, as well as the encounters with world performers – Sergei Rachmaninoff and Vladimir Horowitz, Fritz Kreisler, Bronisław Huberman, Walter Gieseking, Wilhelm Backhaus and others.  The traditions and modernity in art, which the young composer eagerly absorbed and rationalized, became embedded in his own style, firmly rooted in the national.

Back to Bulgaria, Vesselin Stoyanov taught and performed on concerts as pianist and conductor, becoming in 1933 one of the founding members of the Bulgarian Composers’ Contemporary Music Society. Rising to professorship in composition and musical forms at the State Academy of Music in 1945, he became the Academy’s rector for the period 1956–62. Works by Stoyanov include the operas Women’s Kingdom, Salambo and Cunning Peter; the ballet The Papess Joanne, two symphonies, Rhapsody for Orchestra, Festive Overture, concertos (for piano, violin and violoncello), the symphonic poem Let There be Day (on verses by Hristo Smirnenski), the symphonic poem Song of Blood (on texts by Pencho Slaveykov), three string quartets, etc.

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