The Academic folk choir of the Academy of music, dance and fine arts – Plovdiv is the only student choir in Bulgaria. It was founded in 1972 with the creation of the specialty “Folklore instruments and singing”.

The choir has a wide diapason in its style palette of repertoire – beginning with the original folk song from the different regions of the country and polyphonic arrangements, original compositions with avant-garde expression techniques (aleatory and sonority), ancient orthodox songs, etc.

With its high artistic level of performing the choir is equal in technique and artistry to a number of professional choirs. The choir performs songs, based on folklore and overcomes vocal, technical and interpretational difficulties.

Many works have been written and dedicated to the Academic folk choir by authors like Assen Diamandiev, Stefan Mutafchiev, Ivan Spassov, Nikolai Stoikov, Kiril Stefanov, Nikolai Kaufman, Krassimir Kyurkchijski, Anastas Naumov, etc. Their works have often had their debut performances done by the choir. Thanks to them, the choir has become the founder of the phenomenon called “new folklore influence”. It is characterized with the intonations and metro-rhythms that are integrated in the works they perform, as well as with the highly professional use of contemporary interpretative methods.

The choir has participated in numerous concerts in Bulgaria as well as internationally, yielding numerous acknowledgements and prizes. Some of the choir’s more remarkable international awards are those from the “Bidgosh Musical Impressions” festival in Poland, “Gurten festival” – Switzerland, Flanders Festival – Belgium, “Europalia” – Belgium, as well as the Bulgarian collection of “New Bulgarian Music”, etc.

The international critics have acclaimed the choir’s performances as perfectly epitomizing the “mystery of the Bulgarian Voices”, “superseding the common idea about the Bulgarian national song”, and original and enchanting “with their beauty, precision, artistic freedom and stable intonation”.

In the choir’s discography there two albums – in 2004 the self-titled “Academic folk choir” was published, followed by the CD “Bulgarian folklore masterpieces” with compositions by academician Krasimir Kyurkchiyski.

The choir was conducted by prof. Asen Diamandiev (1972-1975); docent Stefan Mutafchiev (1975-1981); prof. Vasilka Spasova (1981-2004).

In the autumn of 2004 assoc. prof. Kostadin Buradzhiev PhD became conductor of the choir.

The Academic folk choir has many honors, the major ones include:

- 1st prize from the International folklore competition “Folklore without borders” in Dobrich, Albena 2005;
- “Gold medal” from the 5th World Choir Games in Graz, Austria 2008;
- The title “World choir champion” in category “Folklore” from the 5th World Choir Games in Graz, Austria 2008;
- The national music award “Crystal lyre” founded by The Union of the Bulgarian music and dance activists, the Ministry of culture and FM+ radio;
- Honorary diploma from the Ministry of culture for high artistic contribution to the Bulgarian culture in 2010.

REINCARNATION OF THE "MYSTERY"

In the last 5-6 years the layers of performing choral art experienced unimaginable shifts. Wonderful youth choirs emerged with singers “born” in the incubators of brilliant folklore voices such as the Kotel music high school and the Academy of music, dance and fine arts in Plovdiv.

The well-known term “mystery of the Bulgarian voices” changed its source on the 13th of November 2009 when the Academic folk choir, conducted by Kostadin Buradzhiev, PhD, flamboyantly took part of the first concert of EUROPA CANTAT in “Bulgaria” concert hall, Sofia.

The professional performance and the instant reaction of the audience suggested that something remarkable was going to take place. Until the end of the concert, with each and every song, the audience’s admiration grew and the reasons were not few – the performance of the songs, the finesse of the conducting, the reflection and vibrations in the concert hall were overwhelming.

The whole program of the choir was not only cleverly escalating and dynamic, but also performed with extremely masterful interpretation of the works of authors such as Krasimir Kyurkchiysky, Kiril Stefanov, Nikolay Kaufman, Stefan Mutafchiev, Ivan Spasov and Petar Lyondev. It seemed like this hour and a half gave birth to a new feeling of these already emblematic pieces of choral art because of the emphasis on the unique Bulgarian voice and folklore technique. The connection of the various parts, the extraordinary timbers, the exact dynamics and precise “answer” to the conductor’s gesture seemed to have taken us away from reality because the sound, costumes, look, contrasting dynamics and conductor’s reincarnation fused together in a apotheosis of the great professional art – art worthy of this stage and a living proof of a new “Mystery of the Bulgarian voices”, a contemporary exhibition of the unique composer’s art.

Petar Lyondev, PhD



Danka Yordanova Tsvetkova completed SMU - Shiroka Luka in 1986 with a degree in "Folk singing". In 1991 she graduated in the Academy of music, dance and fine arts - Plovdiv with majors "Conducting folk Choirs - MBA" and "Professor of folk singing". Danka Tsvetkova worked as director of the Folk Choir (1991-1995) in the Ensemble "Sliven". From 1995 she was artist-in full-time chorister in the Folk Choir of the Plovdiv Academy, but by 1996, after successfully passing a contest is a professor of folk singing. Since 2003, together with Prof. Kostadin Buradzhiev PhD started the DNA Folk Choir - Plovdiv and soon after that they won I-st Prize at the summit of Army choirs in 2004. In the same year Danka Tsvetkova became assistant conductor and vocal pedagogue of Academic Folk Choir at the Plovdiv Academy. With the choir she has won the I-st prize at the International Competition "Folklore without Borders" in 2005 and the title "World Champion" in 5th World Choir Olympics (5th World Choir Games) - Graz, Austria - 2008.

Evidence of Mme Tsvetkova's professionalism are the invitations to become a choir vocal pedagogue at the "Sedyanka" choir in the city of Aarhus, Denmark and the vocal trio "Dremka" in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Danka Tsvetkova is also renown folk singer with a unique repertoire of Bulgarian folk songs from the region of Pazardzhik, many of which appear in her original collections "Pesen sinor nyama" (Song with no balk) and "Authentic folk songs from Pazardzhik". She has numerous concert appearances in almost all European countries, records at the Bulgarian national radio and television; has issued CD in Germany.

Radka Ivanova Stefanova graduated from the Academy of music, dance and fine arts, Plovdiv in 1981 with a degree in "Conducting folk Choirs - Master's degree. She's been for many years artist-soloist in the choir of the Folk Ensemble "Trakia" with numerous concerts in France, Germany, Austria, Iran, Algeria, Cuba, Korea, Poland, Russia and others.

Mme Stefanova is also soloist in the folk band "Lira", Plovdiv. With the group she made two CD's and many appearances mainly abroad: Europalia, Belgium, over 20 educational concerts in Belgian schools to promote Bulgarian folklore music and she had concerts in Scotland, Spain, Hungary. Radka Stefanova taught folk singing in the Summer Academy "Nyoshato", Belgium. She recorded songs from the Northwestern region of Bulgaria at the Bulgarian national radio. For years Mme Stefanova conducted the female folk choir at the community center "Karavelov", Kurtovo Konare, Bulgaria, in addition to numerous concerts at home and abroad and have carried out a CD. The choir has won many titles and honors and is representative of CIOFF - Bulgaria.

Radka Stefanova is a longtime soloist performer in the choir of the Academy of Plovdiv. Since the autumn of 2004 she is assistant conductor and vocal pedagogue of the choir. With it she won the I-st prize at the International Competition "Folklore without Borders" - in 2005 and the title "World Champion" in 5th World Choir Olympics (5th World Choir Games) in Graz, Austria 2008.

Previous conductors

Prof. Asen Diamandiev (1915-2009) was the founder of the Bulgarian State Conservatory's Plovdiv branch and also its dean (since 1964). He was the first rector of the new Musical-Pedagogical Institute (known presently as the Academy of music, dance and fine arts) since 1972 and where he teached for more than 20 years. Prof. Diamandiev was a prominent conductor and composer, professor of solmization. His work is dominated by choir songs for different formations: 150 arrangements for folklore choir, instrumental and vocal-instrumental works, etc. Prof. Diamandiev is the author of books for solmization, he was editor and compiler of songs and orchestral pieces' corpuses, he wrote articles, poetry, etc. He holds the "Golden lyre" award (2000) as well as many others. Prof.
Diamandiev conducted the Academic folk choir from 1972 until 1975.

Docent Stefan Mutafchiev ((1942-1997) is amongst the best renowned names in the genre of folklore arrangement. His songs form the essential repertoire of "Trakia" ensemble, as well as the different formations of the Academy. His original composing made his works part of the repertoire of many choirs in Bulgaria. Doc. Mutafchiev's compositions have been recorded in the National Radio and Television, Radio Plovdiv, Radio Stara Zagora. He received many awards in Bulgaria and abroad in folklore competitions. He is also author of musical pieces for the stage; symphonic, chamber, choir music, etc. Doc. Mutafchiev conducted the Academic folk choir from 1975 until 1981.

Prof. Vasilka Spasova (1936) is a long-time conducting teacher of folklore choir at the Academy. Thanks to her committed work she raised the artistic level of the Academic folk choir to the top of the highest professional achievements. Her scholarly work is aimed at the deepest and multilateral examination of the performing practices of the folk song, of its interpretation style, as well as the symbiosis between the o riginal folk vocal polyphony and the contemporary interpretational skills. Prof. Spasova has many national awards, amongst which are "Crystal lyre" (1999); "Plovdiv" award and Honorary seal of Plovdiv. She conducted the Academic folk choir from 1981 until the autumn of 2004.