Lazar Nikolov

Lazar Nikolov

26.VІІІ.1922 - 7.ІІ.2005

Burgas - Bulgaria

composer, singer, pedagogue

Lazar Nikolov graduated from the State Academy of Music in Sofia majoring in Piano and Composition under Professor Dimitar Nenov (1946) and Professor Pancho Vladigerov (1947). He taught Chamber Music at the National Music High-School in Sofia (1957) and Score Reading at the State Academy of Music (1961). He was promoted full professor in 1980.

From 1992 to 1999 he chaired the Union of Bulgarian Composers.

He composed two operas; six symphonies; three concertos; Metamorphoses 1-4 and other chamber works; symphonies for 13 strings and other works for symphony, chamber and string orchestra; 25 sonatas for various instruments; choral songs; music to over 30 film and theatre performances composed during the period 1954-68.

His work played an important role in the development of the Bulgarian music in the second half of the 20th century. Together with Konstantin  Iliev, he was among the pioneers of the Bulgarian music vanguard. His Concerto for Strings (1949, performed in 1951) was the first piece, which connected the composer with the new European twentieth century music. In the 1960s he took part in contemporary music festivals such as the Warsaw Autumn Festival (1962, 64, 68); the Berlin Musik-Biennale (1969, 73, 79); the Zagreb Biennial (1967) or the festival in Witten, Germany (where a chamber ensemble conducted by Ventzislav Nikolov premiered his Metamorphoses ?3, 1998). His compositions were performed in Europe, USA, Russia, etc. and were recorded for the Bulgarian National Radio, WDR, FR-3, SRB and other foreign radio stations. Peters and Schott-Mainz published his works. A number of eminent Bulgarian performers made their name as fine interpreters of contemporary music by performing his compositions.

His music won a number of national awards. In 1992 the Académie Internationale des Beaux-Arts Paris-Sofia awarded him the first prize and a gold medal for total work and contribution to the development of the contemporary music. He also received the Doctor honoris causa title by the Academy of Music and Dance Art in Plovdiv (1997) and the State Academy of Music (2002).


Stage music:


Prometheus Bound, chamber opera (oratorio) after Aeschylus (1969; 1974, Sofia); The Uncles, comic opera after Ivan Vazov (1971-75).


Sad and Tragic Songs and Symphonies for soloists, mixed choir and orchestra, lyrics by Slavyanski (1978-88).

Chants for soloists, mixed choir and chamber orchestra after Friedrich Hoelderlin (1969).

For symphony orchestra:


1 (1953; re-touched 1956-59); 2 (1959-62); 3 (1976-79); 4 (1984); 5 (1988- 89); ?6 (2001).

Suite for symphony orchestra (1946); Lento (1990); Reflections and Sunset (1995).

Concertos for:

piano 1 (1947), 2 (1954); violin (1951).

For violoncello and orchestra:

Concertino for violoncello (1973); Elegy (1981).

For chamber orchestra:

Concertino for piano and chamber orchestra (1964); Divertimento concertante (1968).

For string orchestra:

Concerto for string orchestra (1949); Symphonies for 13 string instruments (1965).

Chamber music:


1 for solo violoncello, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and harp (1981); 2 for clarinet, percussion and piano (1985); 3 for two sopranos and chamber ensemble (1987); 4 for 12 violoncellos (1991).

Piano Quintet (1958).

String quartets: 1 Virtuosic Plays (1964-65); 2 Small Requiem (1970-71); ?3 (1990).

Trios for:

violin, viola and piano (1993); violoncello, double bass and piano (1996); Intermezzo for violin, violoncello and piano (1994).

Pezzo tempestoso for violoncello and piano (in memory of Konstantin Iliev) (1994).

Sonatas for:

Violoncello and piano: 1 (1947), ?2 (1962);

violin and piano: 1 (1953-54), Sonatina (1979), 2 (1996); viola and piano (1955); flute and piano (1962); double bass and piano (1971); clarinet and piano (1971); oboe and piano (1975-76); bassoon and piano (1976); organ (1977); trumpet and piano (1983-84); trombone and piano (1985); solo harp (1991).

For piano: 1-7 (1950-91);

for two pianos: 1 for two pianos (1952); 2 for two grand pianos (1980).

Piano Reflections (1970).

Celebration Suite for six percussion instruments and two grand pianos (1980).

Vocal music:

Voice I for soprano and chamber ensemble (1989); Voice II for tenor and piano (1995), both on poems by Blaga Dimitrova; Le Requiem for mezzo-soprano, violin and piano, after Jean Cocteau (1995); Song for mezzo-soprano and piano (1995).

Orchestral arrangements:

Toccata for piano by Dimitar Nenov arranged for symphony orchestra (1980).

Chaconne for violin (from Partita ?2 by Bach) arranged for string orchestra, 2 harps and 3 trumpets (1986).

Film music to:

On a Quiet Evening, directed by Borislav Sharaliev (1959); Two Under the Sky, directed by Borislav Sharaliev (1961).

Selected books (published in Bulgarian):

Nikolov, Lazar. My World (Sofia, 1998).

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):

Iliev, Konstantin. Lazar Nikolov (Plovdiv, 2002); Petrova, Angelina. Composer Lazar Nikolov (Sofia, 2003).