Vassil Kazandjiev

Vassil Kazandjiev

Rousse - Bulgaria

composer, conductor, pedagogue

Vassil Kazandjiev graduated from the State Academy of Music in 1957 majoring in Composition under Professor Pancho Vladigerov and Conducting under Professor Vladi Simeonov. He was Conductor of the Sofia Opera (1957-64); co-founder and chief conductor of the Sofia Soloists Chamber Ensemble (1962-78). With the chamber ensemble he took part in every national festival and achieved international acclaim. From 1979 to 1993 he was chief conductor of the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Both tradition and contemporaneity, Bulgarian compositions and works by foreign authors had a place in the repertoire of both orchestras, which performed works ranging from the Baroque period to the 20th century. Kazandjiev realised numerous recordings. His outstanding conducting activity boosted the creative work of many Bulgarian composers. In 1960 he joined the staff of the State Academy of Music as lecturer in Score Reading. From 1984 to 2003 he taught Opera and Symphony Conducting. In 1985 he was promoted Full Professor of Conducting.

His overall activity contributed a lot for the propagation of contemporary music in Bulgaria and the performance of Bulgarian contemporary works abroad. He composed four symphonies and other works for symphony orchestra; music for chamber ensembles; theatre and film music; over 20 marches and military songs, transcriptions, etc. His music won him the international recognition. During the 1960s his compositional style was connected with the vanguard in Bulgarian music. According to the analyst of his work and style Milena Bojikova, there are two traits very characteristic for his music, which make him close to the European tendencies of the second part of the 20th century: inspiration coming from the traditional art (and presented by means of stylisation, archaism or improvisation) and preoccupation with timbral and colouristic effects.


For symphony orchestra:

Symphony 1 Symphony of Hymns (1959); 3 In Memory of My Father (1983); 4 Nirvana for choir and orchestra (2000).

Sinfonietta for big orchestra (1953); September 1923 Overture (1960); Apocalypses (1976); Capriccio (1977); Illuminations (1979).

Concertos for:

trumpet (1954); violin (1962).

Sinfonia concertante for saxophone, piano and orchestra (1958).

For chamber orchestra:

Symphony 2 Symphony of Timbres (1963); Divertimento (1957); The Living Icons (1970); Eulogy to the Sofia Crypt (1970).

For string orchestra and other ensembles:

Variations for string orchestra (1950, 1865); Complexi Sonori for string orchestra (1965); Pictures from Bulgaria for strings and percussion (1970); Festive Music (Psalms and Rituals) (1972).

For other instrumental ensembles:

Poco a Poco for organ and percussion (1977); Affreschi Sacri for winds and percussion (1992).

Chamber music:

Catharsis for twelve violoncellos (1996); Four Duos for string and wind instruments (1953); Wind Quintet (1974); Piano Quintet (1980); In Modo Scherzoso for wind quintet (1985).

String quartets: 1 Perspectives (1966), 2 (1970-72).

Strophes for flute, violin and piano (1968); Mirages for clarinet, violin, violoncello and piano (1968); Virtuosic Studies for percussion and piano (1970); Concert Improvisations for flute, viola, harp and harpsichord/piano (1974); Episodes for clarinet, harp and percussion (1977); Impulses for flute, oboe and bassoon (1978).

Sonatas for: French horn and piano (1954); clarinet and piano (1954); solo violin (1957); violoncello solo (1975); violin and violoncello (1998).

Prelude and Fugue for viola and piano (1956); Four Pieces for violin and piano (1966); Silhouettes for violoncello and piano (1974); Dialogues for flute and harp (1977); Meditation and Ecstasies for violin and piano (1977, 1982); Reflections for flute and piano (1978); Equilibristics (1979); Reflections for two violoncellos (1982); Saga for violoncello and piano (dedicated to Konstantin Iliev) (1999).

For piano:

Toccata (1957); Sonata (1959); Youth Album (1972); Triomphe des Carillons (1972).

Vocal music: Via Appia Antica (On the Road Darkened by Cypresses) for voice and piano, lyrics by Yordan Petkov (1965); Two Songs for soprano and string orchestra (1965, 1966); Visions, a vocal cycle for soprano and percussion (1971).

For mixed choir:

Elegy for mixed choir and organ (1977); The Great Mural Painting, a poem for mixed choir (1980).

Music to the feature films:

Tobacco, directed by N. Korabov (1962); Knight without Armour, directed by B. Sharaliev (1965); Shibil, directed by Z. Zhandov (1967); Thorn Apple, directed by A. Traykov (1972); The Master of Boyana, directed by Z. Zhandov (1980).

h3(red-dot).Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):

Bojikova, Milena. Vassil Kazandjiev (Sofia, 1999).