Dimiter Christoff

Dimiter Christoff

02.10.1933 г. - 26.02.2017 г.

Sofia - Bulgaria

composer, music theoretician, pedagogue, public figure

Graduating from the National Academy of Music in 1956, he studied Composition under Professor Marin Goleminov. In 1963 he won a scholarship of UNESCO. From 1969 he has been working at the Institute of Art Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, where he was promoted Senior Researcher, 1st degree in 1983. From 1975 to 1979 he was Secretary General of the UNESCO International Music Council. In 1975 he received the Doctor of Art degree. Since 1976 he has been Professor of Polyphony and Introduction to the Theory of Music at the National Academy of Music, as well as of Polyphony, Music Theatre of the 20th century and Contemporary Polyphonic Structures, Polyphony and Modern Trends in Music and Arts at the Sofia University and at the New Bulgarian University. He was elected Doctor Honoris Causa of the New Bulgarian University in 2003 and South-West University in Blagoevgrad, 2006. He was lecturer at universities in Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, USA and Canada. From 1989 to 2005 he has been Editor-in-Chief of the Bulgarian Musicology Magazine published by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. In 1994 he also began publishing the „Music. Yesterday. Today” Magazine.

His music outlines the free forms where playing with sound and rhythmic complexes, as well as freedom given to performers are proof positive of new radical original forms of expression and reconsideration of the music genres toward certain theatralisation. He won many prestigious international and national prizes for composition.


Musical and Performing:

Operas: „A Game” (staged in 1978 in Varna); Chamber Opera „The Goldfish” (premiered in 1983 by the Chamber Opera of Blagoevgrad).

For symphony orchestra:

Symphony in Two Movements №1 (1958), № 2 (1964), № 3 (1968); Symphonic Poem (1957); Aria for small symphony/string orchestra (1959); Overture (1960); Symphonic Episodes (1962); Concert Miniatures (1970); Overture with Fanfares (1973); „Quasi fantasia – a game” (1981); „Play with Violoncelli” (1983); „Perpetui Mobili in Pianissimi” (1986); „Groups-Troups With Small Solos of the Conductor” (1987); „Silent Adagio” (1988); „Cantilena Over Two Tones”(1989); „Carousel of Suffering” (1990); „Crash Down of the Mute” (1991); „Up-High – I Am Looking for You” (1993); „It Streams, It Runs Out” (1993); „I Rise in the Chaos” (1994); „I Set It Ajar, Peep In” (1995); „It is Shining Up There” (1997); „It Was Predicted” (1999); „It Is Very Quiet Here” (2000); „Vibrating-Burning” (without wind instruments) (2004); „Agitato in Su” for Piano and Orchestra (2005); „Toccata Vaganta” for Piano and Orchestra (2007); „It Comes to Light – It Rises” (2010).

Concertos: for Violin and Orchestra № l (1965), № 2 and № 3 (1996); for Violoncello and Orchestra (1969); for Piano and Orchestra № l (1955), № 2 for Piano and Big Wind Symphony Orchestra (version for a smaller orchestral ensemble) (1982), № 3 „Angel in the Heaven” (1991); for Three Military Drums and Five Instruments (1967); Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra (2009).

For string orchestra: Sinfonietta (1956); Chamber Suite for two piccolos, 13 strings, percussions and piano (1966); Concert Miniatures (1970); „Gone with the Wind” (1991); „Wait for Yours Pizzicati!” (1994); „Cold and Hot” (2001); Concert Variations for Strings and Piano on a theme from Beethoven’s Eroica (2002); „J’incline ma tête devant Toi” for Violoncello solo and Strings (2002).

Chamber music:

Two Dances for Trumpet and Piano (1960); „Three Canons for Three Violins Accompanied by Three Instruments Playing on Three Tones” (1981); „Suite in 3/4 without tutti of the 12 (or 8) Instruments” (1983); „Marches Almost Without Conductor” for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Violoncello, Piano and Conductor (1988); „January” for four readers and percussion performers after Yordan Radichkov (1989); „Drop, Drop, Endless Drops…” for Wind Quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn) (1993); „Sad Bows” for Two Violins or Violin and Viola (1995); „Quite Happy Light” for Clarinet and Percussions (2001); Sonata for Flute and Piano (2005); „Beautiful for 2” for Flute and Harp (2006).

Quartets: for Wind Instruments (1954); Concert Miniatures for String Quartet (1970); String Quartet (1970); Quartet for Flute, Viola, Harp and Harpsichord (1972); „Give Me Peace” for Flute, Viola, Harp and Harpsichord (1993); „The Double Bass Sets off for Heaven” for Violin, Viola, Bassoon and Double Bass (1993);

Trio: „I Want Your Beatitude” for Flute, Violin and Violoncello (1993).

For violoncello and piano: Sonata (1953); „Ricercari” (1986); „The Violoncello Abandons the Piano Right Hand” (1992). „Continuous convulsion” for Violoncello and Harp (2001).

For violoncello solo: Sonata (1965); „Thoughts About a Lonely Violoncello” (1991).

„Book for 12 Violoncellos Joining One after Another” (1988);

24 studies for Harp (2002-2007)

For piano: Two Improvisations (1957); Sonatas for Piano: № l (1962), № 2, 3, 4 (1974), № 5, 6 (1992), № 7, 8 (1994), № 9, 10, 11 (1997), № 12 (1998), № 13 (2000), № 14 (2001), № 15 (2002), № 16 (2003), № 17, 18 (2004), № 19, 20 (2005), № 21, 22 (2006), № 23, 24 (2007), № 25, 26 (2008), № 27 (2009), № 28, 29, 30 (2010), № 31, 32 (2011); Concert Miniatures (1970); „Tango for You, Buddies” (1984); Chaconne (1984); „Toccata for All Soul’s Day” (1992); „Hoods after a Torrential Rain” – seven pieces (1992); Nocturnes № 1, 2 (2011).

Piano ensembles: „Welcome With Us” for Two Pianos, Eight Hands (1983); „I Am Walking Over There” for Piano, Four Hands (1998); „I Go down, I Go up” for Piano, Six Hands (1998), Sonata for Two Pianos, Four Hands (1999), „The Horrible Installation” for pianist and three assistants (1999); „Nothing ironical” for seven left hands on one piano (2000).

Vocal music:

Three Songs for Bass and Piano, lyrics by Nikola Vaptzarov (1961); First and Second Cycle of Songs for Soprano and Piano, lyrics by Pencho Slaveykov (1981); Cycle of Four Songs for Soprano and Piano after Peyo Yavorov (1985); „Three Recitations With Singing” for Baritone and Piano after Peyo Yavorov (1992); „Easter”, 9 Songs for Soprano and Piano (2003).

„Choir Book” of 21 a capella canons on traditional texts (1982); Three Songs „Hardly Theatralised” for Choir (1982).

Selected books (published in Bulgarian):

Western Horizons. Music Travel Notes. FRG, France, Holland, the USA (Sofia, 1966); Composition Problems in the Fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach (Sofia, 1968); Polyphony (in co-authorship with Zdravko Manolov (Sofia, 1965); Textbook of Polyphony (Sofia, 2001, with Angel Angelov); Hypothesis on Polyphonic Structure (Sofia, 1970); Composer and Social Consciousness. On the Third Music Practice (Sofia, 1975); On the Theoretical Aspects of Melody. Vol. 1: Analytical Approach to Melody (Sofia, 1973), Vol. 2: Classification of the Melodic Manifestations (Sofia, 1982), Vol. 3: The Melodic Phenomenon (Sofia, 1988); Fundamental Preconditions for Composers Imagination (2009).

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):

Lalova, K. Literature-Theatric and Music-Dramaturgic Aspects of The Playful (Based on the Opera “Game” by Dimiter Christoff) (Sofia, 2002); Chokoeva-Angelova, B. Monologue Statute in Violoncello Works of Dimiter Christoff (Polyphonic Transformations of Structures) (Sofia, 2006); Karapetrov, K. The Tragic Man and His Hell. About Dimiter Christoff (Sofia, 2007).