Georgi Atanassov

composer, conductor

6.05.1882 – 17.11.1931Plovdiv – Bulgaria

Maestro Georgi Atanassov belongs to the first generation of Bulgarian composers; he founded the opera genre in Bulgarian music. He started studying music at the age of 15 at the Bucharest School of Music, where during two years he studied Music Theory, Trombone and Piano, made his first compositions and played the trombone in the city’s opera orchestra. He returned to Bulgaria in 1898. Three years later (in 1901) he went to Italy, where he studied Composition under Pietro Mascagni at the Conservatoire of Pesaro, Italy (1901-03) and graduated as Maestro di Musica. Upon return, he served as bandmaster in Haskovo, Karlovo and Plovdiv (1903-14) and later as bandmaster of the Orchestra of the Guards in Sofia (1914-20; 1923-26) and at the Military School (1920-23; 1926-31). He also conducted the Sofia National Opera Orchestra (1922-31). The 97 symphonic concerts with the Orchestra of the Guards, given in the 1920s, made a name for himself as the leading conductor of the period. He made possible for the Bulgarian audience to get acquainted with works from the WestEuropean and Russian symphony music, as well as with works by Bulgarian composers such as Symphony N1 by Nikola Atanassov (1928) or the First Piano Concerto by Pancho Vladigerov (1920), the piano part being played by the composer himself.
He composed six operas (inspired by the Bulgarian national folklore and history), among which Gergana was the most popular in the 1940s. He also composed the first Bulgarian operetta for adults, staged at the Sofia National Opera, various songs and five children’s operettas, which enjoyed great popularity; marches; medleys for wind orchestra; 10 arrangements for voice and orchestra; 5 pieces for piano.


Stage music:

Borislav after the play by Ivan Vazov under the same title (1911);
Gergana after The Fountain of the White-Legged Maiden by Petko Slaveykov (1916);
The Abandoned Water-Mill (1922);
Macedonian Blood Wedding (Tzveta) after Macedonian Blood Wedding by V. Chernodrinski (1924);
Kossara (1926)
and Alzek (1930).


Moralists (1916).

Children’s Operettas:
The Ill Teacher (1909);
About the Birds (1911);
The Fairy Spring (1911);
The Little Hero (1915);
The Golden Maiden (1920).

Zemyata Nam e Otredila (Our Lot), etc.

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):
Sagaev, Lubomir. Maestro Georgi Atanassov (Sofia, 1960).