Nikolai Badinski

composer, violinist, musicologist

19.12.1937Sofia - Bulgaria

Nikolay Badinski was born on 19.12.1937 in the city of Sofia. His first violin lessons were at the age of 5. His first concert appearances and his first attempts to create his own music were also at an early age. He graduated from high school (school “Todor Minkov” in Sofia) with full honors in all subjects and was accepted to the University of Sofia with majors in mathematics and engineering sciences, but then he was also accepted to the Bulgarian State Conservatory (today the National Academy of Music “prof. Pancho Vladigerov”). Thus, after many years of dichotomy between mathematics and music, he devoted himself entirely to the latter. In 1961, he graduated from the National Academy of Music with composition under Prof. Pancho Vladigerov, violin under Nedyalka Simeonova, and after her death under Vl.

Since 1962 he has been living in East Berlin at the invitation of the GDR (in 1976 he emigrated to West Berlin) and works as a soloist-violinist, composer, docent, founder and leader of a string quartet, concertmaster. In 1970, he completed the master class in composition at the Academy of Arts in Berlin under Rudolf Wagner-Regeni. He also received particularly important impulses for his future work as a composer through intensive studies with the theater and the theories of Bertolt Brecht, as well as from personal contacts with the legendary opera director Walter Felsenstein and the composer Boris Blacher. In 1971 he was invited as a visiting professor at the universities of Stockholm and Copenhagen. In 1975 and 1976 he received scholarship awards for the composition master classes of Luigi Dallapiccola and Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. He repeatedly participated with scholarships from DAAD (Germany) in the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt, where he worked with Ligeti, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Christobal Halfter, etc., as well as leading seminars; there he also participated as a performer in premiere performances of his works. He is the winner of first prizes in significant international composition competitions such as “Vioti” (1977), “K. Stockhausen” (1978), the International Symphonic Music Prize (1978, Trieste, Italy), the Rome Prize “Villa Massimo” (1980-81), the Paris Prize (1982) and others. In 1982 he was an assistant to Max Deutsch at the Sorbonne and L’Ecole Normale de musique in Paris. He was repeatedly invited to work in electronic music studios in Cologne (Germany), Utrecht (Netherlands), Venice, Paris and Padua. In 1985, he was invited for half a year of creative work at the Center for Studies in Venice. In 1981-82 and 1985-86, as a scholarship holder of the French government, he lived and worked in Paris. In 1987 he was invited as composer-in-residence at the Djerassi Foundation in California and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship. Visiting professor at Stanford University, USA as well as at other universities and colleges in the USA, Asia (e.g. Shanghai) and Europe.
Since 1983, he has been a member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Literature in Paris. He is a co-founder of the “Initiative Neue Musik Berlin”. Since1977 freelance Contributor to the BBC, London. 1997 he have been elected by The International Board of Research in The American Biographical Institute for “Man of the Year”.
He is the author of more than 230 works – for orchestra (3 symphonies and many others), for various chamber ensembles (“Life – above the war”), for organ and for almost all instruments, concertos for various instruments and orchestra, ballets ; vocal-instrumental (Oratorio “Reflections of Wisdom” based on Latin sentences, Requiem “Seven Memorial Stones – in Memoriam of the Victims” for Human Voices & String Orchestra, cantatas and many others), electroacoustic and computer music. Other more significant works from his “musical universe” are: 4 concertos for violin and orchestra, “A Bulgarian in Berlin”, “Ruins under Sofia”, “Mass for Bela Bartok”, “Homage to Stravinsky”, “Apparition of Levski”, “Shanghai Impulses”, “Meetings of Infinities”, “Heavenly and Earthly – Dream Apparitions of the Goddess Athena”, “The Drunken Bat – Surreal Encounter with Johann Strauss and Johann Sebastian Bach” for orchestra, “Vitality and Fragility” “, the cycle “Enigmas around the ‘New World’ no more”, “Abstract paintings”, “Alariafonii in New York”, “Movement” – a poem for bass and orchestra based on text by B. Bozhilov, “Ocean…Feeling…Visions…” , “Lost in Chekhov’s Universe”, “Ode to Free Thinking”, “In Memoriam Marcel Proust & Luigi Nono”…

His works are published by the world-leading music publisher Universal Edition (Vienna, New York, London). In his music, N. Badinski uses a rich palette of expressive means and compositional techniques. More or less veiled influences from Bulgarian, generally Eastern European folklore and sacred music, as well as new sonorous (sound) constellations in his work lead to a specific, characteristic combination of archaic and modern elements. His music was also highly appreciated by world-famous luminaries such as composers Jörd Ligeti and Jörd Kurtág, musicologists Karl Dalhousie and H.H. Stuckenschmidt. It is performed by notable soloists and ensembles such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berlin State Chapel, the Dresden State Chapel, the German Radio Symphony Orchestra in Baden-Baden, the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Samerata Academica Salzburg, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the State Russian Philharmonic in Yekaterinburg, Arditti String Quartet London, Philharmonia Hungarica, Choir of Radio France. Many author’s concerts with his music have been held – e.g. in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Salzburg, Venice, San Francisco, Stockholm, Baden-Baden, Philadelphia, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Sofia, Zurich, Padua, Lisbon, etc. He has delivered more than seven hundred reports and lectures on Bulgarian music and culture in many countries of Europe and America. Numerous LPs and CDs of his music have been released. His ballet “The Storm Can’t Break the Reed” recorded with the internationally acclaimed Orchestra of the State Opera “Unter den Linden” in Berlin was released on LP and CD for UNICEF. Films have been made about and to his music. His book ..ZWISCHEN DEN KLAENGEN.. (BETWEEN THE SOUNDS) was published in Germany (Pfau publishing house, Saarbrücken). His articles are published in different countries.


Stage music:
The Storm – ballet in three acts for young people (1972, 1973, Berlin);

Martialphony for 12 voices (with action) after Epigrams by M. V. Martialis (1975; 1984, Paris);

Music to a Psychological and Fantastic Choreography (1983-86; 1987, Berlin).

Vocal and instrumental:
“We are still here, the Sun is turning on…” Cantata for medium voice/clarinet/vibraphone, French horn and trombone, after Salvatore Quasimodo (1970);
Wise Thoughts for choir and orchestra (1983-84).

Music for orchestra:
Symphony N2 ”AaAaN” (1978);
Knock at the Exit (1981-82);

Concert suites:

N1 and N2 from the ballet The Storm (1972).

Violin Concertos:

Concerto N2 (1971-72);
Concerto N3 (1971-72).

The Songs of Orpheus for solo violin and imaginary orchestra (1987).
“The Infected Bat” – a surreal meeting with J. Strauss and Bach (1991-92); “Enlightenment” for violin, orchestra and candles (1992-93);
“Signals” for 8 trumpets and orchestra (1993-94).

Works for string orchestra:
Youth (1973);
Glory to Stravinsky for violins (1978-79) (I version for 12 solo violins; second version for string orchestra);
Seven Memorial Stones in memory of the Holocaust victims (1997);
Impulses for 3 trumpets, 3 trombones and string orchestra (1999; space version – 2002).
Triptych for violin, percussion and string orchestra (Violin Concerto N1) (1970-71);
Secret Structures for string orchestra and bassoon/bass clarinet/tube (1982).

Chamber Music:
Glory to Bach Concerto for harpsichord, flute, bassoon, oboe, clarinet, 2 violas, French horn and violoncello (1977);
Ruins Under Sofia Octet for clarinet, bassoon, 2 French horns and harpsichord (1972); Violated Silence Sextet for flute, French horn, violoncello, viola and clarinet (1976);
Moscow Quartet for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon (1969);
Glory to Bela Bartok for string quintet (1978);
“Oh, Happy Man, What a Marvellous Horn and What a Beautiful Melody…” after poems by Petrarch, for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and piano (1981);
Sublime and Terrestrial for celesta, French horn, viola and violoncello (1997);
Berlin Divertimento for flute, clarinet and cembalo (1968);
Picture for trio viola, French horn and violoncello (1975);
Attempt to Communicate for oboe/clarinet and bassoon (1978-79);
Interchange for Three Players on the Seine (1981-82);
Relations for violin, piano and orchestra (1982-83);
Thing of Samuel Beckett for French horn, violoncello and cembalo (1987);
Jesus Christ for viola, French horn and cembalo (1995-96);
Sonatina for two violins (1966);
Sonata-conversation for flute and bassoon, lyrics by Fransois Villon (1967);
Piece for piano and violin (1968);
Preltan – two pieces for viola and piano (versions for viola/violoncello and piano, viola and French horn, violoncello and cembalo, viola, French horn, violoncello and cymbal (1973); Scripts for flute and piano (1981);
Stone Reflections for trombone/French horn/tube and piano;
Four sonnets for solo clarinet after lyrics by Beher (1969);
Dialogues for solo viola (1973);
Lateo for double bass (1973);
5-1 Euphoria for double bass (1974);
Facinus 1 for flutes (1977), 2 for oboes (one musician) (1982);
Quotidian 1 for violin solo (1977);
Five Images through the Window for one musician-percussionist after James Joyce (1997).

For piano:

Five pieces for piano on a dodecaphonic series (1968);
Yugi (Play) for 4 hands (1980);
The Secrets of the No More New World (1984-86);
The Other Christmas Music (transcendental messages).

For two pianos:

Himalayas God (1990);
Crystals (1999-2000).

For five pianos:

Decipio 3 Claviriada in 3 movements for 5 pianos (concerto for piano and orchestra of pianos) (1977-78).

For piano and instruments:

Fragility and Vitality (2000).

Vocal music: Amekdil (Symphony N1) for soprano (1967);

Song for soprano and piano after lyrics by Erich Kaestner (1969);
Poem for bass and orchestra, lyrics by Bojilov (1969);
Piece for soprano and piano, lyrics by Vogelweide (1975);
The Woman for voice and piano, lyrics by Maurer (1975);
The Smoothness of Sea for soprano and percussion, lyrics by Pasolini (1984-86);
Six capriccios for baritone and piano, lyrics by Federico Garcia Lorca (1991).

For organ:
Differences – album (1975-76);
Stay in My Life (Saint John: 15,9) for organ (1993);
From Master’s Legacy – cycle for organ and 3 trombones or other instruments (1998).

Electroacoustic and electronic music:
For 2 variable Groups and Tape (1974).

Decipio 1 for double bass and tape /or for 4 double basses/ (1976);

Decipio 2 for oboe and tape or for 5 oboes and caw bells (1977);
Decipio 4 for trombone and tape or for 5 trombones and voices (1978);
5 Reflections on Texts and Songs by Solomon for solo violin and imaginary orchestra/tape/string instruments (1979-80);
6 In Memory of Marcel Proust and Luigi Nono (Saxophoniade) for saxophone and tape/12 saxophones (1995);
7 Harpiade East-West for solo harp and imaginary orchestra of harps (tape or 32 harps) (1990);
8 We Are Like a Flash of Lightning for bassoon and tape (3 bassoons and double bass) (1995-96).

Amekdil (Symphony N3) Temporary Situations for big orchestra – CD, LP.

For imaginary orchestra:

Visualised Dreams for 4 imaginary orchestras (1979-82);
Three Expressions for soprano and imaginary orchestra/tape, lyrics by Malkovsky, Filombe, Volken (1981);
Capriccio for St. Francesco for baritone and imaginary orchestra/tape (1981-82);

Infinities’ Approaching for enlarged instruments and tape (1982);
Six Orpheus Songs for violin and tape (1988-89).

Electroacoustic pieces:

Rotation (in memory of a Cosmonaut) (1974); Sevtopol (1974); Phoenix (1974); Thoughts about Dostoevsky (1979); Memory of Kafka (1979); Meeting Orpheus (1979-80); H2O Music (1980); Music With Paper (1980-81); Airmusic (1980-81); Ro-ma-vi-lla-ma-ssi-mo (1981); Musical Visual Correspondence II (1981-82); Electroacoustic Dance (1984-85); Electroacoustic Scherzo (1984-85); Rite, Endless Figure, Kukeri and Bagpipes – electroacoustic pieces in quadraphony (1983-85); Psalm for Freedom (1983).

Music for computer:

Imaginary Trio (1980); Venetians (1984-85).

Choral music:
Choral music for a capella choir:

Bestiarium, after Guillaume Apollinaire (1976);
Maria from the cycle of Bible names for choir (1994).