Yosif Cheshmedjiev

composer, choir conductor, musical folklorist

08.12.1890 - 28.04.1964Skopje - present Republic of Macedonia

Yosif Cheshmedjiev studied music with At. Badev in Thessaloniki. In 1899, he entered the Bulgarian Theological Seminary in Constantinople and studied various brass instruments under Aksenstein, the conductor of the Sultan’s Brass Orchestra. He leads a student brass band and writes his first compositions. From 1909 he studied composition at the Leipzig Conservatory under S. Krell, M. Reger and H. Riemann. From 1913 he was successively a high school teacher in Vidin, Yambol (1914-20) and Sofia (1920-27; 1930-32). Model teacher at DMA (1921-24). Collaborator-recorder of folk songs in the “Folk Music” department at the National Ethnographic Museum (1928-31). Music editor of the newspaper “Macedonia” (1925-33) and editor of the music library “Pantheon” (until 1934). He directed the Macedonian mixed choir “Shar” (since 1926), the mixed choir “Yunak” (since 1933). There is a wide educational activity for musical literacy among the Turkish population in Bulgaria.

As a composer, Yosif Cheshmedjiev works mainly in the field of choral song. He writes children’s and school songs, songs for a mixed choir, arrangements of Macedonian and Turkish folk songs, etc. He is the author of 2 symphonies and pieces for orchestra; instrumental pieces; songs for voice and piano; popular and pop songs, etc.

He is the author of singing textbooks, articles on Bulgarian and foreign composers and in the field of musical folklore.


Stage music:
“The Secret of Vardar” (1918);
“Meglena” (1924).

Ballet-pantomime “50 years of the First Sofia Girls’ High School”, libr. R. Koleva.

Works for symphony orchestra:

Symphony No. 1 (1912, unfinished);
Symphony No. 2 (1923);
6 symphonic poems;
4 plays;
7 paraphrases on folk songs.

Chamber Music:
String Quartets: #14.

Vocal music: 6 songs for voice and piano.

Choral music:
Author collections of songs for mixed and uniform choir:

Bulgarian Macedonian folk songs:

52 for mixed and uniform choir (1926).

Macedonian folk songs:

19 for single choir (together with Z. Lazarov and P. Vladigerov, 1952);
18 for mixed and uniform choir (1955).

“Ilinden” 1905-53: 36 revolutionary for single choir (1953).

14 Turkish Songs for Single Choir (1955).