Lubomir Denev

composer, conductor, jazz pianist

12.09.1951Vidin – Bulgaria

Lubomir Denev is composer-conductor and piano-improviser. His musical interests date from his childhood, when he began teaching himself in violin and accordion. From 1965 he continued his education at the High School of Music in Sofia, graduating the percussion class (under prof. Dobri Paliev) in 1971. As a schoolboy L. Denev played drums in an orchestra, making his first attempts in composition and arranging in the field of the pop-and-jazz-music. From 1973 to 1979 L. Denev is student at the State Musical Academy in Sofia, majoring in composition (in the classes of prof. Tsv. Tsvetanov and prof. Par. Hadjiev) and orchestra conducting (under prof. Konstantin Iliev).

During his student’s years L. Denev makes his name as an original and active jazz-pianist and composer, forming his own jazz-trio and taking participation in several International Festivals (Chechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Cuba, Romania, Germany, Portugal, Yugoslavia). Still being a student, in 1977 he wins the position of conductor at the State Musical Theater, where he works untill 1986, realizing on the stage a number of classical operettas and contemporary musicals. His background includes also courses in conducting under Franco Ferrara (1980 – Siena, Italy) and Edward Dawns (1981 in Hilversum, Holland), and in composition with prof. Anatol Vieru (1995 in Rousse, Bulgaria). In 1983-84, L. Denev traveled to the United States under the Cultural Exchange Program, where he became closely acquainted with musical productions on Broadway and the work on film music in Hollywood, and performed as a jazzman.
After 1986, L. Denev is a freelance composer and conductor, often invited by the best symphony orchestras in Bulgaria – in Ruse, Burgas, Varna, Plovdiv, etc. With the SO of the BNR, he made premiere performances and recordings of a number of new Bulgarian works. His international activity includes recordings with the Symphony Orchestra of the Greek Radio and TV and two CDs for the American company CONCORD-Records (1996 and 1998), gives solo jazz recitals in Paris, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, etc. In the period 2008-2009, he was invited by the Ministry of Culture of Bavaria to the International Cultural Center Villa Concordia, where he created, gave lectures and gave concerts.

As a composer Denev works in all musical genres: chamber and symphony music, pop-and jazz, as well as for the theater, TV and cinema. His music was performed in many countries of Europe, in Mexico, India, Russia, Egypt, USA, Canada and Japan. Other international activities include a Tour in Cairo with the musical Love’s Labors lost” (1989) – performed by Bulgarian Chamber Opera and a Premiere in Paris (May 1993) of the musical “The Law of the Jungle”. The latter has received one of music’s major honors in Bulgaria – the award “SOFIA” (1989). He also won the First Prize at the festival “Golden Orpheus” for the pop-song “Before Dawn” (1979) and the award for theater-music in 1999 (Foundation “D. Valchev”) for the ballet “Homo Ludens”, premiered by “Arabesque” – ballet and for his musical “Alice”. The latest recognition for the composer is ASKEER 2001 – the most prestigious Theater Music-Award (for the musical “Yesterday”) and in 2002 he was awarded IIId price from the International Composers Competition for choral music in Jihlava-Czechia for his cycle “By the Spring” and also IIId price from the Balkan competition for the song “Silvia” (on Shakespeare’s sonnet) for female choir. Another International Award was adjudged to the composer in 2003 for his chamber piece “PLAYING WITH THE WIND” in Potsdam, Germany, from the Festival INTERSONANZEN. In February – 2005 he won the Award in the competition for a piano music “BOESENDORFER” (Bulgarian National Radio) for “HYMNS of the SUN”. 2006 – FILM-Music AWARD Golden Chest – Plovdiv for SPARROWS in October. L. Denev is also holder of CRISTAL LIRE for BEST JAZZ-performer 2006. 2009 – Concerto Nostalgico for sring orchestra was awarded by International Competition SOFIA SOLOISTS.

Bulgarian National TV produced 2 films, dedicated to L. Denev’s artistic activity: “The Music I Make” (Dec. 2000) and “Smart Village” (Aug. 2005). He is a member of the UBC and the Bulgarian section of the International Society for New Music (ISCM).


Scenic works:

1. Tomorrow at 10 – the first Bulgarian rock-musical (1983)
2. Alice – musical (1988) based on L. Carol’s book
3. Love’s labors lost – musical on Shakespeare’s comedy (in English) – 1986-89

4. The law of the jungle – musical (1989) on Kipling’s Jungle book
5. Yesterday – musical, commissioned by the National Theater of Youth – Sofia, (2000-2001) Premiere – 1st Feb.2001 (libr. by St. Mavrodiev)

6. Cain – Chamber opera based on Byron’s mystery (in English) – 2001

Symphonic works:

1. Concert music for percussions and orchestra (1986)
2. Concerto for improvising piano and orchestra (1991)
3. Homo Ludens – Symphonic variations for cello and orchestra (1996), commissioned by Bulgarian National Radio
4. Vox Balcanica – Rapsody for Symphony Orchestra (2001)
5. Fairy-Tale for Symph. orch. (2003)
6. Symphony Colors of the night (2008)
7. Divertimento grosso for Big band & Symph. orch (2015)

Chamber works:

1. Graphics for 3 Flutes (1979)
2. String quartet – (1980)
3. Night music for Piano and Winds (1980)
4. Two miniatures for String orchestra (1981)
5. Sonata for Piano (1983)
6. Sonata improvvisata (1992) – for Wind quintet with Piano
7. Sonorata for 2 pianos (1993)
8. Le piano mechanique – for piano & Tape (1995)
9. Charms for Flute (and Percussions) 1997
10. Free for three (1998) – for Clar., P-no & Perc.
11. FLU=Feeling Less Unhappy (1999) – miniatures for Clar.,Vn,P-no & Dbass
12. It’s impossible – for Vn.,Mar & D bass (1995) a number of piano-pieces (see Discography)

13. Sound flux for piano (1998)
14. Playing with the wind – for Fl., Cl., Bsn., Vn., Vc. P-no (2002)
15. Variations “GANEF” for 2 pianos (4 performers) – 2004
16. Funky Talking for Double bass and Piano (2007)
17. Balkan sonds and Landscapes (2018)
18. Emoticons for piano (2016)

Music for films:

1. Like marked atoms – 1979 (dir. Gr. Ostrovski)
2. Pure monday – 1980 (dir. Em. Tsanev)
3. The father of the egg – 1991 (dir. H. Koulev)
4. Les jens d’enface – french-spanish production – 1993 (together with B. Thiriet)
5. Magic ’81 (TV-film) – 1994 (dir. A. Avramov)
Several cartoons
6. Mdme Dinozawr – 2002 (dir. H. Koulev)
7. The Bird – 2004 (dir. G. Kraleva)
8. There was a war (2018)


A number of songs for children, pop-songs, jazz and choral works etc.

Discography, Editions:

1. Lubomir Denev jazz-trio – LP, ed. by BALKANTON1979, includes: Suite for jazz-quartet, Ballade about the river, Trite puti, Pastorale

2. The jazz-hour – LP ed. by BALKANTON ВТА 12276 1988, includes: The jazz-hour, Remebrance of feelings past, Tear jerker, Lost efforts

3. Tomorrow at 10 – musical, ed. by BALKANTON BTA 11250 1983
4. Looking east – electronic music from Bulgaria – CD ed. by Erdeklang -Hamburg. Includes: Submarine life, Piano-Deformations
5. The father of the egg – audiocassette with the film-music, ed. by Megabul 1991
6. Dialogue with myself – CD ed. by BALKANTON (070176) 1996, includes piano-works: The swinging pianist, Sonata, The player-piano (Le piano mechanique), Sonorata, Biography of a flower

7. Yesterday – musical – CD, released by National Youth Theater (2001)
8. Selected songs from musicals – score, ed. by “LYRA” – publishing house (1995)

9. Vox Bulgarica – CANADA, collection of bulg. Folk-songs, contains in Vol I Aide, Maro; in Vol II – Zaidi mi, Zaidi & Jetva se zajena

10. The Blue Book – Jazz-themes (Melani)
11. Three songs for voice and piano (Mountain flowers, Barbara, A letter from a bird)
12. FOUR scores, published by DA VINCI editions 2018:
Free for three – Trio for clarinet, piano and percussion
Dumba lumba – for percussion duo
Emoticons for piano
Two songs for mixed choir on lyrics by J. Joyce – Strings in the air, Play on, invisible harps.