Benzion Eliezer

composer, pedagogue, conductor

8.09.1920 – 19.09.1993Sofia - Bulgaria

Benzion Eliezer graduated from the State Academy of Music in 1953.

He studied Composition under Professor Parashkev Hadjiev and Conducting under Professor Assen Dimitrov. As a student, he played the alt saxophone at the Jazz Ovcharov Orchestra (1946). From 1955 to 1960 he conducted the Pop Music Orchestra at Radio Sofia and in 1955 realised the first radio concert of pop music made up entirely of works by Bulgarian composers.

A year later he was appointed conductor of the newly created orchestra at the Theatre for Satire in Sofia and he worked there up to 1958 (in 1960 from this orchestra emerged the Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio).

He was among the composers who laid the foundations of the Bulgarian pop music. He focused his energy on shaping a national style using elements of the Bulgarian folklore tradition. In that respect, a very interesting composition is the Fantasy for piano and jazz orchestra, which quotes the Bulgarian folkdance Buchimish throughout. He was appointed assistant professor (1964) and full professor of Harmony (1970), and was twice elected Deputy Rector (1972-86).

He wrote works for symphony, string, traditional music orchestra; music for piano and orchestra; pieces for chamber and instrumental ensembles; pieces for piano; songs – children’s songs, pop and jazz songs; theatre music. He also made over 250 arrangements of traditional songs.


Works for symphony orchestra:
Dobroudja Suite (1956).

For jazz orchestra:
Fantasy for piano and jazz orchestra (1962).

Works for string orchestra:
Sinfonietta (1975);
Piano Concerto.

Chamber Music:
Little Suite for flute, clarinet and bassoon (1952).

For violin and piano:
Sonatina (1954);
Five Pieces (1980).
Sonata for bassoon and piano.

For piano:
Four Sketches (1950);
Theme with Variations (1951);
Sonata (1952);
Sonatina (1956);
Four Concert Studies (1962);
Five Pieces.

Pop songs:
ZUM, ZUM, ZUM (1958);

I-Ha-Ha (swing);
Cheerful Game;
Star Rain (1960);
Where Winds Go (1965);
Soldiers’ Names (1967);
Evening over the Eagle’s Bridge (1967);
“Birds from the Blue South”, performed by E. Markova;
Spare the Last Dance For Me (1968) (performed by the Shturtzite);
Miracle, lyrics by D. Damianov (first prize at The Golden Orpheus Festival, 1982).

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):
Zenginov Dimitar, Dora Pencova. Benzion Eliezer. Bio-bibliographical Study (Sofia, 1984).