Diko Iliev

composer, conductor

15.02.1898 – 20.11.1985Karlukovo, Lukovit – Bulgaria

In 1911 he enrolled as a music student at the wind orchestra of the 16th Lovech Infantry Regiment in Botevgrad. He was member of the orchestra of the Military School in Sofia (1919-20). After the WWI he resigned and played occasionally at wedding parties in the region of Vratza (1920-31). From 1931 to 1958 his activity was connected with the orchestra of the 36th Kozloduy Infantry Regiment. In 1948 he was appointed its conductor, a post he held up to his retirement. He also conducted the wind orchestra at the House of Culture in Oriahovo and founded several wind orchestras in the region of Vratza and Montana.

Diko Iliev is a unique phenomenon in Bulgarian music culture. He composed his first traditional dance for wind orchestra – the well-known Iskarsko Horo – aged 19.
His traditional dances (the pravo horo) for wind orchestra won huge popularuty and are now considered to be contemporary examples of the North-Bulgarian traditional dances of this kind. He wrote his most popular traditional dances and marches from 1931 to 1941 when he worked together with Weiner, a Czech bandmaster employed at the garrison orchestra in Oriahovo.

Diko Iliev also wrote other kinds of traditional dances (elenino horo, daychovo horo, samokovsko horo, kokoniak, rachenitza, etc.), about 20 marches, potpourri of traditional songs, etc.


Traditional Dances (Horo):
Dunavsko; Iskarsko; Dobroudjansko; Alexandriika; Bukiovo; Gankino; Our Pride; May Flowers and other.

Men from Sliven at Drava and others.

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):
Scientific conference on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Diko Iliev’s birth (Vratza, 2003).