Petar Liondev

composer, pedagogue, ethnomusicologist and public figure

12.07.1936 - 11.06.2018Harmanli – Bulgaria

Prof. Petar Stefanov Liondev is a Bulgarian composer, pedagogue, ethnomusicologist and public figure.

He graduated from the State Academy of Music in 1961 majoring in Folklore Studies under Professor Stoyan Djudjev and in Composition under Professor Alexander Raychev.
At the Academy of Music, Petar Liondev also studied harmony with Prof. Parashkev Hadzhiev, polyphony with professors Asen Karastoyanov and Zdravko Manolov, orchestration with Prof. Marin Goleminov and musical forms with Prof. Veselin Stoyanov.

He worked at the Institute of Musicology (the today’s Music Department at the Institute of Art Studies) at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for over 32 years. He noted down over 40,000 traditional songs and instrumental melodies. He is the author of a number of articles and scientific works in the field of Bulgarian musical folklore, including: “Musical folklore from the village of Bulgarin, Harmanlii region”, “Songs recorded with Hurmusian neumes in the 20th century”, “111 authentic Thracian folk songs”. “111 folk songs from the Kyustendil region – co-authored with Petar Peshev”, “Lado formation processes in the Thracian folk dance instrumental melody”, “Metrorhythmic directions of the Thracian folk dance and instrumental melody”, “Ornamental stereotypes in the Thracian folk dance instrumental melody” etc.

Prof. Petar Liondev is also a university teacher at the universities: Sofia, Shumen, Veliko Tarnovo, Blagoevgrad and Plovdiv. He is a guest lecturer at the Belorussian State Pedagogical University “Maxim Tank” as well as at the Lviv National University “Ivan Franko” (Ukraine).
Since 1992, he has been a member of the Swiss Copyright Agency “Suiza”.

He is the author of over 700 children’s and choral works for the youngest, which are very popular and have been repeatedly awarded at competitions and festivals: 7 awards at the “Let’s sing together” radio contest, 8 awards at the “Sweet-drinking lark” contest, the grand prize for the year 2001 of the “Golden Rooster” and others.
In 2011, the men’s choir from Ljubljana performed the song “Ergen deda”, for which it received an award at the International Choir Festival in Varna.
Many of his works have been awarded prizes from the competitions: “Million Miracles”, “Balkan Choir Competition”, “Let’s Sing Together” of the BNR (7 prizes), National Children’s Song Competition in Burgas – “Sladkopoina Chuchuliga” (8 prizes, including the grand prize in 2000 for the song “Igrata e takava”).
Winner of the “Golden Rooster” grand prize in 2001. for the song “Chudo ta golemo”.

In 1986, he was awarded the Order of Cyril and Methodius, 1st degree.
He became the winner of the “Dobri Chintulov” award for literature and art at a solemn ceremony in the city of Sliven in 2011.
A biographical book as a composer and musicologist is being published for his 50th anniversary.

In 1981, Berlin TV broadcast a film about his work and with his participation.
Performers of his songs include the American jazzman Chuck Curia, sax quartet “Apollo”. His song “Kaval Sviri” was included in the CD of the Swiss producer Marcel Sellier, who won a “Grammy” in 1989.

Since 1964 Prof. Liondev is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Composers as a musicologist and composer. He was on the management board, and in the period from 2011 until 2014 he was the chairman of this organization.

From 2000 to 2006, Prof. Liondev was the chairman of the accreditation committee at NAOA.

The best of Petar Liondev’s work is printed in the song collections “Selected Songs”, “House for Songs” and “The Magic Carpet”, as well as songs in his two gramophone records “Songs for Everyone”, “Captain Racho” and the audio cassette ” Laughing captains”, CD (jointly with K. Stefanov), “Balkan passions”, “Christmas songs” and others. In 2008, Petar Lyondev released a CD with author’s songs “Wait for me, sea”, and the songs on the disc were performed by the group “A Kamerton”.
Prof. Petar Liondev wrote songs for a women’s folk choir performed by the Chorus of the “Mystery of Bulgarian Voices”: “Moma voda nosi”, “Traka, traka, stanche”, “S gaida na horo”, “Sedenkarska”, “Thy- so”, “Vocalize and Dance”, “Merry Chorus”, “Ay, Cheers”.

For a male choir, the composer wrote: “Rifle burst”, “Sechenata”, “Shopski Lazar”, “Male chorus”, “Dalnina”, “Starsko horo”.

Two of the most performed choral songs of the composer Petar Liondev – “Ergen deda” (written in 1975) and “Kaval sviri” (written in 1979) were included in the CDs of the Swiss producer Marcel Sellier and became popular worldwide over the years. The song “Kaval Sviri” won the prestigious Grammy Award in Los Angeles in 1990.

These songs are widely popular worldwide and have been performed by over 80 choirs from around the world, including: Bucknell University Choir USA, French Traveling Choir (Le Choir De Vayageur), Gurt Lush Choir from Bristol, England, New Zealand Nelson Women’s College, Ohio University Women’s Ensemble, Montreux Cherry Hill College Women’s Choir, Bloomington Augustana Choir, Elina Dooney Quartet from Greece, Golden Horns Quartet perform “Kaval Sviri” , the choir from Italy “Notevolmente” – the song “Kaval Sviri”, choirs from Sweden, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, USA – choir “Buknel”, Slovenia, Serbia, France, Germany, Japan, China, Russia, England, Kosovo , Croatia, Cyprus, Yugoslavia, Australia.

In August 2017, the singer Lady Gaga posted a video on her Instagram profile with the song “Kaval sviri”. The video is part of the autobiographical documentary about the pop singer.



Choral songs:

For female voices choir:

Ergen Deda (Old Bachelor) (1975); Kaval Sviri (Kaval Sounds) (1979); Sedenkarska (Working-bee Song) (1980); Moma voda nosi (A Maiden is Bringing Water) (1983); S gayda na horo (With A Bagpipe at a Dance) (1987); So, So, So (1988); Horovodna (1988); Cradle of Joy (1988); Vocalise and Dance (1991); Moma hubava (Beautiful Maiden) (1994); Jalba za Lazara (Lament for Lazar) (1994); Cheers! (1994); Malki momi lazaritzi (Young Maidens) (1994); Oy, Christmas! (1994); Vesela pripyavka (Cheerfully Singing) (1995); Traka, traka stanche (A Small Loom) (1996); Capital Sofia (1997); Ogreyala mesechina (Shining Moon) (1999).

For male voices choir:

Pushka pukna (Gun Fired) (1978); Sechenata (1980); Lazar of the Shopps (1980); Majka pripyavka (A Male Song) (1981); Dalnina (Distance) (1982); Starsko Horo (1983).

For mixed choir:
Aluger’s Wedding (1980); Fair (1986).

For children’s choir:

A Little Drum (1975); Good-bye, Summer; Captain’s Isle (1976); Forest Musicians; Blue and Golden (1977); Bird Songs – a cycle (1981); Tika-taka (1986); Turmoil (1987); Something Strange Happened (1987); A Kite and a Sparrow (1999); The Rules of the Game (2000).

Songs for the youngest:

A Horse-Rocket (1975); Captain (1976); The Ten Fingers (1976); The Little Duck Is Angry (1976); Konche-Vihrogonche (My Lovely Horse) (1976); Sparrow and Feather (1977); The Bathtub of the Ant (1978); Ten Sea-Horses (1978); Locomotive (1978); Hitrusha (A Sly Girl) (1978); Snowman (1978); Captain Racho (1979); Festive Cake (1980); Thank You, Mum (1981); Little Sparrow of the Plant (1981); Here Is the Sea (1983); Little Song with “la” (1983); Home Computer (1985); The World Upside Down (1985); Piki, Piki (1988); Wait for Me, Sea (1989).

Works for traditional music orchestra:
Fair (1976); Folklore Dialogues (1977); Southern Dialects (1978).


Selected books (published in Bulgarian):


Nikola Atanassov (Sofia, 1963);
Georgi Goranov (Kyustendil, 1964).

Studies and articles:

Music Folklore from the Village of Bulgarin, Region of Harmanli (1962);
Songs That Have Been Written Down with Hurmusiev Neums in the 20th Century in Bulgaria (1967);
Vazov and Bulgarian Music (1970);
Unequal Rhythmic Pulsation of the Structural Elements in the Thracian Traditional Instrumental Melody Forming Processes (1983).

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):

Panayotova, Liliana, Dagmar Tzolova. Peter Liondev. Bio-Bibliographical Study (Sofia, 1987).