Alexander Morfov

composer, perfomer, public figure

13.01.1880 – 19.04.1934Plovdiv – Bulgaria

Alexander Morfov graduated from the Bulgarian Catholic College in Edirne where he studied Flute. In 1902 he graduated from the Military School in Sofia. He taught there (1904-22). He retired in 1922. He took part in the Balkan wars (1912-13) and in the First World War (1914-18). He was among the founding members of the Union of Bulgarian Popular Choirs.

He was one of the pioneers in the Bulgarian choral music and founder of the Bulgarian military choral song. He was Violist and violoncellist. Creative and versatile, he was also poet, publicist, painter, sculptor, woodcutter, carpenter and photographer. He created a new kind of flute manufactured by the Italian company Ramponi and a new instrument called Orphein with a timbre similar to the one of the viola and the violoncello.

Alexander Morfov is the author of more than 40 military marches and patriotic songs; songs for male and mixed chorus; one liturgy; solo songs and with piano accompaniment, etc. The song “Damnyan tanets vodi” is among the classic examples of Bulgarian choral music. “Baba Minkovtza” and the ballad “Semeyni” are considered to be classic works in the Bulgarian choral tradition. He wrote the lyrics for most of his songs as well as the libretto for the opera The Abandoned Mill by Maestro Georgi Atanasov.


Military marches:

We Will Win (1900);
Farewell March (1904);
Arrival March (1906);
Beware, Bulgaria! (1913);
Rise, Freedom Star (1923) and others.

For mixed choir:

Macedonian Shepherd;
Damyan horo vodi (Damyan Leads the Dance);
Rasli tikvi (The Pumpkins Grow);
Razboynitzi (Bandits);
Baba Minkovtza (Grandma Minkovtza);
Semeyni (Married People) – a ballad.

Four four-voiced men’s choir:

Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):
Krastev, Venelin. Alexander Morfov (Sofia, 1962);
Morfov, Bogdan. “Is It an Eagle, Mother…” Biographical Novel about the Work of Alexander Morfov (Sofia, 1983).