Dimitar Nenov

composer, performer, pedagogue, publicist, architect

19.12.1901 – 30.08.1953Razgrad – Bulgaria

Dimitar Nenov belongs to the second generation of Bulgarian composers. He was among the founding members of the Contemporary Music Society (1933) and was his first secretary and cashier. He was among the leading figures of the intellectual elite of Bulgaria, emblematic not only to the Bulgarian music, but also to the Bulgarian culture as a whole due to his varied interests and his music and social activity. He studied Piano with Professor Andrey Stoyanov. In 1920 he went to Dresden (Germany) where he studied Architecture at the Technische Hochschule. Concurrently, he studied Piano with Karl Fehling and Theory and Composition with Theodor Blumer and Paul Bitner at the Dresden Conservatoire. From 1925 to 1927 he was Music Director of the Thea Jolles Ballet. In 1927 he graduated in Architecture and returned to Bulgaria. He worked for a while as architect at the Ministry of Public Construction, Roads and Urbanisation (1927-30) and at the Railways Directorate (1929-32). He specialised Railway Service Buildings Architecture in Italy (1932). During these years, he was active as an architect.

By the early 1930s he devoted himself entirely to music. In 1931 he specialised in Piano with Egon Petri in Zakopane (Poland). In 1932 he graduated in music in Bologna (Italy). In the mid-1930s he managed a private Conservatoire in Sofia. He taught piano (1933-35; 1937-43). In 1943 he became full professor of Piano at the State Academy of Music. Simultaneously with his pedagogic activity he made proof of his qualities as a publicist and critique by defending his aesthetic principles and high spiritual and professional values. He actively contributed to the work of the Contemporary Music Society. For two years he worked at Radio Sofia (1935-37). Being its first music director, he helped the overall organisation of the music life in Bulgaria in the 1930s and 1940s.

He was among the most distinguished Bulgarian pianists. He gave concerts with success not only in Bulgaria, but also in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland and other countries. In 1937-47 he formed a piano trio together with the violinist Hristo Obreshkov (later replaced by Petar Hristoskov) and the violoncellist Konstantin Popov. This ensemble performed with great refinement works in a variety of styles. He gave chamber concerts with the violinist Vladimir Avramov and Konstantin Popov; he also accompanied Bulgarian and foreign performers.

He composed works for symphony orchestra; vocal-instrumental opuses; piano pieces, etc. His music expresses his original vision of the creative processes, which should harmoniously combine the artist’s personality with the contemporary ideas and the Bulgarian national tradition. His music served as a model to Bulgarian composers of the next generations willing to start new trends in Bulgarian music.


Choral-orchestral works:
Symphony Poem Christmas for soloists, mixed choir and symphony orchestra (1938-39);
Symphony Suite “Thrace” for soprano, female voices choir and orchestra (1940).

Works for voice and orchestra:
Fatherland – five poems for high voice and orchestra, lyrics by Dora Gabe (1933-39);
Five Harvest Folksongs (1937);
Six Folksongs for high voice and orchestra (1938);
Five Songs for soloists, female voices choir and orchestra (1950).

Works for symphony orchestra:
Symphony N1 (1922);
Poem (1923);
Ballad (1924);
Four Suites (1924-25);
Rhapsodic fantasy (1938-1940).
Concerto for piano and orchestra (1936).
Ballads for piano and orchestra: N1 (1942); N2 (1943).

Chamber Music:
For piano:

Six preludes (1921);
Sonata (1921);
Sonata (1922);
Six pieces for piano (1922-27);
Rondo (1922);
Cinema Suite (1925);
Theme with Variations (1931);
Two studies (1932);
Toccata (1939);
Dance (1941);
Miniatures (1945);
Fairytale (1946).

For violin and piano:

Sonata (1921).

Vocal music:

Nine Songs for high voice and piano (1922-24);
Na dacha (At the Datcha) – song cycle after poems by Elisaveta Bagriana (1931-33).

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):
Dimitar Nenov. Memoirs and Materials (compiled by Lazar Nikolov) (Sofia, 1969);
Avramov, Ivan. Dimitar Nenov (Sofia, 1981);
Nikolov, Lazar. Memoir about Dimitar Nenov (Sofia, 1987);
The 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Dimitar Nenov (Bulgarian Musicology, 2000,1); Smilkov, Romeo. Dimitar Nenov Piano Works from the First Half of the 1930s. Theme with Variations in F Sharp Major (Sofia, 2002).