Dimitar Petkov

composer, public figure

04.05.1919 – 20.12.1997Smolian – Bulgaria

Dimitar Petkov graduated from the State Academy of Music in 1952 majoring in Composition under Professor Vesselin Stoyanov and Conducting under Professor Assen Dimitrov. In 1953-54 he specialised in composition at the Moscow Conservatoire under Aram Hachaturian and polyphony under Sergei Skrebkov. He worked as bandmaster at the Army Ensemble. He was twice Director of the Sofia Opera (1954-1962; 1975-78). He was appointed first secretary of the Bulgarian Embassy in Prague (1963-68); vice-president of the Art and Culture Committee (present-day Ministry of Culture) (1980-82); vice-president of the National Committee for Bulgarian-Soviet Friendship (1983-88).

From 1972 to 1980 he chaired the Union of Bulgarian Composers.

He composed stage music; oratorios, cantatas and suites for soloists, choir and orchestra; suites for symphony, chamber and traditional music orchestra; chamber pieces; over 1,000 choral and children’s songs, film music. Some of his songs based on traditional tunes from the Rhodope region and several lyrical songs were included in the representative repertoire of several Bulgarian choirs. During the last years of his life he composed church music for mixed and women’s choir performed and awarded at the competition for new liturgical chants Let’s Be Better (1995, 96).


Stage music:

Opera: The Silent Bells (1985).
Operetta: Restless Hearts, libretto by B. Balabanov (premiered at the State Music Theatre in Sofia, 1976).

Children’s Operettas:
Pathway, libretto by E. Vidlichki (premiered in Montana, 1956);
The Landlord of the Ice Cavern, libretto by D. Tochev (premiered in Kazanlak, 1978).

Choral-orchestral works:
Rozhen Comes Down from the Rhodopes for soloists, mixed choir, children’s choir and symphony orchestra, words by Vladimir Bashev (1966);
You Are in Our Eyes, Pioneria – children’s oratorio for soloists, reader, children’s choir and symphony orchestra (1980).

Cantatas (multi-part and one-part):

For mixed choir and symphony orchestra:
Legend of September 1923 (baritone solo), words by Kr. Penev (1953);
Friendship Cantata for soloist, mixed (men’s) choir and orchestra (or three-voiced choir and piano), words by Nikolay Zidarov (1955);
Communists (bass solo), words by St. Etarski (1966);
Cantata for Our Fatherland (1972);
Cantata for Paisii (bass solo), words by N. Valchev (1973);
Olympic Cantata (1973);
Festive Cantata (1974);
Cantata for the Partisans from the Anton Ivanov Squad (soloists), words by N. Valchev (1978);
Requiem for Jelio Demirevski (soloists), words by Georgi Strumski (1982) and others.

For male choir and symphony orchestra:
Sailor’s Requiem (mezzo-soprano solo), words by Nikolay Zidarov (1967).

For children’s choir and chamber ensemble:
The Children from Yastrebino (soloists, reader), words by Nikolay Zidarov (1975).

Suites for choir and symphony orchestra:

For mixed choir:
Suite based on his music to the short film The Fruit of Our Land (1953);

Love (soloists), words by Nikolay Zidarov (1977) and others.

For children’s choir:
Pioneer’s Heart (soloists), words by Nikolay Zidarov (1952);
Sparkles of October (chamber ensemble), words by Nikolay Zidarov (1971).

Works for symphony orchestra:

Music to dance shows:
Rachenitza (1949); Thracian Suite (1949); Mummers’ Dance (1950); Shepherds (1951); Krakoviak (1951); Women’s Dance (1953), Chapraz (1953); Suite of four folksongs (1955); Rachenitza from Ruse (1955) (wind orchestra version by N. Tzonev, 1979); Brigade (1959); Rhodope Suite (chamber ensemble) (1966).

Works for wind orchestra:
Rhodope Suite (1966).

Works for traditional music orchestra:
Thracian Dance (1951); Bulgarian Suite (1953); Pravo horo (1958); Ludoto horo (1969).

Chamber Music:
Miniatures from the Rhodopes for string quartet (1955). Three polyphonic pieces for flute, clarinet and bassoon (1953). Romance for flute and piano (1973); Song for bassoon and piano (1976).

For mixed choir:
Our Party Is a Sun; Communist Song; Nostalgy, lyrics by S. Rumiantzev; Rositze, rusa devoyko (Rositza, My Fair Lady) (soprano solo); Petruno mome (Maiden Petruna); Delyu haydutin (Delyu the Rebel); Za shtok ma, maycho, izkuti (Why, Mother); Momne le, balno li ti e (Are You Sick, Young Lady); Gizdi sa, kichi, Todoro (Adorn Yourself, Todoro); Mother’s Song (soprano solo);

Cycle of three songs:
Days without Songs; You Came Back; Nightingales Sang to me All Night, on poems by Pavel Matev.

Cherub Song (1995).

For female voices choir:
Mesechinko lyu, greylivka (Hey You, Shining Moon); Eyes, Eyes. Church music: Tebe poem; Yako da tsarya (1996).

For male voices choir:
Yana; Niko, My Daughter and others.

Selected literature on him (in Bulgarian):
Panayotova, Liliana and Kichka Stoykova. Dimitar Petkov. Bio-Bibliographical Essay (Sofia, 1979);

Pavlov, Evgeni (Klostermann). Dimitar Petkov (Sofia, 1987).