Emil Tabakov

composer, conductor, public figure

21.08.1947Ruse – Bulgaria

Emil Tabakov graduated from the State Academy of Music in 1978 majoring in Double Bass under Professor Todor Toshev, Composition under Professor Marin Goleminov and Conducting under Professor Vladi Simeonov. He conducted the Ruse Philharmonic (1976-79), the Sofia Soloists Chamber Ensemble (1979-87). Conductor (since 1985), Principal Conductor (1987-2000) and General Music Director (1994-2000) of the Sofia Philharmonic. From 1994 to 2000 he was Artistic director and conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 2000 he has been conductor in Ankara and Artistic director of the New Year Music Festival in Sofia.

He was Minister of Culture in 1997.

He was prizewinner at the Nikolay Malko Young Conductors Competition in Copenhagen (1977). As a conductor, he made his name with a rich repertoire ranging from Classicism and Romanticism to Modernism. He recorded for the Bulgarian companies Balkanton, Mega Musica and Gega New, as well as for Elan (USA), Capriccio/Delta (Germany), Pentagon (Netherlands), etc. works by Gustav Mahler (complete symphonies), Johannes Brahms (complete symphonies and overtures, German Requiem), Richard Strauss (Alpine Symphony), Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (Sheheresade), Alexander Skriabin (complete symphonies), Ludwig van Beethoven (complete piano concertos), Bela Bartok (Concerto for orchestra, The Wonderful Mandarin), Giuseppe Verdi (Requiem), etc. With the Sofia Philharmonic he toured Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the UK, the USA, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. He was guest conductor with orchestras in Germany, Brazil, California, Japan and South Korea.

As a composer, he showes an affinity to large-scale works. He composed in a variety of genres: two ballets; a requiem; six symphonies and other works for symphony orchestra; concertos and concert pieces; chamber instrumental works; solo and choral songs, etc. A number of his works were released on CD; several were awarded and presented the Bulgarian music abroad (in Austria, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Australia, the USA, Canada, etc.).


Website: Emil Tabakov


Stage music:

Sashka (1967);
Elena from Pristina (1969).

Choral-orchestral works:
Cantata “Great Tarnovgrad – 1396” (1975).

Requiem for soloists, choir and orchestra (after Latin texts) (1992-93).

Symphony concertante for violin, vibraphone, marimba, bells and mixed choir (1996).

Works for symphony orchestra:

Symphony N1 (1981); Symphony N2 (1983); Symphony N3 (1987); Symphony N4 (1998); Symphony N5 (2000); Symphony N6 (2002); Symphony N7 (2004); Symphony N8 (2009); Symphony N9 (2015); Symphony N10 (2017).


Starry Music (1976);
Astral Music (1978);
Ad Infinitum (1990);
Concert Piece (1988).


Concerto for Orchestra (1995);
Double Bass Concerto (1975);
Percussion Concerto (1976);
Concerto for Violin, Percussion and… Mixed Choir (1995);
Concerto for two flutes and orchestra (2000);
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2003);
Concerto for cello and orchestra (2006);
Concerto for viola and orchestra (2006);
Five Bulgarian Dances (2010);
Concerto for four drums and orchestra (2011);
Concerto for Marimba, Vibraphone, Drum and Chamber Orchestra (2015).

Works for string orchestra:
Concerto for 15 strings (1979);
Concert Pieces for trumpet and strings (1985);
“Adagio” (2017);
“Dedication” for solo viola anf string orchestra (2018).

Chamber Music:
Study for 12 double basses.

Sonatas for:

viola and double bass; double bass and piano; piano.

Motifs for double bass;
Prelude for solo violin;
Improvisation for solo clarinet;
Imaginations for solo flute.

Selected literature on him:
Krastev, Venelin. Emil Tabakov (Sofia, 2000).