Yossif Tsankov

composer, public figure

07.11.1911 – 24.10.1971Ruse – Bulgaria

Yossif Tzankov is considered establisher of the modern Bulgarian evergreen pop song. He studied Piano with Nelly Georgieva-Agura and Teofana Kalcheva. He graduated from the Law Faculty of Sofia University in 1939. He composed his first song Come with Me to the Hawaii in 1930, and in 1936 he founded the Tzankov Quartet. From 1937 to 1941 he worked as a composer at the Odeon Theatre in Sofia. During the period he studied Theory of Music and Composition with Pavel Stefanov and Professor Vesselin Stoyanov. In the 1930s he composed operettas for the Odeon Theatre. Concurrently he managed the gramophone record factory London Records (1937-1940). In 1951 he was appointed chief editor at the music section Radioprom (later Balkanton) of the Bulgarian National Radio where he worked all his life. In the 1930s and 1940s he composed hundreds of tangos, foxtrots, rumbas and waltzes. Most of them won huge popularity and were recorded on LP. In the 1960s Tzankov wrote his best songs in cooperation with the poets Dimitar Vasilev and Dimitar Tochev. The performers were among the best singers of the time like Margret Nikolova, Mimi Nikolova, Georgi Kordov, Lili Ivanova, Yordanka Hristova, Pasha Hristova.

He composed film and theatre music, too. After Tzankov’s death, the UBC established a prize in his name.


Stage music:

Maya (1935); Sold Love (1939, Sofia) and Joanna (1940, Sofia), libretto by Vl. Venev (nickname of P. Uvaliev); Draj se, Juji (Come on, Juji) (1943, Sofia) and The Golden Widow (version of The Cheerful Widow) (1945, Sofia), libretto by Bitush Davidov.

Pop songs:
From the 1950s: The Caravan; Sold Love; Homeless Clouds; Sleep, my Little Signorita.

From the 1960s: The Old Songs; Saturday Night; Moe slantze, zasiyay (Shine, Sun); Everithing Was As Before; Doves over Sofia (lyrics by V. Valchev); The Enamoured Mouth Organ; Your Guitar; When the Moon Rises (lyrics by Dimitar Tochev).

Awarded songs:
The Golden Orpheus Festival:
Blow, Wind, lyrics by Dimitar Vasilev, performed by Pasha Hristova (1970, the Golden Orpheus Grand Prix);
My Song, my Love (1967), Homeless Clouds, both performed by Yordanka Hristova;

My Spring, on a poem by Nikola Vaptzarov, performed by Margret Nikolova (third prize, 1971);
The Love of the Ship Boy, performed by Margret Nikolova (1965);
Sea of Youth, performed by Lili Ivanova (1966) (Prize of the public).