The TNT Duo continued their first season together with a New York City concert debut performance at Symphony Space’s Leonard Nimoy Thalia Hall. They presented a program featuring works by Bulgarian and American composers, who found their inspiration in the traditional Bulgarian music.
The duo performed Robert S. Cohen (b.1945)-- Five Nights in Sofia for Violin & Piano: Gypsy Bacchanale, Midnight Girl, Dancing Snowflakes, Mourning Bells, Banitza Bang; Milcho Leviev (b.1937)-- Sonata for Violin & Piano - New York Premiere; Pancho Vladigerov-- Poem, Op.7 - New York Premiere, and Rachenitza, Op. 18 - New York Premiere.
The TNT Duo presented an exciting selection of modern works for violin and piano influenced and inspired by Bulgarian folk music. Its asymmetrical rhythms are unique to the region and lend the music its dance character. Defined by Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist Bela Bartok as Bulgarian Rhythms they are used in the works of many contemporary composers. Vladigerov, Leviev, and Cohen all wrote the pieces presented in this program during their stay in Bulgaria. The young artists Tania Stavreva, piano & Teodora Dimitrova, violin (The TNT Duo) presented this hour-long program without an intermission.
After a fun collaboration in the spring of 2011 at Waltz-Astoria Cafe (New York) violinist Teodora Dimitrova and pianist Tania Stavreva decided to put a recital program together. With Teodora Dimitrova's return to the USA in the winter of 2012, the TNT Duo was officially formed in March 2012. Even though they started working together more closely less than a month ago, the dynamic duo already made significant appearances at major venues such as the Bulgarian Consulate General and Steinway Hall in New York. On March 18th the TNT duo made their New England Recital Debut at Boston's 1st Church Unitarian Universalist. Their debut program features an unique mix of Bulgarian music written in the 20th and 21st century. Their repertoire ranges from Baroque to Contemporary styles and they plan on bringing back to life new and old undiscovered Bulgarian music treasures.
The WWFM classical radio (www.wwfm.org/), will record the concert! One of its hosts, Bill Zagorksi, is very knowledgeable and excited by Bulgarian music and artists. Portions of the concert and interview with the artists will be broadcast afterwards!
Present at the event were the Bulgarian Consulate in New York- Lubomir Grancharov and Boyan Belev- the Acting Permanent Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United Nations. They were proud of the great performance of the artists.
Comments after the concert:
"Dear Violeta, Bravo! I hear that the concert was wonderful! On Behalf of everyone at Symphony Space, it was a pleasure working with you. We hope you’ll considering with more beautiful music” Patricia Sinnott, Booking Director, Symphony Space, April 9, 2012
Teodora Dimitrova “ Thanks so much everyone who came and supported me at the concert last evening! It was such a delight playing for you the music I love so much and sharing the stage with Tania Stavreva.”
Teodora Dimitrova-Marinoff and Tania Stavreva
“Many thanks for all the hard work and dedication to our presenter - the amazing Violeta Jeliazkova ¦”
MORE PHOTOS from the event see on: http://www.centermadara.com/photoAlbum.htm
Program Notes by ROBERT S. COHEN
Several years ago, I spent a week in Sofia, Bulgaria attending a performance of a work of mine by the Sofia Opera Chorus & Orchestra. While there, I was approached by the Bulgarian violinist Maria Evstatieva to compose a piece for violin & piano. It was during that stay that I also had the good fortune to hear the Bulgarian National Radio Children's Choir perform. I was so taken with the music I had heard - much of it based on Bulgarian folk songs - that it inspired me to integrate a number of those traditional Bulgarian melodies, with their often complex rhythms, into my new work - using them either literally, or, as the basis for developing my own tunes. In addition, since I tend to work programmatically, I used my observations and experiences while in Sofia as the narrative for each of the work's movements. They are as follows:
Five Nights in Sofia
1. Gypsy Bacchanal - He was a big bear of a Romani man - King of the Gypsies. He spoke to me of Herdeljezi, a festival celebrating the seasonal renewal of life.
2. Midnight Girl - She was standing alone in front of a neon sign. The ghostly color reflected in her sad eyes.
3. Dancing Snowflakes - In Bulgaria there is a game for children call "Winter" in which one child is winter and the others are snowflakes. The snowflakes dance and the winter sings.
4. Mourning Bells - It was dark when the funeral ended and the setting sun set the golden dome of the church aglow as the bells began to toll.
5. Banitza Bang - The "Banitza" - a traditional Bulgarian cheese pie - can be found almost everywhere. At a local hangout, the Banzita's were flying as the boisterous crowd sang traditional Bulgarian songs.
As a final note, I'd like to say how fortunate I am to have the immensely talented TNT duo of Tania Stavreva and Teodora Dimitrova performing this work.
Described by the critics as "exceptional, entrancing, fun!", "a fully formed and fearsomely talented pianist" and "bold, dynamic, magnificent!", "the Bulgarian-born piano dynamo" (Time Out New York) Tania Stavreva made her Carnegie Hall debut in April 2009. Ms. Stavreva has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kosciuszko Foundation Auditorium, Steinway Hall, New York Public Library and the CSV Cultural Center in New York where she was featured live on NY1 News by NBC reporter Asa Aarons. She has performed also at the Grammy Museum Theater in Los Angeles, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, National Ethnographic Museum in Bulgaria, Cathedral San Lorenzo in Italy, and the Ruinekerk in The Netherlands.
This season the young pianist also made her acting debut with the Onomatopoeia Theater Company in The Tempest by William Shakespeare - an off-off Broadway modern adaptation directed by Thomas Gordon. In July 2011 Tania Stavreva's multimedia performance titled Rhythmic Movement took place at the Metropolitan Room in NYC where for a first time she performed body painted, connecting the music of Erik Satie to the work by artist Danny Setiawan. Rhythmic Movement was immediately featured live on NY1 News by the TV media arts reporter Stephanie Simon. She is also one of the first pianists of her generation to present modern style classical music to younger audiences at such rock club venues as Webster Hall in New York and Paradise Rock Club in Boston.
Ms. Stavreva is a regular participant at numerous summer festivals, including the International Holland Music Sessions, International Keyboard Institute & Festival in New York, New England Conservatory’s Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance, Pianofest in the Hamptons, Music Fest Perugia in Italy and Varna Summer International Music Festival in Bulgaria. She has appeared also with the Boston Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Perugina under conductors Bruce Hangen and Enrico Marconi. Tania Stavreva is a graduate of the "Dobrin Petkov" National Music School in Bulgaria, where she studied with renowned pedagogue Rositsa Ivancheva. She went on to earn her Bachelor's Degree from Boston Conservatory, where she was a full scholarship recipient and the winner of the 2005 Chamber Music Honors Competition, the 2006 Lee Piano Scholarship and the 2007 Piano Honors Competition. www.taniastavreva.com
Bulgarian violinist Teodora Dimitrova has been a solo artist with numerous symphony orchestras and appears in recitals throughout Europe and the US. She has been featured on and recorded for the Bulgarian National Radio and Television.
Ms. Dimitrova's repertoire covers a wide range of styles, unlimited by the standard violin repertoire. She actively plays Bulgarian and other Eastern European music, and regularly presents contemporary works to her audience. Some works premiered in Europe and the US by Ms. Dimitrova include “Horon” by Turkish composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun, “Fledermaus Fantasy” by American composer Judith Shatin, Somei Satoh’s “Birds in Warped Time II” and William Bolcom’s Second Sonata for Violin and Piano.
In the past season Ms. Dimitrova presented with great success in NYC her recital program "Orient Express: from Paris to Istanbul". Depicting a musical travel from Western to Eastern Europe, the project featured composers from France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
An active orchestral musician Ms. Dimitrova has been a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra (Switzerland) and Symphony in C (NJ) for the past several years, where she has worked with conductors Kurt Masur, Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Rossen Milanov and Paavo Jarvi among others. Ms. Dimitrova has appeared in concerts at the Berlin Konzerthaus, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall.
Besides performing Ms. Dimitrova is committed to teaching violin to talented young children in New York City. A violin faculty at the Church Street School of Music and Art she has also served as orchestra mentor at the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School.
Ms. Dimitrova received both her Bachelor’s and Master's degrees from the Juilliard School as a student of Masao Kawasaki. A recipient of the Dorothy Delay full scholarship at Juilliard, Ms. Dimitrova plays on a violin awarded by the Raina Kabaivanska Foundation.
Robert S. Cohen has written music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, dance and theatre and has been the recipient of numerous awards and commissions, including a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship, an American Music Center Grant, a Meet the Composer Award and several grants from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. His String Quartet #2 (A Day in the Life) was the winner of the 2011 International NE String Quartet Competition and his Mysterious Transformation of Johann B. for clarinet & percussion was the selected winner of the 2008 N.Y. Composer's Circle Award. His Alzheimer’s Stories for soloists, chorus and large ensemble, published by C.F. Peters, was commissioned and premiered by the Susquehanna Chorale in 2009, most recently performed by the San Antonio Symphony MasterSingers and will be receiving performances throughout the U.S. and Europe during the 2012-2013 season. His Five Nights in Sofia for violin & piano was recently premiered at Symphony Space in NY and his Of Eternity Considered as a Closed System for soloists, chorus and orchestra was premiered at Carnegie Hall and also performed by the Bulgarian Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Other recent works include: Dream Journal for brass quintet; Genesis Part I: Creation & Part IV: Noah for soloists, chorus, brass & percussion; The Homeland Security Suite for percussion (published by HoneyRock Music); Edison Invents for baritone and orchestra; a ballet, Tiktaalik and the choral works: Sleep, Little Baby, Sleep (published by Hal Leonard), Three Spirituals, Dusk, Night Cadence, Christmas Eve, Sprig of Lilac, Ode to a Toad, Sing with me, Ho Hosanna and Peter Quince at the Clavier.
In addition, Bob co-authored the book and composed the score for the 2000 Richard Rodgers Award winning Off-Broadway musical Suburb. Bob received his A.B. in music from Brown University; his M.A. in Composition from Queens College; and was enrolled in the doctoral program at Columbia University. He currently lives in Montclair, NJ with his wife Maryann and two cats, Fred & Ginger. His website is www.robertscohen.com.
Award winning jazz pianist, composer, arranger, conductor and educator Milcho Leviev graduated from the State Academy of Music as a composition student of renowned Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov. Even his early works very successfully fused folklore and jazz, a synthesis that proved to be particularly pronounced in his later music. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons. Since then, he has achieved artistic success abroad. He was allowed to perform in Bulgaria not earlier than 1980. As a composer and pianist at the Don Ellis Orchestra and the Billy Cobham Band (1971-77) Mr. Leviev toured the USA and Europe. Since 1983 he has been music director of the Jazz Sessions at the Comeback Inn in Venice, California. Having written numerous symphony , chamber, big band and jazz orchestra music, Leviev has had his works recorded by Balkanton, Columbia, Atlantic, ABC among others. Mr. Leviev has won a prize at the National Jazz Educational Congress, a Grammy Prize for arrangement, and the Honorary Gold Medal of the Academie internationale des Arts in Paris (1995). Currently, Mr. Leviev teaches Jazz Composition at the University of Southern California. www.milcholeviev.net
Arguably the most influential Bulgarian composer of all time, Pancho Vladigerov was one of the first to successfully combine idioms of Bulgarian folk music and the Western music tradition. Among the founding members of the Bulgarian Contemporary Music Society he marked the beginning of a number of genres in Bulgarian music. Born in Switzerland, but living in Bulgaria, he played the piano and composed since early youth. At age 13 he moved to Berlin and enrolled at the Hochschule for Musik to study composition and piano. In 1920 he graduated from the Academie der Konste as a composition student of Georg Schumann. A two-time winner of the Mendelssohn Prize of the Academy he worked for Max Reinhardt at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin before returning to Sofia in 1940. Vladigerov was appointed a professor at the State Academy of Music, which posthumously was named after him. He composed works in a variety of genres, including opera, ballet, symphonic music, five piano concertos, two violin concertos, chamber music; 50 folksong concert arrangements for voice and piano/orchestra; 20 songs for voice and piano; 10 choral songs with piano/orchestra. The world got acquainted with Vladigerov’s work in the 1920s when his pieces were published by the Universal Edition Publishers in Vienna and were released by the Deutsche Gramophon In 1969 he was awarded the Gottfried von Herder Prize. Now there is an international competition for pianists and violinists held in Bulgaria with his name.
Robert Cohen (b.1945)
Five Nights in Sofia for Violin & Piano (2010)
«He was a big bear of a Romani man - King of the Gypsies. He spoke to me of Herdeljezi, a festival celebrating the seasonal renewal of life»
«She was standing alone in front of a neon sign. The ghostly color reflected in her sad eyes»
«In Bulgaria there is a game for children call "Winter" in which one child is winter and the others are snowflakes. The snowflakes dance and the winter sings»
«It was dark when the funeral ended and the setting sun set the golden dome of the church aglow as the bells began to toll»
«The "Banitza" - a traditional Bulgarian cheese pie - can be found almost everywhere. At a local hangout, the Banzita's were flying as the boisterous crowd sang traditional Bulgarian songs»
Milcho Leviev (b.1937)
Sonata for Violin & Piano (1957) - New York Premiere
Pancho Vladigerov (1899-1978)
Poem, Op.7 (1919) - New York Premiere
Rachenitza, Op. 18 (1925) - New York Premiere
By Violeta Jeliazkova