This project was created after a collaboration with “The Project Trio” in NYC, 2018. I was deeply inspired to create music that is different in its own way and yet, comprehensive for the contemporary audience.
Jivko Vasilev is one of the most popular kaval performers across Europe. His musical style ranges between a few centuries, from folklore to jazz to latin and contemporary music of the 21st century. Jivko and I met at the end of 2017 and established “The Bulgarian Project” shortly after, in 2018.
The Kaval is an ancient instrument used mostly in Bulgarian folklore music, and the flute has evolved to being used in all styles of music, including contemporary. The combination between these two instruments illustrate a bridge between two centuries of music, blending together in unique sounds.
Our goal with the project is to revive the greatest and most memorable Bulgarian folklore songs, arranged for our ensemble – flute, kaval, piano.
The Deepest Desire
by Jake Heggie is a four movement song cycle for soprano, flute and piano based on a true story of a nun and her path to spirituality.
The colorful duets between the flute and soprano accompanied with the piano, plus the innovative use of the flute’s techniques was very intriguing to me. I gathered the ensemble together in 2016; it consists of Linda Collazo, soprano, Markus Kaitila, piano and myself on the flute.
We made our debut on stage in 2016, followed by numerous performances at different venues and festivals around New York City in 2017.
“Histoire du Tango has come to be one of today’s most popular compositions for flute and guitar. Its four movements–Bordel 1900, Cafe 1930, Nightclub 1960, and Concert d’aujourd’hui –portray, as its title suggests, different stages in the historical development of this distinctly Argentinean musical form. The work was published by Editions Henry Lemoine in 1986.”
Caryevsclii, Jorge. “A Closer Look: Astor Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango.” Flutist Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 4, 2018
We chose The History of the Tango by Piazzolla as it not only represents the historical movement of that particular dance through music, but it also features the full range of each instrument. Although a chamber composition, in this piece both instruments are exposed as soloists many times throughout the piece. Each movement challenges the performers with a variety of rhythms, sudden tempo and key changes which implies exploring different colors and tembres.
Boyan Doychev and I performed as an ensemble back in high school in our home town Varna, Bulgaria, 2005. After many years of separation, we gathered together in 2018 to combine our new ideas, creativity and gained experience to create this new project.
I have always been interested in diversity in music. Although I am a classically trained musician, I enjoy exploring new sounds, and creating unique projects in collaboration with talented musicians across the globe. Dr. Yoder and I realized the potential in combining our instruments, a bass guitar and a flute and created the Jazz Duo in Arkansas at the end of 2012.
“In a Sentimental Mood” is one of the most popular jazz standards, written in 1935 by Duke Ellington. It has been arranged and performed in many ensembles during those years but never performed by only flute and bass. This is one of the reasons we chose this particular composition and arranged it for the ensemble at the beginning of our collaboration.
We made our first debut for the Arkansas’ Public Library, followed by numerous other events/festivals in the state between 2013-14. Our repertoire included some of the well-known jazz standards, as well as Dr. Yoder’s original compositions.
An Idyll for the Misbegotten by George Crumb was written in 1985. The composition features the flute as representation of “the voice of nature” that needs to be heard. The flute in this particular piece is a solo instrument among three percussionists using a full range of their instruments who constantly interrupt the “voice” of the flute. Crumb’s extensive use of uneven rhythms and extended techniques challenges each performer to use their full capacity and range of their instrument.
It was an absolute privilege to be invited to participate in this project. We made the debut of the piece in the Spring of 2017 in LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens, NYC.
The video was taken by phone from an audience member.