Sofia Philharmonic to perform on open air stage

Photo: Rudy Bezhev Maestro Nayden Todorov

Violin Concerto by Johannes Brahms and Symphony No. 3 “Scottish” by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy will be played at the Summer Stage Borissova Gradina in Sofia on 29 July at 8pm. The Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra will perform on the open air stage in the company of violinist Mario Hossen and under the baton of Maestro Nayden Todorov. The event is part of Sofia Philharmonic's summer programme Share the Music.

Two days before that, on 27 July in Varna, the audience will enjoy the same programme in the city's Summer Theatre. This concert is part of the Varna Summer International Music Festival.

The violinist Mario Hossen, who is also the artistic director of the festival, shares: “It is always a pleasure for me to give concerts with the Sofia Philharmonic. And the orchestra's guest-performance is part of the traditions of Varna Summer International Music Festival as well as a special moment for music lovers.”

Johannes Brahms' violin concerto has a long pre-history. It began in the bars and pubs where the young Brahms played the piano, in order to financially support his studies. In one of these places he was noticed by the Hungarian violinist Eduard Remenyi, who was so impressed by Brahms that he offered him a job as his accompanist. In 1853, Remenyi introduced him to another great violinist - Joseph Joachim, who became a long-time friend of the composer and for almost 25 years kept provoking him with the idea to write a violin concerto. The premiere was on 1 January 1879, performed by Joachim and conducted by the composer. Misunderstood by the audience at that time, today it is one of the emblematic pieces of classical music.

In 1829, Mendelssohn went on a visit to England and Scotland. The following year he began writing his “Scottish” Symphony, which he interrupted because of other travels, as - in his words - he could not reproduce the gloomy North under the hot sun of Rome. He finalised it as late as in 1842 in Berlin. Through his music, Mendelssohn expressed his sense of Scottish nature and his ideas about the historical events in these lands. There are no folklore quotes in the music and the composer stated himself: “There is no national music for me! I find the most music in paintings, ruins and nature.”

The violinist Mario Hossen is very familiar to the Bulgarian audience. He lives in Vienna but actively performs around the world and teaches in Bulgaria and abroad. He is a soloist of some of the most famous orchestras.

Maestro Nayden Todorov's conducting debut was at the age of 16 at the Plovdiv Music School. In 1996, he graduated from the University of Vienna as a student of Uros Lajowitz and Karl Yosterreicher, then he specialised in the Jerusalem Rubin Academy under Maestro Mendi Rodan. He completed a master's degree at the New Bulgarian University and became a doctorate holder at the University of London. Since 1998, he has been invited to conduct the Haifa Symphony Orchestra in the North of Israel. Then followed concert tours in the largest cultural centres in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. At the age of 26, he became director of the Plovdiv Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he visited the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. In 2002, he made his debut at Sofia Opera, participating with it at the Solothurn Film Festival, and making his first co-production with stage director Gian Gianotti. Since 2017, he has been the director of the Sofia Philharmonic. Nayden Todorov and the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra played in 2008 at the UNESCO House in Paris, and in 2018 at the opening concert of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council at the Bozar Fine Arts Centre in Brussels. In 2019, they performed also with great success at the Golden Hall of Musikverein in Vienna and in Zagreb. His permanent partners are Raina Kabaivanska, Angela Gheorghiu, Vesselina Katsarova, Sonya Yoncheva, Paul Badura-Skoda, Milena Mollova, Svetlin Rusev, Yuri Bashmet, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Sarah Chang, Maxim Vengerov, Vadim Repin, Julian Rachlin and many others.

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