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  • Summer Academy Koprivshtitsa 2022: Shared magical adventure with Music

    Kristina Dencheva
    4 November, 2022

    Summer is over, autumn is getting more and more beautiful - it's time to tell what happened at the third edition of our certified Summer Academy for Brass Ensembles and Percussion - what was new, what was different, what we will remember fondly. The Academy in 2022 took a significant step forward in its development. The interest in it is growing rapidly - a fact that we from the Brass Perspectives Association have taken into account this year with the expansion of the teaching team and a longer period of preliminary preparation since May.

    To the team of brass instruments from the previous 2 years - Prof. Atanas Karafezliev (head of the Academy and trombone master class teacher), Emil-George Atanasov (assistant teacher of brass ensembles) and accompanist Snezhana Abrasheva - we added a trumpet master class with Peter Makedonski, and the conductor of the wind orchestra of SU "Lyuben Karavelov" Valentin Petkov is now officially an assistant teacher of orchestral difficulties. At the percussion instruments in 2022, we welcomed assistant teacher Snezhina Bogdanova (Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra) and welcomed Antoaneta Balabanova - accompanist at NMU "Lyubomir Pipkov" in Sofia.

    We followed the two traditions established in our Academy:
    The concerts of the Summer Academy were again two.
    The attractive first concert on 26.08.2022 was with solo and ensemble performances by the children from the trumpet, trombone and percussion master classes and lasted almost two hours! An emotional and sunny event.
    The final concert on 27.08.2022 on the open stage between the community center and the First Grade School "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" had its solemn part with the presentation of certificates to each of the participants, applauded tirelessly by the audience. After the performance of the ensembles, a brass band from SU "L. Karavelov" and all the participants in the master classes - over 60 people! The repertoire of the concert was varied and wonderfully performed. And each of the young musicians put their heart into it.

    The second tradition we have followed is to premiere a piece written or arranged specifically for the Summer Academy. In 2020 it was the chamber piece for brass sextet "Shilen Kamen" by Kalina Andreeva, in 2021 Prof. Hristo Yotsov made an arrangement of Koprivshtitsa's hymn "Hubava si, moya goro" especially for the orchestra of SU "Karavelov". For the third edition of the Summer Academy, our colleague Rumen Boyadzhiev gave us an arrangement of one of the most performed pieces by the legend of the Bulgarian school of percussion instruments Prof. Dobri Paliev: "Pravo Horo" for xylophone. The piece premiered at the closing concert, performed by seven young soloists from the music schools in Sofia, Pleven and Burgas and the collective wind orchestra of the Academy.

    The process of post production of the recording made by the magnificent cameraman Dobrin Keresteliev is currently underway. Both concerts will soon be available on the YouTube channel of the "Brass Perspectives" Association.

    And now we give the word to teachers...
    The Summer Academy 2022 through the eyes of Prof. Dr. Atanas Karafezliev - its initiator and leader: "I am extremely happy that for the third time we manage to make our summer event so important and useful both for culture and music education in Koprivshtitsa, and for the development of musical pedagogy for brass and percussion instruments in Bulgaria. The Academy is successful in several aspects – first, because this year the event attracted a record number of participants; secondly, because we were able to expand the master classes of the Academy with a pilot class for trumpet and thirdly, because we - the teachers - noted the great leap in the development of all participants of the Summer Academy so far. Little by little, over three years, the Koprivshtitsa Academy has turned into a five-day musical celebration for all students of brass and percussion instruments - their smiles and enthusiastic mood show it.

    The biggest leap in its development was shown by the brass orchestra of SU "Lyuben Karavelov", which in a very short time managed to prepare and present a new and very ambitious concert program, including works from world orchestral classics. I will especially mention the extremely good performance of "Bolero" by Maurice Ravel. The accompaniments of the soloists - brass and percussion - were at a very high level, and this is a test for any orchestra. The municipality of Koprivshtitsa can only be proud of its brass band and its musical talents. We at "Brass Perspectives" are doing and will continue to do everything possible to maintain the traditions and continue the development of this process!"

    As. Dr. Petar Makedonski: "The Summer Academy for Brass Ensembles and Percussion 2022 was a shared magical adventure full of energy for both the students and their teachers. These days of shared music, work from morning to night and new lessons leave a bright mark in the memory of each of us. I am grateful to the organizers in the person of "Brass Perspectives" for the invitation to lead the trumpet master class. The idea to create a similar project in such a place as Koprivshtitsa in the revival is wonderful. The small peaceful town was filled for a week with children and teenagers from three music schools: NMU "Lyubomir Pipkov" in Sofia, NUI "P. Pipkov" in Pleven and NUMSI "Prof. Pancho Vladigerov" in Burgas and students from the NMA "Prof. Pancho Vladigerov". Together with the students at "Lyuben Karavelov" Secondary School in Koprivshtitsa, they filled the city with life and music. The brass band is one of the jewels and modern emblems of the city!

    The program and repertoire of training in the master classes were intense and thought out perfectly. Super kids, super place! We had a fruitful time, spent from morning till night in rehearsals and lessons. The group that I had the honour to lead was full of talented and motivated children, who I am sure will one day be part of the Bulgarian music scene and make us famous around the world. The opportunity to work with the youngest students (4th grade) and the oldest (first year student at the Music Academy in Sofia) was an interesting combination of different playing styles and characters. The motivation of the youngest, who came at 9:00 and left tired but with a smile at 10:00 p.m., was an inspiration to me too! I met such young and ambitious children during these few days in Koprivshtitsa. The opportunity to rehearse in the beautiful old First Grade School "St. Cyril and Methodius", created in 1846, helped us feel that tireless spirit of enlightenment. Rehearsals with the school's brass band were one of the most interesting and useful things for us - to hear each other as a collective orchestra and to show all that we have learned together. I hope to meet again! Thanks!"

    The percussion teaching team Radosvet Kukudov and Snezhina Bogdanova:
    "This was the second year in which a master class on percussion instruments was held within the framework of the project. 2022 brought together 20 participants aged 7 to 16. Besides the four children from Koprivshtitsa, there were participants from music schools in Sofia, Pleven and Burgas. Within five days, the children played various solo works, worked in chamber ensembles, played games, tried delicious dishes and felt the revival energy of Koprivshtitsa. The work was intense, fruitful and invigorating thanks to the diligence put in by the children and the teachers.

    Both concerts went well. The performances of the little musicians were met with interest and pleasure by the audience. This, along with all the other experiences during these five days, was the reason why the children now want to participate in the Academy in 2023 as well. Thanks to the Municipality of the city and Mayor Boyka Dyulgiarova for their hospitality and cooperation! We hope that next year's Summer Academy will be even better and more successful! Thank you, Koprivshtitsa!”

    And instead of a conclusion: Beyond the musical magic and the many friendships that the event created and strengthened, we will also remember 2022 with something that brought a special charm to the revival spirit of Koprivshtitsa: the names of the participants. We had the proto-Bulgarian names of Kubrat, Krum, Samuil (even two!) and Antim, filled with history and symbols, the biblical David, Luke, Paul (Pavel in BG version) and Peter (as well as Kamen - the Bulgarian version of this name). We had wonderful Old Slavic names such as Dobromir, Radoslav and Yaroslav, the royal Constantine, Viktor and Alexander, names of herbs and spring flowers and many other names of wonderful talented, hardworking and happy children. They say that our name gives us our special path in life, our destiny ... we are sure that for all the children from our Academy it will be filled with lots of music and sunshine!

    So we wonder what awaits us next year?
    Well, that's what we'll find out from August 21 to 27, 2023. 🙂

    Photo credits: Gergana Bogdanova, Kristina Dencheva
    Photo album percussion master class - follow the link

    Translation in English: Tsvetelina V. Georgieva
    The article is available in Bulgarian and in Dutch
    Translation in Dutch: Ruben Vermeulen

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