Highlight 2023


Every year from June to September Varna becomes the musical capital of Bulgaria with “Varna Summer” International Music Festival. Only three years away from its 100th anniversary, this is one of the oldest festivals of this kind in Europe. Plenty of concerts with music, ranging from Baroque to modern, present both proven masterpieces and newly discovered or rarely performed pieces. Famous Bulgarian violinist Mario Hossen is the artistic director of this magnificent festival.

If the visiting orchestras and big ensembles measure the value of a festival, some of the highlights should be mentioned – Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra lead by Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Wiener Akademie with Martin Haselboeck starring John Malkovich, Sofia Philharmonic with the solo clarinetist of Berlin Philharmonic Wenzel Fuchs as a soloist, London Gospel Community Choir. There are four ensembles that will bring the beauty of German, Polish, Portuguese and Italian Baroque to Varna from 9th to 12th September – J.S.Bach interpreted by Mario Hossen and Piero Barbareschi, Wrocław Baroque Ensemble, Cete Lagrimas and I Solisti Veneti.

The opening night of the 2023 festival edition will bring together Varna State Opera Symphony Orchestra, the renowned Bulgarian conductor Ivan Kozhuharov whose impressive career includes Karajan Competition and Bella Bartok prize, and the French virtuoso trumpeter Romain Leleu, performing works by Vladigerov, Arutiunian and Tchaikovsky.

The Spanish Presidency of the Council of Europe will have its musical opening in Varna with a special concert of Vienna Chamber Orchestra under the baton of the Spanish conductor Pedro Halffter with Daniel Vnukowsky as a soloist (Chopin – 1st Piano Concerto) and a piece especially composed for the Varna Summer Festival.

The high profile International Symposium is also dedicated this year to Spain: The title is Tradition und Universalism in the Spanish Music from Baroque to Nowadays. Leading musicologists from Spain, Portugal, Austria and Germany will present and discuss their lectures under the guidance of Prof. Hartmut Krones (University of music and performing arts Vienna). The Symposium program includes 3 concerts as illustrations to the scientific topics. Chamber music created by 23 Spanish composers from ancient times to nowadays will be performed by leading and young musicians from Spain, Portugal, France, Austria and Bulgaria.

Among the chamber music concerts in the “not to miss” list of this year’s edition of Varna Summer Festival are the French master of the crystal organ Michel Deneuve; Hannover Piano Trio with piece by Emilie Meyer, often referred as the female Beethoven; DSCH Shostakovich ensemble with music by Schumann, Bruch, Britten and Poulenc; all-Spanish solo recital of the cellist Frederic Audibert, the stellar piano duo Alina and Nikolay Shalamov who have won the ARD Music Competition. Various crossover projects and interesting combinations, like My Fair Lady arranged for brass quintet and soloists, complement the core classical program.

The festival is structured in various modules – Symphony and Chamber Music, International Symposium, Music Lab, Alternative Scenes, Summer Academy, Opera and Ballet, Crossover, Baroque, Exhibitions, etc.

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