PIANO DEPARTMENTHead of Department:
Prof. Iliya CHERNAEV

Bulgarian piano art owes a lot to its first piano pedagogues. One founder of the Private Music School, the Czech Henrich Wisner, later a lecturer at the State Music School (established in 1912) and professor at the newly-opened Academy (1921), taught love of music and imparted a keen attitude toward ensemble playing to several generations of pianists.

Academician Andrey Stoyanov (a graduate of the Vienna Academy of Music) with his versatile activity marked the course of Bulgarian piano pedagogy and is rightfully regarded as its founder. In the 1920s Prof. Ivan Torchanov (a graduate of the Vienna Academy of Music who studied under L. Godovski) developed the ideas of pianism as an art.

By a concurrence of circumstances the Bulgarian piano school was developed under the direct influence of the elite music centres in Western Europe and Russia and had the historic opportunity to focus in itself the richness of leading world schools.

During the period 1920-1950 a number of performing pianists and pedagogues taught at the Music Academy. We recognize the names of world-famous pianists and composers Dimitar Nenov and Pancho Vladigerov.

The teaching staff of the department at the time included professors Tamara Yankova (Head of Department), Panka Pelishek, Zheni Kovacheva, Lyuba Encheva, Lily Atanassova, Mara Petkova, Mara Balsamova, Lyuba Obretenova (Head of Department), Assoc. Prof. Katya Kazandzhieva. Many of them specialised in Western European countries and were graduates of prestigious music academies in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Prague, having studied under the greatest music pedagogues of the period. Let us mention the names of L. Godovski, Y. Hoffmann, L. Kreuzer, C. Arau, E. Fischer, E. Petri, A. Corto, Iv. Leferbure, and M. Ciampi. Members of the teaching staff were also Assoc. Prof. Galunka Belcheva and the professors Bogomil Starshenov and Lilyana Antova. Thus the experience of the Western European piano schools bore fruit in Bulgaria.
After the 1950s closer communication began between the Piano Department and the Russian piano school. Works of the great Russian piano pedagogues H. Neuhaus, A. Nikolaev, A. Alexeev, G. Kogan and a number of other piano works shed some light on the contemporary thought on teaching music. The giants of the Russian piano school – H. Neuhaus, Y. Flier, L. Oborin, T. Nikolaeva, V. Gornostaeva, Y. Milstein, P. Serebryakov, D. Bashkirov, etc. became the teachers of the Bulgarian pianists and future pedagogues.

These were the professors Konstantin Ganev (Head of Department), Julia Ganeva, Dora Lazarova (Head of Department) and Snezhana Barova, who were graduates of the Moscow school. They were joined by the professors Milena Mollova (who had studied under E. Gilels in Moscow and G. Agosti in Italy), Nikolay Evrov (who had studied under H. Neuhaus in Moscow) and Anton Dikov (who had studied under N. Boulanger, R. Casadesus and A. Rubinstein in Paris).

In the 1960s the development of our piano art, which had brought together the experience of the leading European schools and the Russian school and had been reconsidered as a Bulgarian tradition, gave rise to the impressive educational success of our national school in piano studies.

The most convincing proof of excellence in this respect is the international recognition of its achievements over the past six decades through the huge number of prizes won by its alumni in piano competitions throughout the world.

Bulgarian pianists win prizes in the most prestigious international competitions: Queen Elizabeth, Van Cliburn, P. I. Tchaikovsky, F. Busoni, P. Schuman, J. S. Bach and the competitions in Leeds, Montreal, Tokyo, Pretoria and dozens of others.

Education in the National Academy of Music under the direction of the teaching staff of the Piano Department is carried out in compliance with world standards for contemporary education and formation of performing pianists.

The department offers Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral programmes. All styles and periods of music are represented in the syllabus – baroque, classics, romanticism, impressionism, 20th and 21st century music with its numerous currents, including dodecaphony, serial technique, aleatoricism, etc. Special attention is paid to Bulgarian music.The major piano works included in the syllabus are complex and technically challenging, and stimulate the development of a broad range of performance techniques and means of expression.

During its years of development the Piano Department has formed sustainable aesthetic and pedagogic criteria. Today we can speak of the extremely high level of piano education at Prof. PanchoVladigerov National Academy of Music which has produced a myriad of pianists, who successfully perform and teach all over the world. This success, the fruit of the artistic evolution of the department, is also due to the excellent pedagogues who work in it today.

Department Staff:

Full-time staff: 

Prof. Iliya CHERNAEV, Ph.D., Head of Department

Prof. Borislava TANEVA, Ph.D, Vice Rector

Prof. Dimo DIMOV

Prof. Daniela ANDONOVA, Ph.D.

Prof. Ivelina IVANCHEVA

Prof. Margarita KRASTEVA,Ph.D.

Gergana NESTOROVA, Ph.D.

Associate Prof. Dobromir MITEV,Ph.D, accordion

Part time lectures

Prof. Atanas KURTEV, Ph.D.