The “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” National Academy of Music

is the most authoritative higher education music school in Bulgaria with the oldest, best established and most efficient professional traditions, which focuses the potential and achievements of the most significant, renowned artists in this area in the same amount today, as it has done in the past. Its graduates win top prizes in prestigious international competitions and take part in international music initiatives. They achieve successful professional careers in our country and worldwide – on Bulgarian and world stages, in orchestras and opera theatres, in secondary and higher education music schools, in colleges, universities, in various cultural institutions and art unions, in the electronic media, in cultural centres etc. The Academy was established at the suggestion of the Minister of National Education Stoyan Omarchevski under the name of State Academy of Music. Legitimised by virtue of Royal Decree No. 145 dated 21st July 1921 of His Majesty Tsar Boris III, it took over took over the provision of higher education to students who were being taught at the already operating Music School (from 1904 as a private school and from 1912 – as a public school). The Academy attracted more and more new students and thus responded to the increased need for professional musicians in our country at the beginning of the 20th century. The lecturers who connected their names with the traditions and fate of the State Academy of Music are pillars in our cultural history such as Dobri Hristov, Ivan Vulpe, Stoyan Brashovanov, Stoyan Dzhudzhev, Pancho Vladigerov, Hristina Morfova, Dimitar Nenov, Andrey and Veselin Stoyanov, Lyubomir Pipkov, Marin Goleminov, Hristo Brambarov, Vladimir Avramov and many others. In 1928 an Academic Symphony Orchestra was established within the Academy and it was conducted by the violinist Sasha Popov, at that time a lecturer at the Academy. The orchestra was based on the student symphony orchestra with the State Academy of Music and supplemented with the most renowned Bulgarian instrumentalists of the time who were also lecturers at the Academy. The orchestra, which consisted of 65 members (30 lecturers), was maintained by a small governmental grant and by the concerts it gave. It was conducted by the violinist Sasha Popov who taught at the Academy at that time. By 1935 the Academic Symphony Orchestra had given more than 100 public concerts with a varied programme of works by European and Russian composers as well as works by young Bulgarian composers and left lasting traces in the history of symphony music in our country. A number of Bulgarian and foreign conductors and soloists gave guest performances in the orchestra.

In 1934 the Academic Symphony Orchestra Magazine was launched as the organ of the Academic Symphony Orchestra which published articles and papers in the area of musical science. A lively discussion on the problems of the Bulgarian national style in Bulgarian music works was held on the pages of the magazine. When the Royal Military Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sasha Popov, with an entirely professional cast of performers (80 members), was founded in 1936, it was based on the Academic Symphony Orchestra and the Guards’ Brass Band. In 1944 it was renamed to Sofia State Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1954, by virtue of Decree No. 328 of 6th November of the Presidium of the National Assembly, the State Academy of Music was restructured into three faculties: the Theory, Composition and Conducting Faculty, the Instrumental Faculty and the Vocal Faculty. Later it was renamed to Bulgarian State Conservatory. In 1955 a full-time choir and a full-time symphony orchestra were established, because they were necessary for the study of choir and orchestra conducting. An Opera Studio (based on the former Opera School) and a Teaching Opera Theatre were established within the Vocal Faculty. Postgraduate master classes in the Instrumental and Vocal Faculties provided the continuing education of Academy graduates.

After 1989 The Academy regained its former name and with a decision of the National Assembly of 19th May 2006 it was renamed to “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” National Academy of Music . The courses in the National Academy of Music are taught by renowned representatives of the art and science of music in our country whose professionalism is measured by their presence in the world music life and research exchange and is a guarantee for the quality of education and development of the students.  The Academy houses the richest specialised music library in Bulgaria with a collection of records. The library is a member of the International Association of Music Libraries. An audio-visual centre has been established, the Academy boasts an academic symphony orchestra, student symphony orchestras, a teaching opera theatre, a teaching choir. Concert halls and an organ are also available. The Academy offers over 30 majors whose syllabuses, which are based on the tested and proven traditions of Bulgarian musicology and the Bulgarian vocal, instrumental and ballet teaching traditions, are updated at regular intervals to match the most contemporary standards in education, the art of music, research and teaching. The students have the opportunity to take part in productions, concerts, music performances, research meetings, seminars, conferences, courses of lectures. In addition to the regular education, master classes and courses of lectures by renowned Bulgarian and foreign musicians and musicologists are organised. The “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” National Academy of Music  has signed agreements with foreign higher-education music institutions and is expanding its range of contacts and cooperations. It is a member of the Association of Higher Education Institutions of Arts (AES) based in Brussels and is also included in the Erasmus Programme. Today the “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” National Academy of Music  is not only a leading music education centre, but also a significant cultural centre whose versatile creative initiatives gain more and more public prestige and recognition.