Almost 100 years ago, just after the official opening of Varna’s
Sea Baths in 1926 - the first SPA centre in the sea town, emblematic
personalities of Varna society at that time, among them the composers
Pancho Vladigerov and Dobri Hristov, set the beginning of the first in
the country music celebrations, which later became the biggest
International Music Festival in Bulgaria. Having received national and
international recognition, today the Festival is a representative forum
of Bulgarian and world music and music performing art.
As a Winner of the European Audience Award 2019-2021, given by the European Festivals Association, the festival is dedicated to creating the festival programme in 2023 at a high artistic level.
The slogan of the first organisers "to unite the best music celebrities of the country" finds its continuation and advance in the promotion of Bulgarian music culture in the policy of the Festival’s programming. A number of Bulgarian works have been performed for the first time within the "Varna Summer".
The Festival has a multi-genre character and includes the following modules:
Core Programme – symphony and chamber music International Summer Music Academy; Music Lab – Varna Renaissance and Baroque Music Opera and Ballet; Crossover Intermezzo – in partnership with the “Varna Summer” International Theater Festival; “Varna Summer for Kids” - series of educational concerts; Parallel Programme – exhibitions, films, conferences and others; International Symposium.
In 2023 Varna Summer International Music Festival will host for the fifth time an academic symposium with the participation of renowned scholars and composers from Austria, Germany, Spain, and Bulgaria, from 1 - 3 September. The main subject of this International Symposium is the music of Spain, whereby the visiting lecturers will present their scholarly research situated within the broad topics of “Spanish Baroque Music”, “Nationalism and Universalism in the Music of Spain”, and “Identity and Developments”. As in previous editions of this academic exchange, the symposium’s academic moderator will be Prof. Dr. Hartmut Krones (University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna), whereby Dr. Petya Tsvetanova from the National Academy of Music “Prof. Pancho Vladigerov” Sofia will provide the interlingual moderation. The symposium will continue with its intermedial structure through the inclusion of live performances of pieces by composers discussed in the presentations.
In 2021 "Varna Summer" International Music Festival celebrated the 95th anniversary of its establishment as the first music festival in Bulgaria, founded in 1926 in the city of Varna. In its long history the Festival has impressed with the presence of soloists, conductors, symphony and chamber orchestras, choirs, opera ensembles, ballet companies from around the world. But the ambition of every next festival programme is to present at the stage of the "Varna Summer" IMF both the renowned names of the world music culture and young artists - future stars. In 1987 the Festival became a member of the European Festival Association based in Geneva.
As a member of the European Festivals Association, "Varna Summer" International Music Festival has been awarded with EFFE label since 2015, EFFE Laureate for 2019–2021 and the European Audience Award 2019-2021.
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