MILCHO FOREVER, Vicky Almazidou

MILCHO FOREVER, Vicky Almazidou The Program

09 August
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Vicky Almazidou (Greece)

Vicky Almazidou - vocal

Anthony Donchev - band leader, piano

Dimitar Semov - drums

Todor Bakardzhiev - trumpet

Vassil Hadzhigrudev - double bass



It is difficult to embraced and measured the notability  of Milcho Leviev's personality for global music scene and culture. Born in  Plovdiv, he  "flees" the town in rush for freedom for musical expression - by the end of his life journey he is a real citizen of the world with an undisputable contribution to global music development.

One of the last creative ideas of the composer Milcho Leviev will be presented in Bansko. It gave rise to the creation of original arrangements for voice and chamber instrumental formations on themes from emblematic works of Bartok, Chopin, Vladigerov, Ravel, Villa-Lobos, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff. Let’s recall that Milcho Leviev's path began at the Musical Academy in Sofia as a classical pianist, a student of Pancho Vladigerov. Academic Georgi Minchev shared that Milcho Leviev’ departure to jazz musical carrier proved to be a loss of a great pianist for world of classical music. And Milcho himself used to say that music derives from music, thus hinting on that endless conversations with past musical events woven into the nature of free music and on the transformation of "familiar music" into a new work – something that often is an expression of creative co-authorship, at least it is the case in the field of jazz.

In case of SONATA’57 album, the co-authorship is done with the help of virtual communication and shows unusual perspectives. Milcho Leviev recorded piano preforming and gave instructions to the sound director Valeri Kostov in the summer of 2019, literally two months before he left this world. Then, during the following year, musicians from all over the world, all of Milcho's friends, played "their part" and sent it to Plovdiv. These are Fred Seldon, Glen Ferris, Peter Erskin, Vlatko Stefanovski. The album also features the color of Bulgarian jazz, 40 musicians in total. And, of course, the voice of Vicky Almazidou, Milcho Leviev's companion, to whom he has dedicated this album before his death.

This is how Milcho Leviev's music continues to live. This latest musical dialogue will be presented in Bansko by a specially established band - Viki Almazidou (vocals), Antoni Donchev (band leader, piano), Dimitar Semov (drums), Todor Bakardzhiev (trumpet), Vasil Hadzhigrudev (double bass).

Milcho Leviev (1937 - 2019) was born in Plovdiv. Graduate of the State Conservatory in Sofia. In 1959 he was awarded Second prize at the International Youth Composition Competition in Vienna, Austria. For a short time he was a teacher at the music school in Plovdiv and a full-time composer of the theater in the city. Leader and pianist in the famous jazz quartet Focus’65 from 1965 to 1970. Won the Critics' Award at Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. He composed music for many Bulgarian feature, animated and documentary films in the 1960s.

He led the BNR Big Band between 1962 and 1966. Author of compositions and arrangements, performer in American Jazz Philharmony, in  Beverly Hills Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic, BNR Symphony Orchestra. Milcho Leviev is one of the leaders of the jazz and  classic quartet Free Flight, winner of Los Angeles Times Award in 1982. He was nominated for a Grammy for best vocal arrangement of a composition by Charlie Parker, recorded by Manhattan Transfer for the album "Mecca For Moderns" ”. Author of the arrangement of "Blue Rondo a la Turk" (composition by Dave Brubeck), from Grammy-winning 1982 album of Al Giro "Breakin 'Away".

Lecturer in Faculty of Jazz Music at University of Southern California, Los Angeles for 10 years. He has played with the greatest jazz musicians in the world. He has been awarded  Bulgaria's highest decoration, the "Stara Planina" and has been awarded  Cyril and Methodius Prize - I degree, as well as the award La Medaile d’l’Academie Internationale des Arts, Paris, France.

Milcho Leviev is Dr. Honoris Causa at the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv and at the New Bulgarian University.

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