top of page

Newsletter May 2020

Dear Reader,

On this occasion we want to introduce you to Nikolay Aleksiev, a Bulgarian composer, whose piano duet for four hands A Breeze from Bulgaria was performed by the Darina Piano Duo (Antonina Koleva-Lax and Alla Levit-Anderson), the winners of the Adult Piano Duet category at the 6th Piano Competition – Around the Globe Piano Music Festival 2019. At these unapparelled times that we experience due to the global pandemic and physical distancing as the new way of life, we understand that playing and performing live ensembles such as piano duets for 4 hands, is at the moment not possible. However, we believe that we will be able to relish creating music together again, in the not very distant future. Perhaps in the current situation, we can learn to use various digital innovations and online platforms in creating various ensembles and to rejoicing in making music together this way. We hope you will listen and enjoy the music of this stunning piece, which was masterly performed by the Darina Piano Duo. To listen to the music, follow the link at the end of the article.

For score please send us a request via our email at

Extract from the article About ‘A Breeze from Bulgaria’ by Antonina Koleva-Lax

A Breeze from Bulgaria was one of the winning pieces premiered by Darina Piano Duo at last year’s Around the Globe Piano Music Festival 2019. The duo has been collecting modern pieces from around the world to bring to new audiences. Today there is a wide range of modern music to choose from, but some of it is naturally closer to one’s heart and roots than others. A Breeze from Bulgaria is the work of the composer Nikolai Aleksiev, whose music reflects traditional Bulgarian rhythms and harmonies whilst remaining authentic and novel. This piece, is in essence an experiment, as Darina Piano Duo challenged Aleksiev, who typically writes vocal and orchestral music, to write a four-hand piano piece…

This outlook is shared by the composer of A Breeze from Bulgaria who tells us more about the piece and the inspiration behind it in the following note.

“A Breeze from Bulgaria, written in 2017, is a three-part piano piece I composed for the wonderful the Darina Piano Duo. Taking its inspiration from the ethnic traditional music of Bulgaria, it represents my interpretation of these ancient melodies in a way I hope is relevant to a wider audience. I admire work which stresses the melodic (whilst still being open to experimentation), and music that expresses emotional realities, making the listener want to explore a composition again and again, and to discover new images and connections… The title of my three-part piece may be suggestive of a theme, but it is in fact an allegory. It is a reference to the listeners’ innermost feelings towards their own native country as well as being an allusion to identity, combining nostalgia without sentimentality. The name of the piece translated as Breeze, Breath or Aura, shouldn’t be taken literally. It is more of a general characterisation of imagery (in part provoked by the work of the Bulgarian 20th-century short-story writer Chudomir – Dimitar Hristov Chorbadjiev), evoking remembered native songs, natural beauty and everything which connects Bulgarians to their homeland…”

Listen to A Breeze from Bulgaria performed by Darina Piano Duo via YouTube link:

About the composer

Nikolay Aleksiev is a prominent Bulgarian musician and orchestral conductor, who has composed and arranged various works based on ethnic Bulgarian music motifs. His compositional oeuvre comprises both, choral and instrumental music for orchestra as well as ensembles. His music has been recognised not only in Bulgaria, but in other Balkan countries, where his work has been regularly included in many international music festivals.

He wrote numerous orchestral pieces and suites based on traditional Bulgarian music. Nikolay is a member of the Union of Young Bulgarian Composers and his compositions were recorded by Bulgarian National Radio with the participation of soloists and members of the orchestra of the Filip Kutev Art School to commemorate the school’s 25th anniversary. For many years, until 2008 he was Director of the Byala Slatina company and Director of Nezhen Spomen (Tender Memory) choral group, which successfully won many awards in local and national music competitions in Bulgaria. With the groups’ performing many of his original compositions and arrangements they became the most popular ethnic/folk performers in the country. In 2002 Nikolay recorded a CD of his song arrangements dedicated to the 110th anniversary of the Cultural Centre, Razvitie. Since 2006 he has again broadened his achievements by working for various Bulgarian television companies.


bottom of page