The Balkan Music Ensemble focuses on Bulgarian traditional and arranged songs and music. The ensemble includes both a choir and instrumental band. Students learn Bulgarian vocal technique and instrumental ornamentation. There is a mixed choir and a women’s choir that perform traditional and a capella arrangements of folk songs from all Bulgarian folk regions in two-and three-part harmony. The instrumental band performs music from all Bulgarian folk regions. Students who play all instruments are invited including percussionists, who study the unique asymmetrical rhythms (5/8, 7/8, 8/8, 9/8, 11/8, 3/8, 15/8) characteristic of Bulgarian music.
Music of the Balkans
Sounds of Schoenberg: The gaida
READ: Ivan Varimezov could only listen to a single national radio station when he was growing up in 1970s Communist Bulgaria. The station played little other than Bulgarian folk music, and eventually, Varimezov was drawn to the sound of the genre’s most prominent instrument: the gaida, a traditional Bulgarian bagpipe.