Co-Director, Music of the Balkans Ensemble
Tzvetanka Varimezova was born in Bulgaria and received a B.A. degree in choral conducting and folk instrument pedagogy from the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv. During the 1980s she directed the choir of a regional professional ensemble of folk song and dance in the town of Pazardzhik, Bulgaria.
During the 1990s she was a soloist, teacher, and assistant choral director for a number of professional women’s choirs in Sofia, including the National Ensemble Filip Kutev, Ensemble Trace-Plovdiv, Les Grandes Voix Bulgares, Cosmic Voices, and Trio Bojura. She has many solo recordings to her name and is well-known for the brilliant, high-pitched tone quality of her voice and her interpretations of the highly ornamented songs from her native Pazardzhik-Trace region. She later recorded in Los Angeles studios, among which is the 20th Century Fox studio.
Varimezova came to the U.S. in 2001 with her husband Ivan Varimezov to teach in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology. During the last ten years, Tzvetanka and Ivan Varimezovi have organized many concerts for UCLA students in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Diego, Pomona, and other cities.
Since 2001, Varimezova has worked with choirs in many U.S. cities including the UCLA choir, “Superdevoiche;” “Nevenka” (Los Angeles); “Zhena” (San Pedro); “Kitka” (San Francisco); “Planina” (Denver); “Mila” (Mineapolis); “The Bulgarian Voices” (Seattle); “Dunava” (Seattle); and “Global Choir” (New Mexico). She has also conducted many workshops for the Eastern European Folklife Center (EEFC) in Mendocino, California; Iroguois Springs, New York; Greece, Denmark, Japan, Swiss, Canada, Spain, and France.
The UCLA choir, “Superdevoiche,” recently performed at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, which was a great experience for the students.
In 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2015 Tzvetanka and Ivan Varimezovi organized Bulgarian tours for students from the UCLA Balkan Ensemble. In 2005 the UCLA Balkan Ensemble with directors Tzvetanka and Ivan Varimezovi were invited to perform at the International Folklore Festival in Bourgas, Bulgaria. The UCLA Balkan Ensemble performed in front of more than 2000 people and received a “Diploma at the Festival” from the mayor of the town of Bourgas, Ioan Konstantinov.
On June, 27, 2008, in the National Palace of the Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria, Tzvetanka Varimezova performed for a big concert entitled “May It Fill Your Soul,” which included two big events:
1) Professor Timothy Rice, director of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and Bulgarian music scholar/performer, received a medal called the “Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius, second degree” from Bulgaria’s President Georgi Purvanov, for his significant contribution to the scientific study of Bulgarian musical folklore and for his popularization of Bulgarian culture in the United States.
2) 50th anniversary and 30-year professional artistic career of Ivan Varimezov, musician-bagpiper, and soloist at the Orchestra for Bulgarian Folklore Music at the Bulgarian National Radio and Television, Sofia, conductor of Ensemble Pazardzhik, and currently adjunct associate professor of Bulgarian folk music at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Department of Ethnomusicology.
In 2010 Tzvetanka and Ivan Varimezovi organized another Bulgarian tour for 150 people from all over the world that included a big concert on August, 04, 2010 in Bulgaria Hall, Sofia, dedicated to the 50th anniversary and 30-year professional artistic career of Tzvetanka Varimezova as a musician, singer, teacher, and conductor. This concert was so far the biggest concert that ever happened in Bulgaria and included more than 150 people on the stage: the UCLA Balkan Ensemble; the Los Angeles Kitka Choir; San Francisco Nevenka Choir; Los Angeles Djanam Choir; Paris Agios Lavrentis; Greece Usmifka Choir; and Glas Denmark, which whom Tzvetanka and Ivan were working. At the concert two Bulgarian professional ensembles also performed: Ensemble Pazardzhik (city of Pacardzhik) and Ensemble Trakia (city of Plovdiv). Those 150 singers and musicians were invited to perform on Aug, 07, 2010 at The 10th National Festival of Folk Art Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria.
In 2015 Tzvetanka and Ivan Varimezovi organized the “Koprivshtitsa” tour for the UCLA Superdevoiche Choir (USA); Dunava Choir (Seattle); and Agnes of Montbrillant Choir; (Switzerland). Those groups performed in the town of Pazardzhik, Bulgaria with the professional choir Ensemble Pazardzhik.
In 2017 Tzvetanka Varimezova received the Bulgarian award “The Voice of the Year, 2017” from The Annual Folklore Awards, Bulgaria. In 2018 Tzvetanka Varimezova received “The Bulgarian Award for Her Contribution to Bulgarian Folklore Music” from The Annual Folklore Awards, Bulgaria