The 2016 European Music Festival gathers outstanding performers of classical music from around the globe

Beginning March 28 through June 8, the Festival presents 13 events with over 300 artists, including legendary musicians Joshua Bell and Shlomo Mintz

March 18, 2016, Sofia
This year, music company Cantus Firmus presents the 16th edition of the European Music Festival. It is to take place in Sofia beginning March 28 through June 8, as part of Sofia Municipality’s 2016 Cultural Calendar. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria co-organizes this festival, which comprises 13 events featuring over 300 artists from Italy, Austria, the US, Israel, and other countries. Presenters Cantus Firmus have created an impressive program, designed to match EMF’s growing reputation. In 2015, the festival received the EFFE (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe) Label, as well as the Sofia Municipality Culture Award, given out for outstanding achievements in the field of music. The 2016 European Music Festival is held under the patronage of Rumiana Bachvarova, Deputy Prime Minister for Coalition Policy and Public Administration, as well as Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia.
The 2016 EMF is scheduled to begin on March 28 with an opening gala concert involving famous Israeli violinist Shlomo Mintz, whose impressive career has distinguished him as one of the greatest performing artists of our time. Mr. Mintz is to appear as both soloist and conductor of the Classic FM Radio Orchestra in a concert, which also features rising star Martin Zayranov, the Cantus Firmus Special Award Recipient at the 2015 Young Virtuosi Competition.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival is the concert of American classical music superstar violinist Joshua Bell, scheduled for May 13, 2016, National Palace of Culture Hall One at 8PM. Mr. Bell is to perform Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto, accompanied by the Classic FM Radio Orchestra under conductor Maxim Eshkenazy. Works by Mozart, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Massenet are also to be featured in this concert.
Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era, and his restless curiosity, passion, and multifaceted musical interests are almost unparalleled in the world of classical music. Named the Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in 2011, Bell is the first person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards since his first LP recording at age 18 on the Decca Label.Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Bell received his first violin at age four and at 12 began studying with the legendary Josef Gingold at Indiana University. At the age of 14 Bell began his rise to stardom, performing with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra and at age 17 making his Carnegie Hall debut and touring Europe for the first time. Perhaps the event that helped most to transform his reputation from ‘musician’s musician’ to ‘household name’ was his incognito performance in a Washington, DC subway station in 2007. Ever adventurous, Bell had agreed to participate in the Washington Post story by Gene Weingarten which thoughtfully examined art and context. The story earned Weingarten a Pulitzer Prize and sparked an international firestorm of discussion. Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin and uses a late 18th century French bow by François Tourte.

On April 20, the festival program is to present a special new project of Bulgarian opera singer Ina Kancheva at Bulgaria Hall, alongside the Sofia Boys Choir led by Adriana Blagoeva. This concert program mixes operatic arias together with choral works, composed by the Classical Viennese composers, some of which have been arranged especially for this concert by Atanas Atanasov. The program is to be conducted by maestro Georgi Dimitrov.
Another festival highlight is the performance of the Vesko Panteleev-Eschkenazy – Ludmil Angelov duo. The two musicians are currently in the process of producing a new album featuring Argentinian music, which is to be premiered as a full-length concert program as part of the 2016 EMF. “The World of Argentinian Music” is a much-anticipated event, scheduled for May 26 at Bulgaria Hall at 7:30PM.
The European Music Festival’s 16th edition also features a number of other significant events. J. S. Bach’s magnificent Mass in B minor is to be performed on May 19, and Italian violinist Luca Ciarla is to interpret the music of the great Baroque composer in a project titled Bach into Myself on April 13. On April 17, a gala concert is to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vassil Arnaoudov Sofia Chamber Choir. Under the baton of Prof. Theodora Pavlovic, the choir is to perform a selection of songs commissioned by the ensemble from a number of Bulgarian composers.
This year, the EMF is to once again provide a performance opportunity for young musicians. On April 23, several students from the Pancho Vladigerov National Academy of Music are to be featured as soloists of the Academy String Orchestra, conducted by Raycho Christov. Violinist Svetlin Roussev is to lead a master-class in late May, which is to conclude with a special concert, showcasing all of its participants on May 27 at the Polish Institute in Sofia.
As a tradition, the Golden Quill Awards Ceremony is once again part of the EMF program this year. 24 outstanding Bulgarian musicians, performers, writers and visual artists are to be singled out and awarded on the occasion of May 24th, the Day of Slavic Literacy and Culture.
The 16th European Music Festival is to conclude on June 8 with a concert titled Art Sketches, featuring the Angel Zaberski Jazz Quartet at the Sofia Live Club.
Tickets for the 2016 EMF are on sale at the Cantus Firmus box-office at Bulgaria Hall, as well as online at