BozhanaPavlovahas been living in Vienna for some 10 years. There, she graduated classical guitar from Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wienwhere she now lectures. Parallel with this she studied pedagogy at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien.She also lectures at the Johann Joseph Fux Konservatoriumin Graz.

She received her first classical guitar lessons from Margarita Stefanova in her home town, Pleven, then went on to study at the Lyubomir Pipkov National School of Music in Sofia with Stolina Dobreva. She started winning awards at national and international competitions in Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, Croatia when she was still at school. She says this has enriched her professional outlook enormously.

“At competitions we met guitarists form all over Bulgaria, went to concerts by performers from other countries. The chamber music and orchestra training at the national school of music in Sofia was also very inspiring. When we perform together, the social environment contributes so much to the development of young musicians. It was very important to me, I knew that classical guitar tuition was a relatively new thing at professional educational establishments, that the classical guitar school was not as advanced as the piano or violin school. I chose to continue my education in Vienna because Vienna is the capital of classical music, some of the foremost universities are there, in Vienna. I was in the class of Jorgos Panetsos, one of the world’s leading classical guitar tutors. Parallel with this I graduated pedagogy with Walter Würdinger and Adriano Del Sal. I am very happy with the choices I have made because they have opened the doors for me to the music stages of the world. I mostly give concerts in Austria and different European countries. One of the most important concerts I had last season was at Konzerthaus in Vienna – I was soloist of a mandolin orchestra, I also had solo performances. I come back to Bulgaria very often. I am happy to be part of the international guitar festival in Pleven – I give concerts, make guitar presentations, hold master classes. In Vienna I teach professionals, I am also in charge of the speciality chamber music for classical guitar. At the conservatory in Graz I work with budding talents and it is my task to mould them as professional musicians. Music helps the individual, sensibility evolve tremendously, gives people a deeper insight into the world, enables them to pass this knowledge on. When we touch the audiences with our music we give something of ourselves but we first have to reach a level of knowledge that would be of interest to others. The same holds good of teaching. There have been many people in my life I have learnt from, and I am continuing to learn, people with a bounteous spirit who have given me a lot. To them, and to my family I owe everything I now am. I am grateful to all those who have helped us evolve as young musicians so that, in our turn, we can start to give. It would be a wonderful thing to be able to reach their standard.”

This year Bozhana defended her PhD thesis at New Bulgarian University in Sofia. And she continues to be very active as a concert performer.

“Classical guitar is a solo instrument and the concerts we give are usually just that – solo concerts. But chamber music is really important for me. I play in the duo Artistic with Aleksandar Visokomogilski and together we had a concert tour in China. Together we perform classical music, but also Latino and jazz arrangements. Last season I played in a trio with renowned violinist Mario Hossen and cellist Lilyana Kehayova. I have played chamber music with singers, alto flute, string orchestra. Travelling around the world and giving concerts is something I do every day. There are many Bulgarian musicians living in Vienna and I think they have every reason to feel good about themselves. Bulgarian music education is held in high esteem in Austria because we are disciplined and we always try to do the best we can in any given situation. I know Bulgarians like that, they are musicians of a very high standard – as part of orchestras and as solo musicians. There are many professors at the universities. It is very important to me to play the role of ambassador of these virtues, so that we can hold our head up high and have respect for what we have been given in our country.”

BozhanaPavlova adds that she is starting a new project under the European Erasmus+ programme which includes concerts, master classes and best practice exchanges in culture and education between Austria and Bulgaria.