It was at the National Opera Center two weeks ago that I sat down to listen to beautiful renditions of Bulgarian music and classical compositions, as well as original material, by Tania Stavreva. Her audience was transformed not only by her skills at the piano, which truly were spectacular, but also by her immense creativity. Original compositions by Ms. Stavreva were combined with other compositions on the evening’s program. I was expecting homages, perhaps, to some of her favorite compatriot composers. I was expecting soothing piano pieces that were reminiscent of her classical predecessors. I never expected her to stand up, walk to the side of the piano, plucking and strumming the piano strings with her bare fingers. I also could not believe that she did that while one hand remained on the traditional piano keys.

photo by Reggo Wilson Photography

photo by Reggo Wilson Photography

Entitled “The Dark Side of the Sun”, the piece begins with Tania’s hand strumming over the open strings of a Grand Piano. Suddenly, a very low knocking sound comes from the left side of the keyboard, sounding like a pendulum or some kind of pounding at a door. The piece has a very eerie quality that evoked feelings of change and unsureness. The strumming begins again, and yet Tania’s hand is ever ready to come back with the low pendulum note. The piece sounds like a harp that has all the qualities of a cacophony, but all the aesthetics of a moving and beautiful symphony. Feelings of uncertainty and change are made pleasant and delivered in a very moving way.

Many of the composers on her newest album, “Rhythmic Movement”, which is set to release on January 7th 2017, are Jewish, including Alexander and Pancho Vladigerov (for whom the National Academy of Music in Sofia is named). In 2017, Tania will be working on a program that features international Jewish composers, including those from Israel, Bulgaria, and America. Tania said: “I am proud to celebrate the diversity of my home country, Bulgaria, and I am excited to work and play with the talented Israeli composers and musicians that I will be joined with during my upcoming visit to Israel.”

Tania at the National Opera Center Recital Hall on October 27th, 2016

Tania at the National Opera Center Recital Hall on October 27th, 2016

Tania also offered her take on a classic Bulgarian Folk Song called Dimano Dilbero. Although the original folk song is sung, and tends to be already very upbeat and oscillatory, Tania’s piano version tends to exaggerate those qualities. Ms. Stavreva explains: “to me, music is fluid and fun. I like to combine my traditional classical piano training with more modern music, while bringing worldwide influences to my music, as well as a diversity of cultures and themes.” Tania’s music delivers a cross between Bulgarian folk music and the training of a creative classical pianist. Ms. Stavreva’s compositions are influenced by her personal experiences, her top-flight classical training, and various classical composers. She has a love and dedication to experimenting with new music and combining genres that other classical musicians would never attempt or even think of combining.

All these are found on Tania’s newest album, “Rhythmic Movement” which will be available soon on SoundCloud and on disc.  You can watch Tania performing live in the coming months, once her new album is released in early January 2017. In the mean time, check out Ms. Stavreva on Youtube, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bluZzKMlmo. “Dark Side of the Sun” begins at 34:00 into the Youtube clip. Tania is due to perform in Israel during Winter 2017.  The dates, as well as further information about Tania Stavreva, and her upcoming album, “Rythmic Movement” will be listed on her website, http://www.TaniaStavreva.com