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Angelina Petrova

(National Academy for Musik, Sofia, Bulgaria)

Ideological discourse of the 70s in Bulgaria: the Communist Party in the Union of Composers. The Union of Bulgarian Composers and the Bulgarian Post-Guard


The 1970s was a decade when the party was at the peak of its power, which dominated the administrative and state institutions in culture, such as the Union of Bulgarian Composers. They are well known as a period of establishing the official power of late socialism. This report analyses the differences between the different countries in the so-called “socialist camp” in terms of the official work dedicated to the party and the post-guard. In the countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic and even the USSR, the cantata-oratorio pieces, which are dedicated to the communist party as a sign of loyalty, are composed through the language of the post-guard. In Bulgaria, the official praise of socialism was expressed and influenced by the conservative-tonal, pathetic late romantic language. The situation in Bulgaria differs from the one in Poland because the Polish avant-garde had already been established in a leading place in culture since the 1960s and surprisingly even in the USSR, where the term “Soviet avant-garde” was coined in the 1970s. At the Bulgarian festivals for contemporary music, the post-guard was also opposed to the official party music. The situation of the 1970s in Bulgaria was marked by the conservatism of the “Bulgarian model” of socialism.

Short biography

Angelina Petrova is a Professor at the National Academy of Music and the Institute of Art Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She works in the following research fields: theory of contemporary music; Solfeggio; musical hermeneutics; and contemporary Bulgarian music. She specialized under Prof. Gernot Gruber at the Institut für Musikwissenschaft, University of Vienna (1997). She published the following books: My World (a series of interviews with the composer L. Nikolov, 1998); The Composer Lazar Nikolov (2003); The Solfeggio and the Methods of Composition of the 20th Century (2008); and Cognitive Approaches to Musical Hearing and Memory (2014). Awards and grants: Golden Stave Award; and annual musicological awards of the Union of Bulgarian Composers—‘Book of the Year’ (2003, 2014) and ‘The Golden Lira of the Union of Musical and Dance Artists’ (2015).