Sofia, 2023

Choir of the Blind ``Academician Petko Staynov``


The professional mixed Choir of the Blind was founded on 28 July 1935 when a group of musically gifted blind established a vocal ensemble. The elected chairman was the young composer Nikolai Behterov and the role of the conductor was entrusted to Michael Shekerdjiev - composer, performer, conductor and pedagogue. Initially, the choir was named "Balkan", recently (from 17 November 1986) it is named after one of the greatest bulgarian composers Academician Petko Staynov. In this unique in the world practice vocal ensemble are working talented people with impaired vision and the music is the meaning of their life and a way  to live and realize themselves in the society.


In May 1937, conducted by Dimitar Domuzchiev, the choir performs its first public concert with great success and thereafter proves quickly its high artistic level. The choir was declared professional by a government decree on 1 October 1948  and became the world's first mixed choir of blind performers, subsidized by the government.


Since then the Choir of the Blind invariably strived to achieve new creative successes, always has demonstrated the high artistic abilities of the musicians with visual impairment and it helped to raise the public prestige of the community of blind people in the country. These qualities of the choir are giving it both in the past as well as today its rightful place at the forefront of our best vocal ensembles.


The merit to this goes both to the talent, voice quality and hard work of several generations of singers with visual impairment, as well as the professionalism, artistic taste and pedagogical skills of a number of conductors that have guided the choir – from the pioneers Mihail Shekerdjiev and Dimitar Domuzchiev, their successors Vasil Koev, Marko Markov, Ivan Slavov, Mihail Karamihailov, Stoyan Babekov and Krasimira Spiridonova, to the current conductor Peter Matev who is leading the choir since 1997.


Contributing factor to the creative authority of the choir is the constant broadening of  its repertoire, covering a rich palette of works by bulgarian and foreign authors - baroque, classical, romantic and modern music, orthodox vocal music, arrangements of bulgarian folk songs, large vocal-instrumental works.


The Choir of the Blind was also always famous for its wonderful soloists who invariably win the admiration of the audience with their beautiful voices and excellent performance qualities. The former soloists of the choir were Hristo Marinov, Karamfilka Petkova, Nikola Dimitrov, Stefan Paskulov, Slavi Slavov, Yaiela Farhi, Veska Angelova, Tsvetanka Vlaycheva, Krum Yanev, Sultanka Mineva, Valya Yankulova and Daniela Dencheva. Current soloists are Nelly Stoycheva, Alexander Popov, Radostin Georgiev.


An essential contribution to the success of the choir have also the  pianists Steffi Hadjivasileva, Irina Shtiglitch, Emiliya Mihaylova, Alexey Alexiev, Peter Matev, Julia Zapryanova.


The love and dedication of the blind singers to the music are expressed in the  released LPs, cassettes, two CD recordings for the Bulgarian National Radio, as well as the performances of hundreds of concerts in the country and abroad (Germany, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Armenia, Belarus, Hungary, Turkey, Greece).


In 1999  the choir experienced a very serious concussion. The Union of the Blind in Bulgaria, that maintenances the ensemble, terminated its funding and the blind singers have lost their jobs. Immediately members of the choir, led by its current conductor Peter Matev, created a non-governmental organization - the "Choir of the Blind  “Academician Petko Staynov" Foundation. The foundation takes charge of the maintenance of the choir, allowing it to continue its artistic path. Already 17 years the foundation successfully manages the ensemble with the support of grantors and funding projects.


For its major achievements the choir was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, 1st Class Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the Golden Lyre award of the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers, the  Golden Plaque award of the Union of the Bulgarian Choirs and many other awards from several festivals and competitions.



Detska Kitka Choir, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Mixed choir Petko Staynov, Kazanlak, Bulgaria
Academic Choir Angel Manolov at the National Student House - Sofia
Dobri Hristov Childrens Choir at the Center for Personal Development Support – Municipal Children’s
Rosarte Children’s Choir
Bodra Smyana Choir
© 2024 "Petko Gruev Staynov" Foundation