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Artist of the Week – Kalin Ivanov: “Just to be a professional cellist of the highest class with an active performing and teaching career is not an easy job”

June 13, 2010 by · 1 comment

Kossara Belnikolva’s interview with the cellist Kalin Ivanov

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Kalin Ivanov, cellist, is a prominent soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and recording artist. Compared by the press to Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Piatigorsky and Jacqueline du Pré he is quickly gaining recognition as an artist whose “dramatic urgency and expressive tone” (The STRAD) is matched by “His deep, emotional, and poetic performing style” (Moscow North). The former music critic of the New York Times, Harris Goldsmith states that”…Ivanov presents himself as a player with a fine grained, luscious tone…” (New York Concert Review). The WORLD PANORAMA (Bulgaria) wrote: “…Kalin Ivanov is a phenomenon in the palette of the most talented musicians” and Musical Opinion (UK) confirmed: “one of the most celebrated cellists of his generation.” A winner of the C.W. Post Chamber Music Festival Concerto Competition, he has performed in major performing centers in Bulgaria, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, England, Russia, Caribbean Islands and the U.S.

Mr. Ivanov solo performances include appearances with the top Bulgarian orchestras including: Sofia Philharmonic, Sinfonietta-Sofia, Plovdiv Philharmonic, Varna Philharmonic, as well as Prague Sinfonietta, Moscow chamber orchestra – “Cantus Firmus”, Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Virtuosi and Ensemble du Monde – Chamber Orchestras, and others. He is also a founding member of The Forte String Quartet and New York Empire Trio. Mr. Ivanov is currently on the faculty at Brooklyn College/CUNY and Adelphi University. He also appears regularly on radio and television programs, leads cello and chamber music master classes and is a judge of international competitions in the US and Europe. Mr. Ivanov records for MSR Classics and Gega New labels and is presented by Bulgarian Virtuosi Artists – More info:

How did you get involved with contemporary music in your early career?

I did not work on too many contemporary works in my earlier career, but now I like to work with composers who produce a beautiful melody in their musical pieces. I have worked in the past 10 years closely with the Bulgarian composer Roumi Petrova and the American composer Rick Sowash. Both dedicated music to me. Rick dedicated concerto for cello and orchestra. Roumi dedicated two Sonatas, concerto for cello and orchestra as well as some other solo pieces or pieces for cello with piano accompaniment.

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You have worked with famous cellists such as: David Soyer, Nathaniel Rosen, Steven Doane and many others. Who has influenced you the most?

They all have great influence on my work, but I worked much longer with Nathaniel Rosen out of the three you listed. I also need to mention that I worked very seriously as a student for many years with two great cellists: Anatoly Krastev (Sofia, Bulgaria) and Marion Feldman (New York, USA). Both are great performers, teachers and people with big warm hearths and strong musical ideas.

You have recorded music for Ang Lee’s film, had numerous performances all around the world, played in famous radio and TV programs, and performed in a festival with Tchaikovsky competition winners.What do you consider to be your most significant personal achievement?

Just to be a professional cellist of the highest class with an active performing and teaching career is not an easy job. That is what I want to be and so far I am following my dream very well.

Could you tell me more about the “The Forte String Quartet,” of which you are a founding member?

The Forte String Quartet is my oldest chamber music group (since 1990). I also perform regularly with New York Empire Trio as well as recital/chamber music programs for cello and piano and as a soloist with orchestras.
As a founding member of FSQ we are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year with concerts in the US and Europe. I love performing in a string quartet.

Where do you prefer to work – in Bulgaria or abroad? What are the differences?

I am an international artist and have no preferences. I work happily in any country in the world which invites me to perform or teach. The only difference is how much I am paid in Bulgaria and abroad. The audience, the critics, the media are always very warm and supportive of my performances.

How do you feel in front of students during your master classes?

I love teaching students of all levels. I had some really great students during my master classes. Students are our future artists who will take over the stage sooner or later. I am trying to give them all the help and experience that I can.

What have you sacrificed for your art?

All my time is dedicated to my art. I have no free time to read newspapers, books, or watch TV. I am trying to get some free time to relax in between concerts and tours. As you may know I am also the Artistic Director of the Bulgarian Virtuosi Artists. I am working on promotion not only for my career, but also for the careers of different artists as well. I wish my day has 48 hours long (not only 24h.)

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What is your dream?

My dream was to come to New York and become professional concert cellist/artist with international concert reputation. Now my dream is to expend what I am doing and to be in good health so I can do it as long as possible.

What is the best advice you would give to young artists?

Follow your dream and NEVER give it up for any reason! If you have a very strong dream you will find your way to make it happen. One day it will pay off.

Which musicians do you admire the most?

All great musicians/cellists such as: Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Anatoly Krastev, Nathaniel Rosen, my teachers etc.

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What are your favorite activities besides the music?

My favorite activities are: hiking, swimming, biking. I am also enjoying playing with my 15-month-old son.

What are your plans till the end of the year?

I have several invitations for concerts, festivals, master classes in Europe and the US. All the information is published on my website.

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