Bulgaria – Philip Kutev National School of Folk Arts

Bulgaria 2016 Philip Kutev National School of Folk Arts is located in Kotel, a little and picturesque town in the mountainous area of Eastern Bulgaria. The School was founded on 2nd of October, 1967 and was the first school in Europe specialized in traditional folklore music and vocal technique. 1800 students have graduated the School since it was opened and about 75 per cent of them have continued their education in various universities and academic institutions in Bulgaria and abroad. The School has given the world a lot of celebrities such as Teodossy Spassov, Tsvetan Marinov, Tsvetan Radkov, Binka Dobreva. The National School of Folk Arts has a five-year course and an eight-year course of studies and its alumni graduate as specialists of secondary school education in Folklore Arts with the following majors: Bulgarian Traditional Folklore Singing; Bulgarian Traditional Folklore Music - kaval, gaida (bagpipe), tamboura, gadoulka; Bulgarian Folklore Dances and the craft of making Bulgarian folklore music instruments, i.e. Luthierie. The students are 10 to 18 years of age and study both general education and specialized music subjects. The talented students are selected through severe competition and they come from all 26 administrative regions of Bulgaria. All of the students take individual folklore music and piano lessons and are taught by highly qualified and experienced teachers, who are experts in the field of traditional Bulgarian folklore and the performing arts. The teachers do research work and their findings in the field of traditional Bulgarian folklore get published in specialized editions of the School. All students take part in various performing formations and groups - of 7, 14, 22, 35 or 45 members. These groups comprise vocal or instrumental performers or vocal and 2 instrumental performers and/or dance troupes. The most popular are the ensemble formations which comprise musicians, singers and dancers. These groups take part in various events, concerts, festivals and competitions throughout the country and abroad. The talent and training of the students make it possible for them to fuse various genres - from traditional Bulgarian folklore, to the ethno-jazz, techno and film songs, all new and contemporary forms of music expression. A good proof of this is that they have taken part in a rock opera and several international arts projects. Over the years, representative performing groups of the School have shared the beauty of traditional Bulgarian folklore music and dances with audiences in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Turkey, the Czeck Republic, Cuba, Moldova, France, Holland, USA, Spain, Costa Rica, Estonia, Turkey, Great Britain, Cyprus et al. Below are some of the recent achievemеnts of performing groups of the School: 2015 – Grand Prix of the V International Chorus Competition and Festival of Istanbul; 2015 – Grand Prix of the VIII National Competition for Musicians of Traditional Folklore; 2014 – The Prize of the Ministry of Culture of Poland in a competition held during the 37th edition of The Bydgoszcz Musical Impressions. On July 27th 2013, a representative ensemble from the School held a one-night full-time concert at the Union Chapel in London, England. In 2013, the School was invited to take part in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival – Scotland as a special guest and performed at sold-out shows in Aberdeen. 2013 – Grand Prix of the 1st National Competition for Singers ”Nightingales from the North of Bulgaria”; 2013 – The Folklore Choir of the School won 1st Prize of the “Singing Competition” dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the prominent Bulgarian composer Kiril Stefanov; 2012 – on behalf of its 45th anniversary the School received the Special Award by the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria for its exceptional contribution to the preservation and development of the Bulgarian cultural heritage; 2011 – The Folklore Choir of the School won the Special Prize of the “Thracian Choir Festival”/„Тракийски хоров фестивал”/- Bulgaria; 2011 - Grand Prix for best group and The Gold Highlander Axe for best musician of the Zakopane International Mountain Folklore Festival – Poland; 2007 –Honorary Crystal Lyre of the Union of Bulgarian Composers.   Singers from the Folk Arts School - Kotel 5 Pyramid by boys in concert NUFI Kotel dancers 2 NUFI Kotel - the choir NUFI Kotel - singers NUFI Kotel - girl playing the rebeck NUFI Kotel - folklore singer NUFI Kotel - dancers 1 NUFI Kotel - an instrumental group NUFI - Ivaylo Stoychev - bagpipe NUFI - dancers Nat School Philip Kutev - Kotel - the choir and the musicians 3 Kotlenki in concert Kotel singers in a TV show Kotel - singers in BNT show Grand Prix Winners - Istanbul 2015 Bulgaria 2016