The Çanakkale Choir Festival

Çanakkale, Turkey, July 10, 2015

"Music Horizons" magazine; August, 2015

by Yavor Konov

In July 7-12, 2015, in the city of Çanakkale, Turkey, the Third Biannual Çanakkale Folklore Festival ( took place at the March 18th University in the city (Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart Üniversitesi). (A large, modern, well-established university, founded in 1992, which has about 44,000 students, 13 academic departments, 4 institutes, 8 colleges, 13 vocational schools, 26 research and applied science centers, etc.).


Thirty choirs attended the festival, including 29 Turkish ensembles from Canakkale, Istanbul, Ankara, Mersin, Bolu, Adana, Denizli, Isparta, Trabzon, Kibris, Burdur, Samsun, Tekirdas. Among them were not only many good but also some magnificent choirs, based at academic institutions and elsewhere.

(Watch videos: = rtI2hyFp23A).

The only foreign choir at the Çanakkale Festival was the special guest and presenter the gala concert, Sofia Boys Choir with conductor Prof. Dr. Adriana Blagoeva: the most exciting triumph of the evening. (If they had only sung a popular Turkish song, the enthusiastic reception would have been even wilder, I believe... The choristers could have surfed the crowd!) We know how masterful and exquisitely crafted, confident and at the same time delicate Adriana's choir’s performances are, but I’d like to emphasize it here again.

Adriana Blagoeva had deftly arranged the concert program in two halves: the first one presented the Bulgarian choral, compositional and performance mastery set to an on-screen presentation of beautiful Bulgarian landscapes, both natural and architectural. Professor Blagoeva has a great collaborative pianist by her side in Zornitsa Getova, a musician showing virtuosity and artistry that makes the single instrument sound like a variety of sound worlds (at times you hear, for example, an entire orchestra). Zornitsa has also perfected the fine art of attentive and adequate accompaniment, which completes the work and supports the chorus and conductor.

Indeed, Adriana has a partner on whom she can lean on in performance and interpretation.

Since their first appearance on the stage, marching and arranging themselves in perfect synchrony, Adriana’s boys and young men make it evident that they understand their worth, their expertise and their responsibility. They have given their all multiple times in front of audiences the world over and come onstage with a confident joy in the triumph ahead and certainty that they will delight listeners. The conductor’s appearance brings the same feeling...

Such is the joy of observing great artists...

I attended all concerts of the festival and would like to emphasize how enthusiastically welcomed and sent off the Sofia Boys Choir was and how long and thunderously the applause rang in every full house! And again, I would like to stress the collaborative joy - not envy! – other choirs and conductors felt towards the Bulgarian boys.