BULGARIAN CULTURAL CENTRE TO BE OPENED IN NEW YORK
Gergana Velinova (b. 1977) is a singer, an author and a pedagogue, who has been living and working in New York for some ten years now. She graduated from Berkeley College in Boston and specialized as a private student of the celebrated Bulgarian opera singer Stefka Evstatieva. She recorded two CDs as a leader - Because of Love in 2002, and the Witch in 2004, with Gergana Ensemble. In 2002 she won first prize at the International Contest for Contemporary Music, held in Sofia. She took part in the Varna Summer, Bansko and Bankya international jazz festivals. Her first book of poetry, Here's to You, illustrated with her own artistic photos, has been published recently. She is a member of the initiative team which made possible the opening of a Bulgarian Cultural Centre in New York. That is what she tells about the forthcoming event: Everything began gradually and by accumulating various initiatives. I teach at the school with the Bulgarian General Consulate in New York and I head the children's choir with it. A library with departments for children and adults was established there. Its reading room is open trice a week and the library lends books for reading at home. Thus, the idea for setting up a cultural centre emerged in the Bulgarian community. It was welcomed and assisted by our consul Anton Karlov and his wife Zornitsa Karlova. They place the consulate's hall at the disposal of artists for giving concerts, recitals and chamber performances. We started by a campaign for raising funds, in which Sol Polanski, former US ambassador in Sofia, took part as well. We collected voluntary donations of BGN50MN and bought with the money a wonderful Steinway grand piano, which has been already delivered to the hall. The events are for now once in a month and are under the patronage of the famous Bulgarian pianist Pavlina Dokovska who teaches at the Julliard School of Music and the Bulgarian opera singer Stefka Evstatieva. The Bulgarian Cultural Centre has been practically functioning for six months now, but its official opening will be on September 26, when it will be in fact legalized in the cultural life of New York.