SOFIA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA TURNS 80
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra opened its 80th season with a concert at the UNESCO's building in Paris. This fact remained in the shadow of the Government's official version that the event was organized as a celebration of the 100 anniversary of the country's independence (which took place on September 22, 1908). However, it is sufficient reason for us to tell the story of Bulgaria's largest musical institution to the readers of the BANKER weekly. The Philharmonic Orchestra has so far gained acknowledgment practically everywhere in the world.
On January 10, 1924, members of the orchestra of the National Opera created the Bulgarian National Philharmonic Orchestra which didn't last for long (only until 1927 when the Opera started performing its own philharmonic concerts). This is the time when the conductor Sasha Popov came back from Germany and actively tooks part in the cultural life of the capital. He was the first violinist of the Opera, established a string quarter and was the conductor of the Varnensko Liato festival (1928) until the idea for a new symphonic orchestra was born. He shared his vision with the director of the National Academy of Music, Dimitar Hadzhigerov, who was very enthusiastic about it. On 1st of December 1928 a contract was signed which in fact created the Academic Symphonic Orchestra and appointed Sasha Popov for its director and conductor in the same time. Unfortunately, the orchestra did not have stable financial support and several years later it would start searching for support from state institutions. The then Ministry of Education was the first authority the newly formed orchestra sought protection from, but it could not afford to have that many people on the payroll. However, the Defence Ministry responded more enthusiastically, partly because it was in the plan of some generals to set up a large military orchestra.
On January 1, 1945, the orchestra was transformed into a State Symphonic Orchestra at the Radio Broadcasting Department of the Ministry of Information and Arts.
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra is the Bulgarian orchestra that has played with the largest number of famous soloists and conductors.