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Blago Simeonov

BLAGO SIMEONOV was born in Bulgaria on April 1, 1934. He graduated with a clarinet and composition major at the Sofia State Conservatory, followed by post graduate studies in chamber music and composition at the Prague Academy of Music.

At the age of 18 he was a clarinetist with professional orchestras, later giving radio recitals and concerts of his music in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Holland, and Canada. In 1965 Simeonov created Fuga Idearum, a one man multi-media show of his poetry, paintings and music. The work was premiered in Warsaw, with the celebrated Polish actor Gustav Holoubek delivering the narration. The following year the critically acclaimed “nonstop” moved to Prague and then to Sofia, where it was stopped and banned by the communist authorities.

After finishing his post-graduate studies in Prague Simeonov returned to the Sofia State Conservatory, teaching chamber music from 1965-70. Critical remarks on the professional skills of a Party member conductor resulted in a threatening interrogation by the Bulgarian KGB. The composer risked an escape from the People's Republic of Bulgaria and succeeded. In Holland, on his way to Canada, he gave a radio recital performing his works, joining for short time the Rotterdam symphony under Edo de Vaart.

Arriving in Canada in 1970, he taught music in a North York high school. In 1972 he joined the staff of the Royal Conservatory, gave recitals featuring his music, and encouraged and guided his students to compose. Between 1975-80 he organized the annual Canadian Concerts Series, dedicated to woodwind music by Canadian composers, and in 1984 he was invited by the University of Delaware to produce a multi-media work for the New Music Festival, later produced in Woolftrap Arts Festival, The Festival of Sound, Canada.

Simeonov is teaching privately by arrangement with university music departments, while working on new multi-media projects and pursuing other endeavors. In 2001 Artscan-Music released six publications featuring Simeonov’s works. His works has been published by several Canadian and American music publishers, and have been performed in Canada, US, Argentina, Norway, Bulgaria, and Holland.

On music: “Denouncing or disregarding tonality is as easy as treating harmonic ratios as objects. Declaring the equally tempered keyboard a functionless set of frequencies does not free the inner ear from the dominant, as ever-present as gravity. Defined by notation, like in the music of Bach, or undefined in the evolved treatment of sonics today, a dominant functions wherever there is sound, acknowledged or not… To reflect the complexity of an evolved artificial creation – our world today – an artist need not deafen himself and others for the song his good mother sang. He needs to communicate, not to think of new ways to communicate. Making clever art is the curse I see around me and in me. Breaking free of it is my goal.”

Selected Works by Blago Simeonov

Music Theatre and Multi-media

• Empire Time 4 AM (1986) 15 min.

Composer (an actor), Recorded audio, projected images and audience.

Published: Toronto, Ontario: Artscan Music 1985

• The Tricks of Max and Moritz (1984) 30 min.

(After the story by Wilhelm Busch).

Reed trio, narrator, projection screen.

Premiere: March 20, 1984, Delaware, New Music Festival; La Chambre d'Anches.

Published: Toronto, Ontario: Artscan Music 2001


• Scherzino for Small Orchestra (1962) 4 min.


Premiere: Sofia Radio Orchestra, 1963

Orchestra with Soloist(s)

• The Tricks of Max and Moritz (1988) 30 min.

(After the story by Wilhelm Busch)

Narrator, reed trio (Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon)/2222/4231/2 timpani, 3 percussions; projection screen. Premiere: Scarborough Symphony Orchestra, 1988

Chamber Ensemble

• Ali and the Beeping Time (1978) 9 min.

E-flat clarinet, B-flat clarinet, alto E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet.

Commissioned by the Rotterdam Clarinet Quartet.

Published: Toronto, Ontario: Artscan-Music 2001

• Baroque Ceremonial, Intermezzo, Pastorale
(1962) 14 min.

E-flat clarinet, 2 B-flat clarinets, alto clarinet, bass clarinet or wind quintet. Premiere US Airforce Band Clarinet Quintet, , 2013.

Published: Toronto, Ontario: Artscan-Music 2007

• Little Overture from The Tricks of Max and Moritz (1962) 3 min.

Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon.

Published: San Antonio, Texas: Southern Music Company 1983

• Farewell, Pastorales! (1969, rev. 1978) 9 min.

Woodwind quintet.

Premiere 1979 by TSO/RCMT, recorded by CBC.

Published: Toronto, Ontario: Artscan-Music 2007

• Folk Song and Dance; Double Bass part by Helen Simeonov (1973) 4 min.

Clarinet, Double Bass.

Published: Toronto, Ontario: Artscan-Music

• Melodramata (1965, 1977) 11 min.

Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Timpani. Optional Vocals: Soprano, Alto.

Published: Toronto, Ontario: Artscan-Music 2007

• Two Inventions (1967, 1983) 7 min.

Flute, Clarinet.

Published: Toronto, Ontario: Artscan-Music 2001