VAPIROV – TARASOV QUARTET 47 (Bulgaria/Lithuania/Greece)
Anatoly Vapirov – sax (Bulgaria)
Valdimir Tarasov – drums, perc (Lithuania)
Antoni Donchev – piano (Bulgaria)
Yiotis Kiourtsoglou – el. Bass (Greece)
Especially through his work in the jazz Avantgarde of the former Soviet Union Anatoly Vapirov is known to friends of improvising music. He was the leading saxophonist and one of the most important composers of Leningrad’s contemporary jazz scene.
Due to family reasons – his father and his wife are Bulgarian- in 1985 he moved to Varna in Bulgaria. Since 1992 he has been leading the Varna jazz Festival, which presented a sophisticated program and became an important axis for encounter between jazz musicians from East and West Europe . “In the beginning I was inviting musicians, because I wanted to play with them myself,” says Anatoly. “Meanwhile some kind of musical workshop has developed; a laboratory, where musicians from East and West can meet.”
In 1974 – still in Soviet times – with the “Bulgarian Rondo” for saxophone and orchestra Vapirov already referred to his Bulgarian roots. As early as the mid-seventies and in opposition to many free-jazz-hardliners, Vapirov included the entire range of classical music, chamber-music, jazz and folklore within his expressive style.
He composed a Concerto for a jazz quartett, mezzosoprano and choir (“Slav Mystery,” 1977) as well as a piece for bass, piano, saxophone and string quartett, that reflects the music of Alban Berg (“Lines of Destiny,” 1980). His borderline frankness would expose itself likewise in projects with symphony orchestras and Sibirian folklore ensembles.
In the “Fairy Tale Trio” Anatoly plays the soprano saxophone exclusively. The musician, who is also known as a brilliant clarinettist and tenor saxophone player, doesn’t blow his trio collegues off the stage. The sound of the soprano saxophone merges most sufficiently with Spassov’s kaval.
“I have grown older and maybe a little wiser,” he explains. “Good music doesn’t come out of unrestricted strenghth and expressivity only, but also out of deep probing.”
He worked and made recordings with different musicians: Tavitian (Romania); Muthspiel, Lechner (Austria); Dasek (Czech Rep); Lantos (Hungary); Tomlinson, Guy, Wachsman, Rutherford und Surman (England); Krog (Norge); Kowald, Zerbe, Moscher, Tang, Dix and Kugel (Germany); Vysniauskas und Labutis (Lithunia); Gebbia, Dato, Fazio und Minarfa (Italy); Leviev, Donchev, Yotsov, Yankoulov und Spassov (Bulgaria); Kiourtsoglou (Greece); Kuznetzov und Izmailov (Ukraine); Kyriochin, Tarasov, Shilkoper, Volkov und Ponomareva (Russia); Louis Sclavis (France); Aydogdu und Ibrahimova (Turkey); Sainkho (Tuva); Tomasz Stanko (Poland); Tony Buck (Australia); Mal Waldron (USA) etc.
Vladimir Tarasov was born in Archangelsk, Russia.
Since 1968 he has lived and worked in Vilnius, Lithuania. For many years Tarasov performed with the Lithuanian Symphonic Orchestra and other symphonic, chamber, and jazz orchestras in Lithuania, Europe and the USA.
From 1971 to 1986, Tarasov was a member of the well-known contemporary jazz music trio – GTC (Viatcheslav Ganelin, Vladimir Tarasov, Vladimir Chekasin). With the Trio and many other artists and orchestras he has recorderd more than 100 records and CDs including numerous solo performances.
V. Tarasov also writes music for orchestras, film, and theatre: Staatstheater, Stuttgart – 1995, Majestic Theater at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York – 1995; Josef Nadj Centre Choreographique National Orleans, Orleans – 1998, 2004; Theatre Vidy-Lausanne, Meierhold Centre, Moskow – 2003; Arte France, Paris – 2006, Eudeka Media, Poland; Yleisradio, Finland – 2009, etc.
Since 1991 he has been working in the visual arts, both solo, and collaborating with artists such as Ilya Kabakov, Sarah Flohr, and others. He has participated in many one-person and group exhibitions: Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf – 1991; La Biennale de Venezia, Venice – 1993; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago – 1993; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris – 1995; Leopold Hoesch Museum, Düren – 1998; Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris – 2000; Contemporary Art Center – DOM, Moscow – 2002; State Tretyakov Gallery,Moskow, The State Hermitage Museum, St.Petersburg – 2004; The State Russian Museum St.Petersburg, Ludwig Museum in The Russian Museum – 2003, 2005; National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), Moscow – 2006, 2008. 2010; Copper Smithy, Fiskars, Finland – 2006; 2nd and 3rd Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow – 2007, 2009; El Pabellon de las Artes, EXPO-2008, Zaragoza; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach – 2008, etc.
In 1999 Tarasov directed the play “Drink Up” (adapted from the poem by Venedikt Erofejev) at the Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania. On the same stage in 2002, Tarasov directed the opera “The Return of Dionysos” by Edwin Geist (1902 – 1942).
He has taught and given lectures at the Podewill Center in Berlin, the Music Academy in Bremen, and the Academy of Art, Orleans (France); the Kunst Akademie Düsseldorf; the Art Academy, Vilnius; the Art Department at California State University, Sacramento; the Department of Music at the Universtiy of the Pacific, Stockton, California; and at the Institute for Studio Studies in conjunction with the Yale University Summer Session in Pont Aven, France.
In 1993 – 1994, he received a grant from the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (Germany); and in 1998 from the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy. He is the author of the book, “Trio,” published by “Baltos Lankos” publishing house (Vilnius, 1998), “NLO” publishing house (Moscow, 2004), Hosei University (Japan 2016) and “Tam – Tam” published by “NLO” publishing house (Moscow, 2009).
In 2009, Vladimir Tarasov received the Triumph Prize in Moscow: Russia’s independent prize for the highest achievements in literature and art. He was awarded Lithuania’s National Culture and Arts Prize in 2016.
Mr. Tarasov has performed with such musicians and artists as Andrew Cyrille, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Anthony Braxton, Lauren Newton, and Josef Nadj.
Antoni Donchev is a pianist and composer whose name has been connected with all the major prestigious Bulgarian jazz awards over the last fifteen years.
He really began his career when he founded the “Acoustic Version” jazz formation. Its first performance on a European music stage was awarded the Grand Prix at the Hoeilaart Jazz Contest in Belgium in 1985.
A year later, “Acoustic Version” won another award: the jury headed by Joachim-Ernst Berendt and Pavel Brodowski gave the Grand Prix of the International Jazz Federation to Antony Donchev and Christov Yotsov, and the ‘Europe’s Young Jazz Artist of 1986’ title.
The following years, “Acoustic Version” performed at numerous world famous jazz festivals like Ost-West, Nurnberg – Jazz Jamboree, Warsow – Jazz Yatra, Bombay and Delhi – Prague Jazz Festival – Jazz Fair in Zagreb, Moscow, Tbilissi, Roermond, Thessaloniki, Istanbul…
Alongside with his activities within “Acoustic Version”, Antoni Donchev realizes a number of other projects with musicians from all over Europe; performs as a visiting pianist home and abroad; promotes piano concertos, dedicated to him, performed and recorded together with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra; composes music for films and theatre.
Since a few years, he has been working writing music for stage director Stefan Moskov. Moskov’s staging of ‘Swang Songs’ in Schauspielhaus in Dusseldorf, ‘Macbu’ in Bremer Theatre, ‘Home No.13’ and ‘Blue in blue’ in Thalia Theatre in Hamburg were very well received by the German critics.
Antony Donchev is a musician, who can easily and skillfully handle the brood variety of forms in performing and composing at the end of the 20th century. He has no difficulty whatever combining the versality of jazz stylistics with floklore and classical music in all their aspects. He participates to the recording of the album “Baroque & Jazz” [PolySound inc.], with the reknown flutist, Simeon Shterev: an album where sonates [from Michel Blavet] meet jazz standards.
2000 he release an album with some of his compositions for the theater, that will be called “Home No.13”.
2003 New Projects with Kenny Wheeler and Tomasz Stanko.
2004 New Project with Glen Moore, Klaus Kugel and Eric Vloeimans.
He also worked with: Lars Danielsson, Mihaly Dresch, Kornel Horvath, Zoltan Lantos, George Garzone, Rainer Winterschladen, Floros Floridis, Ivo Papasov, Andrew Scofield, Tomi Smith etc.
Since 2010 Antoni Donchev has been director of Bulgaria’s National Radio Big Band. He has realized project with the big band and musicians like Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano and Jerry Bergonzi for this period. Many special projects have emerged, such as the project with gypsy musicians and the big band “JAZZPHONIA“.
He studied at the Musicians Institute, Los Angeles, where he was awarded with the ‘MI scholarship award as the Most Improved Student of the Year in 1987. He was also nominated as the Most Outstanding Player of the year. He studied with Garry Willis, Carl Schroeder, Bob Magnuson, Scott Henderson Joe Diorio. World class bassist / Recording artist /Clinician, has been a member of the groups: ‘Electric Jazz Trio’ featuring Manny Boyd, Danny Hayes, ‘EXIT’ trio with Marc Halbheer and Lior Yekutieli, ‘IASIS’ trio and ‘Tilman’ (Martin Tilman). He has been performing with the ‘Human Touch’ trio (David Lynch, Stavros Lantsias) for the last 13 years. He has also been performing with Milcho Leviev for the last 5 years. He has been a professional musician for the last 25 years. Yiotis Kiourtsoglou has been a professor at the Nakas Conservatory (Athens, Greece) since 1994. Yiotis Kiourtsoglou has participated in recordings and concerts with : Danny Hayes, Manny Boyd, Billy Hart, the Interbalcan Orchestra, the Athens Symphony Orchestra as a soloist, David Lynch, Stavros Lantsias, Haig Yzadjian, Vangelis Karipis, Anatoly Vapirov, Zoltan Lantos, Stoyan Yankoulov, Enver Izmailov, Marc Halbheer, Lior Yekutieli, Milcho Leviev, Michael Lambert, Billy Cobham and Peter Erskine. He was also a soloist in the KAMERATA (recordings and concerts) performing a composition of Giya Kanchelli. He released his personal album ‘HAPOPSIS’ in 2006. Yiotis Kiourtsoglou is Professor in Nakas Conservatory.