XXV Dr. Emil Iliev International
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
On August 8, 1998 my husband Dr. Emil Iliev created the largest jazz forum in
Bulgaria – the International Jazz Festival in Bansko. Over the years, this musical
event has gained immense popularity, which quickly spread around the world and attained international recognition.
Today the festival is an emblem of jazz art in Bulgaria and a favourite place for many Bulgarian and foreign stars of elite jazz art. However, the unexpected death of Dr. Emil Iliev in November 2020 presented us with a huge challenge concerning the fate of the festival. Our decision as heirs and team was clear. The festival has to continue to exist, but its name must be filled with new content. That is why it is fully deserved and morally justified The Festival to carry the name of its creator Dr. Emil Iliev and will be called “International Jazz Festival Dr. Emil Iliev”.
Dr. Iliev created this festival from patronage motives with the sole purpose of
promoting and drawing more attention to the mountain town not only as winter, but
also as a summer tourist resort by attracting lovers of the art of music.
As successors of Dr. Emil Iliev, we can proudly say that his mission in Bansko has
been fulfilled. That is why we consider it our moral duty to continue his work with the same goal, but in different place, which has all the features and prerequisites for the development of summer tourism. This new location needs no introduction, as it is the most popular winter resort in Bulgaria, located at the foot of the beautiful Rila Mountains – Borovets resort.
And today, 25 years later, the “International Jazz Festival Dr. Emil Iliev” enjoys the kind hospitality of the Municipality of Samokov and the Borovets resort complex.
For all friends of music and fans of jazz art we have prepared a rich program with the participation of some of the best jazz, funk, reggae, ragtime and blues performers from Bulgaria and abroad, whose virtuoso performances you will get to enjoy in the cool August evenings in the foot of Rilа among the centuries-old pine forests and the murmur of the crystal Rila streams.
Our main goal as successors of Dr. Emil Iliev and organizers is to continue the
implementation of the main faith of the Doctor – to make the “International Jazz
Festival Dr. Emil Iliev” more famous than the jazz festival in the Swiss town of
Director of the International Jazz Festival Dr. Emil Iliev
Friday 05 August
Saturday 06 August
Sunday 07 August
Monday 08 August
Tuesday 09 August
Friday 05 August • Day 1
Big band Blagoevgrad is a professional band, founded in 1993 by the conductor Boris Yanev. The band’s repertoire is rich and diverse: jazz, swing, rock, funk, pop, latino and brasilian music. The band took part in 14 issues of the International Bansko jazz festival; Nishville jazz festival; played concerts in Greece, Hurvatska and all over Bulgaria. Every Year the band plays at the graduation ceremony of the students at the American university in Blagoevgrad.
Guest soloists of the Big band Blagoevgrad are some of the best known Bulgarian jazz and pop musicians as: Vasil Petrov, Kamelia Todorova, Hilda Kazasyan, Yildus Ibrahimova, Stefka Onikian, Petar Salchev, Vesela Morova, Sentimental Swingers, Yordanka Christova, Margarita Chranova, Petya Buyuklieva, Ventzislav Blagoev, Christo Yotzov, Angel Zabersky – son, Vladimir Karparov, Michail Yosifov and also the famous jazz and gospel singer Janis Harrington and Craig Bailay – sax.
Friday 05 August • Day 1
Since 2019 Vlatko Stefanovski has a new younger trio. The talented drummer Yan Stefanovski – his son and Ivan Kukich – bass.
Yan Stefanovski – Not only getting his musical education and experience from his father Vlatko Stefanovski, but he studied jazz drumming at the musical academy in Shtip.
Ivan Kukich – He descends from a famous musical family. Studied musical production and sound design in Belgrade.
Since the beginning of 2019 the young musicians, together with Vlatko Stefanovski, have played more than 50 concerts around Europe including the Macedonian philharmonic orchestra conducted by the composer Djan Emin.
Vlatko Stefanovski: For me music was hobby, became mania, turned to profession and now it is my life.
Strictly said I do not play jazz, but improvisation is that, that nears my music to jazz.
I am horrified by banality, by foreseeing harmonies and melodies. They should be new and fresh.
Yong people should try to be original, to use their imagination.
On stage You should be a star, but in life – normal.
The audience should not give up in front of the tremendous amount of kitsch.
Vlatko Stefanovski was born in Prilep / Macedonia in a theatrical family. He started playing guitar at the age of 13. In his late teens he formed the group LEB I SOL which became one of the most important names in the music scene of former Yugoslavia. LEB I SOL had released 14 albums and had toured around the world.
Since the mid- nineties Stefanovski has developed a very successful solo career. He has recorded remarkable solo releases, like Cowboys & Indians, Sarajevo, Vlatko Stefanovski trio, Kula od karti, Thunder from the blue sky etc. The collaboration with Miroslav Tadic,
on the albums Krushevo, Treta majka, Live in Belgrade, and Live in Zagreb put a new light on Vlatko’s acoustic guitar work, and his further exploration of the Macedonian traditional music.
In the last several years he has played and recorded all around the world with many top artists like Tommy Emmanuel, Stochelo Rosenberg, Gibonni, Jan Akkerman, Theodosii Spassov Stefan Milenkovic, Kudsi Erguner, Bojan Z., Manu Katche, Toni Levin, Big Band of the Slovenian Army, and many others. His recent work also includes music for films, theatre and ballet.
As a soloist Vlatko has performed and recorded with numerous orchestras and enesmbles, like London Simphony Orchestra, MDR Leipzig Simphony Orchestra, Monte Carlo Philcharmony Orchestra, Tonkunstler orchestra from Vienna, Simphonieta Orchestra from Sophia, Slovenian philharmony orchestra – Ljubljana, Student symphony orchestra from Skopje Macedonia, FoolCool Jazz big band, RTV Ljubljana Big Band, Croatian HTV big band, RTV Srbija Big band etc.
Stefanovski is well known for his unique guitar technique and tone. In 2007 Stefanovski was honoured a Doctorate honoris causa in the fields of art at the University St. Kiril and Metodij / Skopje. He lives in Skopje/Macedonia with his family and owns a well-equiped project studio named Esoteria Sound Studio.
FRIDAY 05 AUGUST • DAY 1
Rosalia De Souza was born in Rio de Janeiro, in the Nilopolis district famous for its samba Beija-Flor. The great passion for music was cultivated by her father. In 1989 she arrived in Italy and a short time went by before she started studying at the “Scuola Popolare di Testaccio” in Rome, (Popular school of Testaccio, Roma), taking classes in musical theory, Cuban percussions, jazz and jazz history. Throughout this first year she also started to work with Brazilian artists, guitarist and bassist Alvaro Dos Santos, Ney Coutinho, Roberto Taufic and the Roman pianist Giovanni Guaccero who gave her the possibility to sing in the most important jazz clubs of the capital.
Her typical “repertoire” included classical Brazilian authors like Tom Jobin, Baden Powell, Joao Gilberto, Sergio Mendes, Edu Lobo, Joyce, Toquinho, Vinicius De Moraes, Djavan, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gill, Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento and many other less renown artists
In 1994 she met DJ and Producer Nicola Conte and took part to the Fez project. In 1995 she participated in the making of the album “Novo Esquema da Bossa” by Quintetto X.
With Schema Sextet and Nicola Conte she was called to represent Italy at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2001. She closed with a wonderful concert the Summer Lounge Festival in Cisternino, Italy. “GAROTA MODERNA” is the debut album by Rosalia De Souza, released in 2003, was followed in 2004 by “GAROTA DIFERENTE”. An album containing nujazz revisitations . “BRASIL PRECISA BALANÇAR” is her second amazing album. A recording that took place entirely in Rio de Janeiro under the supervision of Roberto Menescal, a legendary Bossa Nova maestro. This album marks Rosalia’s growth through the return to her country’s original music. Collaborations include the great Marcos Valle; Toco and Roberto Menescal himself.
Saturday 06 August • Day 2
MYX’D is an unconventional chamber ensemble, whose primary goals are to inspire the creation of new classical music compositions, to provoke a symbiosis between the arts, and to combine different styles and genres in search of sensations that are closest to the perceptions of modern man. The musicians of MYX’D are united by a collective vision to create unique adventures for their listeners. MYX’D aims to reinvent the classical music experience for its listeners, offering early exposure for children and creating an atmosphere of spontaneity for adults. Educational concerts for young people and concerts for adults in unexpected venues are some of the key areas, in which MYX’D is developing its performance strategies – blending ingenuity, curiosity, and audacity when designing its repertoire.
MYX’D values a music-making approach that nurtures experimentation. The five core musicians of the ensemble include
violinists Smilyana Lozanova and Yuliyan Stoyanov,
clarinetist Dimitar Moskovsky,
cellist Kristiyan Chernev and
pianist Miroslav Georgiev.
Their diverse backgrounds integrate educational and professional excellence obtained at top American and European schools and universities, as well as work experience at prestigious performing institutions all over the world – from North and South America to Europe and South Africa.
SATURDAY 06 August • Day 2
The infusion of pure energy and the sound that won’t leave your mind and body indifferent in any moment – is Kal Band.
The eclectic rhythm created by the combination of Western Balkan music with swing, jazz, blues, and pop brings a completely new and original sound that is applied from the first to the last chords.
The group was founded in 1996. Since then, over a thousand concerts have been played abroad. They participated in all major European festivals: Fusion Festival – Germany, Pepsi Sziget Festival – Hungary, Berlinale Festival – Germany, EXIT Festival – Serbia, Belgrade Beer Fest – Serbia, Kustendorf Film and Music Festival – Serbia, Nisville Jazz Festival – Serbia…
Those are the pure aesthetics of the minor scale, so it’s no surprise that western, music critics, the style that the Roma group put into our lives called Rock’N’Roma, or Gypsy Rockabilly.
Among the awards they have won are:
● 2007 – First place on the annual chart of the World Chart Music Chart of Europe in
● – Davorin Popovic Award for Best Video in the Former Yugoslavia 2007;
● 2009 – Second place on the annual chart of the World Chart Music Chart of Europe in
● – Top 20 World Music CDs of the Year for band KAL;
● 2016 – Golden Badge of the Cultural Education Community of Serbia for outstanding
contribution in the field of culture.
The music that is created carries Balkan style and Roma rhythm. It is an original and unexpected mix that simultaneously sounds both traditional and urban.
They have, to date, published four CDs: Traditional music from Serbia, Asphalt Tango (2006), Radio Romanista (2009) and Romology (2013).
After that, they released several singles, the last of which was Chapter 23.
Sunday 07 August • Day 3
In “The Jazz News” the trumpet player, composer, arranger and music master Mihail Yossifov has gathered a team of young musicians who are currently studying at or have graduated from the National Music Academy in Sofia. Together they work on creating a rich repertoire of jazz, funk and bossa nova plays, part of which are also beautiful original compositions – written either by Misho Yossifov, or by the band’s
“The Jazz News” is a talented sextet with two exceptional vocals complementing each other in a perfect way – the sunny, smiling voice of Veleka Tsankova, and the powerful, lively timbre of Lachezar Katzarski. At the concert on August 7, the band will present its program “Friday Night at the Cadillac Club” – its business card for a quality musical experience.
Mihail Yossifov & The Jazz News are:
Veleka Tsankova – vocal
Lachezar Katzarski – vocal
Mihail Yossifov – trumpet
Alexandros Krasidis – saxophone
Nikolay Kostadinov – piano
Krasimir Zafirov – guitar
Kalina Andreeva – bass guitar
Ivaylo Manev – drums
Sunday 07 August • Day 3
Julian Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, is a Grammy award nominated, roots-reggae musician, singer-songwriter, producer and humanitarian. In the same tradition as his father, Julian “Ju Ju” Marley is a devout Rastafarian whose music is inspired by life and spirituality. Growing up as a youth in a musical atmosphere, Julian quickly adopted a musical lifestyle and at an early age and became a skillful, self-taught musician mastering the bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. By the tender age of five, Marley recorded his first demo. During Julian’s formative years in Jamaica, he began to study under legendary reggae veterans such as Aston “Family Man” Barrett, Carlton Barrett, Earl “Wire” Lindo. In 1987 he formed a band called The Uprising, a roots-reggae band comprised of young Jamaican players performed with The Wailers.
In 1993 the gifted Marley brothers began to form their musical path. Julian, Stephen , Damian and Kymani Marley formed a group called the Ghetto Youths Crew, a project that would find Julian touring the United States with his brothers for three consecutive years. In 1996 Julian released his debut album. In 1998, Julian contributed a vast range of musical elements to singer Lauryn Hill’s Grammy Award winning album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Julian’s childhood was equally split between England and Jamaica, Though Jamaican at heart Julian has widely credited his British upbringing as a deep influence on his musical career.
In 2002, Julian and his brothers Stephen and Damian officially incorporated Ghetto Youths International, Inc., the family owned record label that was first founded by Ziggy Marley and Stephen Marley in 1989. In 2003 Marley recorded his sophomore effort entitled, A Time and Place at the Lion’s Den in Miami. An organic fusion of rootical reggae and jazz. Now, with the release of his sophomore album, Julian embarked on his own world tour that was backed by his band The Uprising. At the invitation of the Jamaican government, Julian Marley and The Uprising performed during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
In 2009, Julian Marley’s career rose to new heights with the success of his Grammy Award Nominated release entitled, Awake. Julian’s ‘Awake’ world tour with his band The Uprising stemmed into a major North American, Caribbean and European run that included tour of Australia and New Zealand.
In May 2010, Awake took home the award for ‘Best Album of the Year’ at the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) in New York City.
A humanitarian at heart, Julian Marley naturally leans toward building on charitable missions and contributing to the Ghetto Youths Foundation.
Monday 08 August • Day 4
Alexandroff Ragtime Band (ARB) was initiated in the summer of 1986 by Roumen “Fats” Alexandroff, banjo. Their first performance was in April 1987 within the program of the National “Youth Jazz Stage”, carried from Sofia to Plovdiv. (ARB unites a circle of Sofia musicians with thorough interests in the traditional jazz – Ragtime, Blues, Dixieland.) It was founded as a trio, thus: clarinet, banjo and tuba, but has been working as an open accepting system, which for the variable engagements was welcoming other musicians – piano, trumpet, trombone, saxophone. The only rule with no exceptions was the absence of percussion instruments.
From its foundation and now ARB is a participant in almost all national and international jazz festivals conducted in Bulgaria: Sofia, Sopot, Plovdiv, Ruse, Gabrovo, Stara Zagora, Teteven, Bansko, Burgas etc.
Meri Natcheva – vocal
Desi Tileva – vocal
Stojko Radnev – trumpet
Nevilian Gemijev – clarinet, vocal
Roumen Fats Alexandrov – banjo, vocal
Dimitar Uzunov – tuba
Monday 08 August • Day 4
The Antonio Flinta Quartet is a talented group with a passion for contemporary jazz music. Their sound is warm, spontaneous and direct, combining timeless sophistication with skillful musicianship and great arrangement ideas. Original compositions and an intense interplay are the means to explore moods, colours, textures and space, through driving rhythmic grooves or intimate ballads, through mantra-like vamps or free form songs, always bearing in mind that music – universal language – must communicate.
Jazz pianist, composer and educator, born in Chile, Antonio Flinta studied at Taller de Musicos in Madrid and at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and from 1990 settled in Rome.
In 1993 he formed a trio, that enlarged to a quartet in 2008.
Antonio Flinta with his trio and quartet has recorded ten albums and performed at a countless number of clubs, theaters and festivals on four continents.
Antonio Flinta Quartet are:
Antonio Flinta – piano
Luciano Orologi – tenor and soprano sax
Roberto Bucci – bass
Claudio Gioannini – drums
Tuesday 09 August • Day 5
The Big band of the Bulgarian National Radio has been founded in 1960 and quickly becomes part of the musical life of the country.
At the start of it’s existence, the band is conducted by Jule Levi, Dimitar Ganev, Georgi Ganev, Emil Georgiev and Milcho Leviev. In 1965, for 33 years, conductor becomes Vili Kazasyan. Since 2010 the lead of the Big band is taken by one of the most popular and talented jazz musicians – composer and pianist Antoni Donchev.
The Big band is a wished for guest of the international jazz festivals in Bansko, Ruse, Plovdiv and the biggest summer cultural forum – “Apolonia“. Memorable are the participations at the “Sofia musical weeks“ Festival.
The band regularly records for the fund of the Bulgarian national radio especially composed and arranged for it works – instrumental and with vocals, jazz standards, different pop, funk, rock and world music projects.
All of the most notable names of the Bulgarian jazz and pop scene have been soloists of the Big band, among them: Theodosi Spassov, Simeon Shterev, Yildus Ibrahimova, Vasil Petrov, Kamelia Todorova, Orlin Pavlov and others. The band has worked with some world’s famous musicians like Natalie Cole, Randy Brecker, Josephine Baker, Tom Harel, George Garzon, Joe Lovano, Christian Elsaesser, Kurt Elling, Tommy Smith, Conrad Herwig, Erik Truffaz, Vlatko Stefanovski, Alex Sipyagin, David Linx – winner of Grammy award for best jazz album and best jazz musician of 2005, Craig Bailey and many others.
The soloists of the Big band – the best of the best Bulgarian Jazzmen will play at the International jazz festival Dr. Emil Iliev 2022 at Borovetz.
Tuesday 09 August • Day 5
Montuno-BG features elite musicians from various genres – jazz, rock, Bulgarian traditional music amongst others. The band’s music organically intertwines Bulgarian folklore with the harmony of jazz and modern fusion sound. Modern arrangements facilitate a fluent musical synergies between traditional Bulgarian tambourа, folklore singing and the electronic instruments. Thus, they create an original sound environment where folk melodic and rhythmic motifs mix with original jazz improvisations. Most of the compositions pulsate in the rhythm of famous Bulgarian folk songs and dances. Тheir show includes songs from the band’s first album “My Burning Heart” – 2021, which aroused great interest among Bulgarian fans of jazz and ethno music.
The Montuno-BG members are:
Krassi Jeliazkov (BG tamboura, guitar) – creator of the band and author of the music and arrangements. Music producer, writes music for theatre, film, jazz and ethno music. Creator of the unique music project Balkan Horses Band.
Diyana Vasileva (vocal) – soloist in the world-famous Grammy – winning choir – Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices. Working with famous artist such as Lisa Gerrard, Chris Cornell, Sagi Abitbul – the Israeli DJ, Armin van Buren.
Arnau Garrofé (sax & flute) – he had the chance to play with great musicians such as the ex-jazz messenger Philip Harper, the late Kris Goessens, Erik Ineke and others. 2016 Arnau was awarded as “Best Solo Instrumentalist” in the Johnny Raducanu International Jazz Festival held in Braila, Romania.
Radoslav Slavchev RIVERMAN (bass) – one of the leading bass guitarists in Bulgaria. Awarded the prize Best Musician at the Bulgarian RnB Awards 2022. He has recorded and worked with famous artists such as: Cecilia Long (USA), Frank McComb, the legendary American drummer Poogie Bell, Valya Balkanska, Ivo Papazov, Theodosii Spassov and others.
Pavel Tzonev (keyboards) – In a short time he became one of the most sought-after young pianists in the country. Participated in the recording of the album of Tom Sinatra (guitar) – nephew of the legendary Frank Sinatra.
Deyan Iliev (drums) – one of the best young drummers on the Bulgarian Pop, Rock & Jazz scene, a favorite studio and session musician.
Tuesday 09 August • Day 5
Composition & Director _ Jungsu Choi
Voice & Clarinet _ Jinho Pyo
Flute _ Eunmi Kim
Alto sax._ Bo-Kyung
Tenor sax._Hachul Song
Trumpet_ Yea Jung Kim
Trombone_ Changmin Lee
Guitar_ Sungyoon Hong
Piano_ Jungmin Lee
Bass_ Inseop Song
Drums_ Hyunsu Lee
Progressive large jazz ensemble from Korea.
In whatever direction jazz might develop, I am ready to welcome the new jazz, bye-bye jazz era!
Jungsu Choi’s music is meant to free jazz from jazz, without any labels.
Twelve first-class Korean jazz musicians have come together under the name of Jungsu Choi Tiny Orkester.
Their European debut album Tschüss Jazz Era was released on Challenge Records, followed by a stage debut at BIMHUIS Amsterdam.
JTO is a big jazz ensemble consisting of five horns, male voice, a four-piece rhythm section and composers with a unique, contemporary jazz interpretation and modern, original compositions.
Since the debut in Europe, JTO has got rave reviews from the media all over the world such as Jazziz, NPO, and HR2.
Moreover The ensemble was nominated in the 2019 Korean Music Awards for Best jazz performance of the year and selected as best jazz album by all jazz magazines in Korea.
Performers in the orchestra prove an incredible performance, transporting Jungsu’s exceptionally demanding music with skill and creative solo performances. This compact big band shows well how modern, orchestral jazz can interpret old jazz standards in a unique fashion.
This is not an ordinary big band sound that you have listened to.
”JTO has put together a sensational record that not only revitalizes both big band and fusion but also spawns something entirely new…absolutely slay. Incredible.”
★★★★★ Music-News.com / UK
“Choi’s Tiny Orkester leaves no doubt that it is a topnotch player…He is a talented composer / arranger who certainly bears watching”
★★★★★ All About Jazz / US
“This ensemble broadens the horizon of jazz expression. JTO can’t help sounding conservative. While Choi’s writing for his Korean band is far from predictable, he achieves a big band sound with a 10 piece unit.
JAZZIZ / US
It should certainly be considered for best jazz orchestra… & I can’t emphasize it strongly enough – this IS the NEW JAZZ!
★★★★★ Contemporary Fusion Reviews / US
“At the moment, twelve high-profile musicians from Korea..They will open a new horizon this year.”
HR / German public broadcast
“This is a super-structured orchestral jazz
NPO / Netherlands national broadcast