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The mentors, coaches and jury members from the foundation of the festival



With the name of Antoni Donchev you can connect with almost all prestigious performances of Bulgarian jazz in the past years. His star rose as a co-founder of the renowned formation "Acoustic version", which even more so with its first appearance on the European podium won the grand prize at the competition in Hoeilaart - Belgium in 1985. A year later, in Leverkusen, Germany, the "Acoustic Version" was awarded the most the prestigious award of the European Jazz - the international jury, led by Joachim-Ernst Berendt and Pavel Brodowski award the European Jazz Grand Prize federation of Antoni Donchev and Hristo Yotsov, and declares them "Young European Jazz Artists '86 ". An extremely fruitful period followed, in which Antoni Donchev together with "Acoustic version" reaps success on world stages and renowned jazz festivals: Ost-West in Nuremberg, Jazz Jamboree in Warsaw, Jazz Jatra in Bombay, Zagreb, Hanover, Prague, Roermond, Moscow, Istanbul, Tbilisi, Thessaloniki and others. In parallel with his activity with "Acoustic version", Antoni Donchev carries out projects with various world famous musicians (Joe Lovano, Kurt Elling, George Garzone, Kenny Wheeler, Tom Harrell, Tomasz Stanko, Jerry Bergonzi, Conrad Herwig, Tommy Smith, Vladimir Tarasov, Petras Vysniauskas, Stephane Belmondo, Reiner Winterschladen, Eric Vloeimans, Lars Danielsson, Glen Moore, Christof Lauer, Benjamin Schmid, Georg Breinschmid, NDR Big Band, etc.), toured as a solo pianist, premiered concerts for
piano created especially for him and recorded with the Symphony Orchestra of Bulgarian National Radio composes film and theater music. It releases a CD discs for BMG, Balkanton, Sony Music, Polysound, Kuker Music and others. During the past years working very successfully with theater director Teddy Moskov, whose productions of "Swan Song" at the Schauspielhaus - Düsseldorf (1995), "Macby" at the Bremer Theater – Bremen (1996), "House No. 13", "Blue in Blue" and "Cyrano" at the Thalia Theater - Hamburg (1997-2003) are accepted with superlatives by German critics. He has won a number of awards for theatrical and film music. Conductor of the Big Band of the Bulgarian Radio since 2010. Chairman of the Board of the Bulgarian Music Association since its establishment until 2018. Antoni Donchev is a vivid example of a contemporary musician who easily and skillfully handles the diverse forms of music making in the early 21st century, and which without problems can combine the diversity of jazz style, folklore and classical music in all their aspects.



Mihail Yosifov (trumpet) is one of the most successful Bulgarian musicians. He graduated from the trumpet class of Rusin Atev at the National Music School "Lyubomir Pipkov", and later from the National Music Academy "Pancho Vladigerov" in the classes of Stoycho Radev and Angel Makedonski.
Trumpeter, composer, arranger and teacher, full of creative energy and always ready for experiments, Misho Yosifov is the engine behind the creation of various successful music projects - Mihail Yosifov sextet, Sentimental Swingers, Roma Neno Project, BA COMBO, MYXTET.
He is one of the most sought after musicians in Bulgaria, both for studio recordings and for concert performances. Among the musicians he played with were Mike Stern, Dave Weckle, Mezzoforte, Dephazz, Peter Herbolzheimer, Karen Bernod, Randy Brecker, Max Moya, Milcho Leviev, Teodosii Spasov, Angel Zaberski, Antoni Donchev, Hilda Kazasyan, Hristo Yotsov.
Misho participates in jazz, pop and ethno festivals all over Europe. In 2009 he received the Crystal Lyre Award for Jazz Musician of the Year of the Union of Bulgarian Music and Dance Figures. Shortly afterwards he was awarded the Golden Feather Award by Jazz FM and Classic FM for special contribution to Bulgarian culture.
In the summer of 2014, Mihail Yosifov was invited to join the tour of the world-famous American band Pink Martini, and since then for the third year he has participated not only in the European tours of the band, but also in their concerts on some of the world's biggest stages.



Born in Barcelona, Arnau Garrofé developed musically in the Netherlands, studying jazz in The Hague and Rotterdam. During the years he lived there, he had the chance to play with great musicians such as Philip Harper, Chris Gessens, Eric Ineke and others.
After playing all over the Netherlands and Belgium, in 2014 Arnau decided to go to Asia, looking for new challenges. He plays regularly at leading clubs in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Since 2016 he has lived in Sofia, where he quickly became one of the most sought-after musicians on the jazz scene. He is known for his performances together with "Brass Association Big Band", "Jazz Cats" by Hristo Yotsov, the educational project "Jazztory" and numerous collaborations with Mihail Yosifov.
In October 2016, Arnau was awarded the "Best Solo Instrumentalist" award at the Johnny Raducanu International Jazz Festival in Braila, Romania.



Borislav Petrov is a jazz drummer and composer. He began his professional career at the age of 19 with the famous pop-rock band Slang and the folk fusion quartet Brainstorm. He received his musical education in the Netherlands, completing the jazz program "New York Comes to Groningen" at the Prince Klaus Conservatory, followed by the master's program at the Amsterdam Conservatory, led by American and Dutch jazz drummers. He studies the Bulgarian uneven meters, the historical development of folk percussion instruments, as well as the possibilities for their integration into other styles of music. His article, based on this study, was published in the prestigious Dutch Journal Of Music Theory (2012).
Among Borislav's most important projects are:
Tin Men & The Telephone - an interactive multimedia piano trio based in Amsterdam. In addition to his three studio albums and tours, Tin Men & The Telephone is involved in a series of educational activities in schools in the Netherlands. The band was nominated for the 2016 British Jazz FM awards in the digital initative category.
Jazzanitza - his own project, where Petrov composes music, combining jazz with Bulgarian folklore.
Borislav is the creator, producer and host of Jazztory.
In Bulgaria Borislav works with musicians such as Teodosii Spasov, Antoniy Donchev, Vasil Petrov, Angel Zaberski, Dimitar Bodurov, Kamelia Todorova, Vladimir Karparov, Dimitar Liolev, Mihail Yosifov and many others.

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Academic musician, teacher and experienced cultural expert.
Founder and owner of D Stars School for Singers - Sofia. Lecturer in Vocal Arts - pop and jazz singing. Applies its own unique methodology based on world practices developed by leading vocal experts (CVT - Cathrine Sadolin; Scat techniques - Bob Stoloff, Judy Niemack; Richard Miller, Karin Ploog, Rhiannon, Jessie Nemitz, etc.), combined with personal teaching style combined with an individual approach to each performer. He specializes in the field of Vocal Jazz.
Winner of many prestigious awards, she prefers the achievements of her students to speak for themselves.
Master classes:
- 2012 - Scat! Vocal improvisation techniques - prof. Bob Stoloff (Berklee College Of Music), Milan, Italy
- 2013 - Vocal techniques in pop and jazz singing – YulduzIbragimova
- 2014 - Master class in Vocal improvisation and Circle singing - Christiane Karam (Berklee College Of Music)
- 2017 - Workshops in the International School of Gospel Music, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Dimitar Karamfilov is one of the most sought-after concert and studio double bass players in Bulgaria. He plays with the most prominent musicians (pop and jazz) in the country (Milcho Leviev, Teodosi Spasov, Antoni Donchev, Zhivko Petrov, Angel Zaberski, Maria Ilieva, Beloslava and many others) and abroad (Jerry Bergondzi-USA, Pink Martini-USA, Mario Stanchev-France, Vladimir Karparov-Germany, etc.)
He recorded music for BNT, BNR, BTV and others. in a number of shows and projects.
He teaches double bass at the Pancho Vladigerov National Music Academy in the period 2014-2017.



Yordan Vladev is a composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. He plays piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, tambourine, accordion, various types of wooden flutes from around the world, didgeridoo, charango, ukulele and more. He graduated from the Academy of Arts, then studied at the Academy of Music, and is currently studying psychology. He writes songs, film, ballet and theater music, choral, chamber and orchestral works, many songs for children, folklore arrangements and more. He works with various ensembles - pop and rock groups, jazz and ethno bands, choirs, children's ensembles, as well as with a number of Bulgarian and foreign performers, in whose projects he participates as a guest musician, composer, arranger or sound engineer. He has given concerts in Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Greece, Serbia, Macedonia, Turkey and South Korea. He is the author of the music for the performances "Serdirikon", "Memory of the Fire", "Night of the White Horses", “Metamorphoses”, "The Yellow Guest" and others. In 2010 he founded the Music Center "Art Libitum", where he teaches and leads an improvisation class. 18 years ago he equipped his own recording studio in Sofia. He has released 12 albums, as well as participated in several hundred other projects by other artists. His children's songs are included in music textbooks from 1st to 7th grade and are studied by children all over Bulgaria.



Kalin Zhechev played the piano from the age of 6 until the end of his secondary education as a graduate of the piano school in Chitalishte Probuda - Sofia with Antonina Pashalieva, and then at the National Academy of Music "Pancho Vladigerov" with Prof. Dr. Rostislav Yovchev, prof. Krassimir Taskov, and Prof. Julia Tsenova. In 2005 graduated from the Faculty of Theory, Composition and Conducting of the academy with a bachelor's degree in sound engineering, and after applying the same year he was accepted and in 2009 he completed a bachelor's degree in Pop and Jazz Piano again there. In 2017 excellently defends a master's thesis on "Interpretive features and problems of piano performance technique in Afro-Cuban music."
During the years of his extensive practice as a prominent performer on the Bulgarian and international music scene, Kalin Zhechev works with names such as Yildiz Ibrahimova, Kamelia Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov - Stundzhi, Kalin Velov, Borislav Boyadzhiev - Borche, Ivaylo Zvezdomirov, Mihail Yosifov, Krassimir Zhelyazkov many other.
He is currently part of the permanent ranks of Jazz Formation Sofia, the Latino group Mango Duende (where he learns and loves Latin American music with the help of musicians such as Hristo Ganev, Alex Linares, Boris Taslev, Todor Bakardzhiev, etc.), the Trio, the Band of The voice of Bulgaria, as well as many formations with different artists. Actively participates with various projects in jazz festivals such as Bansko Jazz Fest, Nishville, Haskovo Jazz, A to Jazz and Youth Jazz Festival Dimitrovgrad.



Andrey Velkov has been involved in music since an early age. He graduated from the National Music Academy "Pancho Vladigerov" in the class of Prof. Hristo Yotsov in jazz percussion instruments. He plays drums, percussion, piano. His interests are focused on the richness of music - jazz, funk, folklore from around the world, classical music and more. He participates in various concerts and musical events around the country and teaches percussion at the Art Libitum Music Center.



Vladimir Gadzhev is a Bulgarian music critic and journalist, perhaps the best connoisseur of the history, development and trends in Bulgarian jazz. Since the beginning of his professional career in the 1960s. Gadzhev closely follows the revival, development and problems of Bulgarian jazz. Long-term correspondent of specialized music magazines in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland (Jazz Forum). He teaches sociology of music and jazz history at the New Bulgarian University.
Gadzhev is the author of extensive operative criticism and numerous problematic articles on contemporary Bulgarian jazz, as well as numerous portraits of artists in this field.
A LOVE SUPREME. Vesselin Nikolov and his White, Green, Red. Sofia,
Jazz in Bulgaria. Bulgarians in jazz + CD. Sofia, East-West, 2010,
The Seven Temptations of the Golden Orpheus. Sofia, East-West, 2011
When the West meets the East. Sofia, East-West, 2012, 198 p.
Theodosius Spasov. The haunting sounds. Sofia, East-West, 2012, 216 p.
Illustrated encyclopedia of musical instruments (co-authored with Bozhidar Abrashev). Sofia,

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