Ivan Spassov was born on January, 1934 in Sofia to a family of second generation musicians. He graduated in conducting from the Bulgarian State Conservatoire - a student of Pancho Vladigerov. From 1960 to 1962 he studied in Warsaw where he took another degree as a student of Kazimierz Sirkoski and Stanislaw Wislocki. In Warsaw, Spassov, together with the Warsaw Philharmonic conducted the world premiere of his First Symphony.

For about three decades Ivan Spassov devoted himself to the renewal of the bulgarian music. As a conductor he introduced the classical and avantgarde music of the 20th century to the mass audience. Spassov also made an impressive career as a lacturer - professor and, since 1989, Rector of The Academy of Music and Dance - Plovdiv.

Writing songs back in the 1950s, Spassov went on to become one of the leading figures of Bulgarian avantgarde music for the following decade. His are the first aleatory scores (Episodes for Four Groups of Timbres, Movements) and the first forms of instrumental theatre (Music for Friends for string and jazz quartets). He is one of the first bulgarian composers who, with logical consistency and artistic flair, incorporated bulgarian folk themes in the new musical idiom of the century. Outplaying Match for 22 wind instruments, together with the songs he had been arranging since the mid 70s, blazed a trail in contemporary bulgarian music, winning universal acknowledgement - in the BBC's chorus charts and UNESCO's International Tribune of Composers.

Ivan Spassov has also an impressive symphonic oeuvre. Critics praised his First Cello Concerto (1975). His next three concerti (for violin, piano and cello again) received great reviews, along with his Second, Third, in particular, and Fourth Symphony with a baritone solo in the finale. Ivan Spassov's concerti range and symphonies range from the dramatic to the lyrical and philosophical, but the lyrical dominates in his vocal compositions. Some, like Canti lamentosi, Songs of the Dead and Songs of a Soul on Her Way to Heaven, all of them inspired by personal tragedy (the loss of his parents and in 1991 - the loss of his only daughter), are among the masterpieces of bulgarian music of all times. Spassov's latest works include major vocal compositions such as the oratorio Mankind: 20th Century, Bulgarian Passion, Mass and Holy Bulgarian Liturgy. All of them were widely acclaimed in Bulgaria.

In 1960, in Warsaw and Sofia, Spassov had his first one-man concerts, followed by performances in the US, the Soviet Union and Poland. He was repeatedly performed in Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Australia and Japan.

Ivan Spassov also wrote two remarkable books: Blue Morning , Noon and Afternoon Road and My Life - an Attempt to Reconstruct a Scattered Mosaic. Being an insight into his life and his time, Spassov essays were estimated both by readers and critics.

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