Smiliana Lozanova, Violinist
If I weren’t a violinist, I would be a photographer, trading my violin for a camera, as my sister did. I have always been interested in the moment, trying to catch people’s faces and emotions. I also like urban photography, focusing on the unusual details I see around me. It probably comes from my inner drive to make everything so perfectly that I get lost in the details. The art of photography also carries that specific feeling of the uncertainty of the final goal, which makes you find yourself through it.
Music came to me through my grandmother. She used to be a quite good singer but her vocal cords became injured right before she was supposed to enter the Music Conservatory and that ended her career. In my most vivid childhood memories, I see her quietly seated in the darkness of the living room, enjoying a tiny glass of almond liquor, her favorite opera playing on the radio. She taught me all the children’s songs I knew. I had enough repertoire to sing my own recital.
Recently, I’ve been mostly listening to jazz. An old passion of mine has been Pink Floyd. While living on the other side of the “Big Pond” I wasn’t following the European trends much, being immersed by American music. I was happy to discover ZAZ for myself, at a concert in Blagoevgrad,
once I got back to Bulgaria.
I spent 14 years in the USA. I had just graduated from the Conservatory of Music in Sofia when I left my home country. I felt like I wasn’t quite ready to enter the professional world. I wanted to polish my technical skills and step up to the next level where I would not only be a good player but that I could also express my inner emotions in ways that could touch people. I got carried away and added three extra degrees to my resume - a Masters of Music, an Artist Diploma and a Doctorate. The latter two I achieved while attending the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. The school is considered one of the top music schools in the country. Those were some of my best years spent in America, working with top notch teachers and professional musicians. My graduation project was based on a set of solo violin caprices by the Bulgarian composer, Petar Christoskov. It was a huge and challenging project as it involved lots of research, a paper, a recital, and an audio recording of the set. Nevertheless, I was very excited to present to Americans the beauty and diversity of Bulgarian music.
In my car, I still listen to WGUC, Cincinnati’s classical radio, online. It runs 24/7 and, a few years back, they added a jazz station to it. I will always be grateful for my American experience, including all the knowledge and practical skills I gathered through collaborations with the most talented and well-established professionals in my field. Through music, I had the opportunity to work with conductor Paavo Jarvi, who, at that time, was the Music Director of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and is continuing to have a fantastic career. Tokyo Quartet used to be the Quartet-in-Residence at CCM, and would often coach the string quartet with which I played. At a summer festival, I met with the first clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, Anthony McGill who, in 2014, performed at President Obama’s inauguration. These are just a few of the many inspiring and accomplished people I met. I left a lot of friends behind when I returned to Bulgaria. It’s a whole backpack of fond memories and great experiences I treasure and carry with me everywhere I go.
I love the “House MD” series! Dr. House is absolutely my type of guy - smart, unpredictable, with a great sense of humor. As with my life so far, you can never guess how an episode would end!