RSVP Montgomery

Delyana Lazarova


Catherine Calligas

As a little girl growing up in Bulgaria, Delyana Lazarova was enchanted with both music and theatre, but even she did not know at such an early age the success that awaited her in the world of classical music. Delyana was born in Plodiv, Bulgaria; a province considered by many to be one of the cultural hubs of the country. Her father works in journalism, and her mother was (and still is) a pianist and composer for the theatre. Delyana spent many of her formative years in the theatre, and quickly memorized every line of the plays she watched in rehearsals. It was during this period that Delyana says she developed her passion for music and theatre.

From a very young age, Delyana knew she wanted to be a performer. And while the theatre fascinated her, she learned that acting was not the medium for which she was destined to use a stage. At the tender age of five, Delyana took the entrance exam at the elite Dobrin Petkov Music School in Plodiv, where she passed a solfeggio exam (solfeggio is a music education method used to teach pitch, sight singing, and sight reading) and was accepted for admission. After her acceptance into the school, Delyana decided on the piano as the instrument she wished to be trained in, just like her mother – but teachers spoke with her mother about Delyana’s talent and ear for the violin, and suggested she focus her training on it instead. The next night, Delyana’s mother took her to a concert at the symphony, where a famous Bulgarian violinist performed Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor.” Delyana still remembers the awe-inspiring performance, and she happily agreed that she would study the violin in school.

Delyana graduated from Dobrin Petkov, receiving a special award for high musical achievements. After graduation, she applied across the Atlantic to Louisiana State University, where the professor she wanted to study under was teaching. Delyana received a full scholarship to LSU and at the age of 19, packed her bags and moved from Bulgaria to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She studied for three years at LSU, and jokes that the moment she realized how to spell “GEAUX TIGERS” she had already moved on to the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where she completed bachelor’s, master’s and artist’s diplomas in violin performance. Delyana gives a great deal of credit to Professor Fuks and Professor Mardirossian, and says that in the world of music, who you study under is one of the most important parts of your training – and that it was both luck and a privilege to study under these teachers.

While finishing her degrees, Delyana began applying for several professional jobs across the country, one of which was the Concertmaster and Artist in Residence position at the Montgomery Symphony. Musicians from all over the world apply for this prestigious position. A group of four is selected and then considered on an individual basis for the position. After an audition, interview with board members and Maestro Hinds, Delyana was chosen for the coveted position, and Montgomery soon became her new home.

Delyana says she has been overwhelmed by the generosity and welcoming nature of the Montgomery community. She is especially grateful for the late Helen Steineker, who helped ensure Delyana’s smooth transition into Montgomery, and for her friend and local artist Susan Starr. Delyana and Susan met through Bob Vardaman at a small party in his house where Delyana performed. At the time of the party, Delyana and pianist Anna Petrova were busy preparing for a series of upcoming recitals in Montgomery, Steinway Hall in New York City, Spain and Bulgaria. Over the course of their conversation, Susan generously offered to design the gowns that Delyana and Anna would wear for these performances. They learned and performed “Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Piano” by composer Enescu, a piece Delyana says is “truly a genius work of art.” And what made the performances even better were the hand-painted silk gowns Susan designed for the musicians, which Delyana says “united our talents together into something bigger.”

This is Delyana’s last year as a Violin Fellow in Montgomery. She says she is proud of what she has accomplished here, and feels she has dedicated her life to inspiring people and allowing them to experience through music something everyday life cannot offer. She hopes the community will continue to support the Symphony and attend the Fellows’ Recital Series at the Museum of Fine Art. One of the first things Delyana said in her interview was “Music is a universal language and goes directly to the heart.” She has certainly proven that statement to be true in her time here in Montgomery, a city that is fortunate to have attracted such a talented individual.

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