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New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE | AFM

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Classical Experimental




"From Nerdy to Naughty Tania Stavreva’s Got Rhythm"

The Huffington Post
by Roxane Assaf-Lynn

Classical Crossover: From Nerdy to Naughty Tania Stavreva’s Got Rhythm

"History shows that musical prodigies from gifted families respond to the pressures in different ways, some make it; some don’t. The famous ones leave lasting legacies – Beethoven who would be roused from sleep as a child to play for his drunken father; Mozart who played his first performance tour with rheumatic fever while his peers were finishing first grade. By age 21, it’s reasonable to expect some brooding introversion or at least the occasional crisis of confidence.

But then comes Bulgarian-bred Tania Stavreva with a background in classical piano as disciplined and deep as any on the concert stage, yet whose well-centered exuberance and open spirit suggest an internal balance that will take her far. Her debut album “Rhythmic Movement” slated for release January 7, 2017, calls for such metronomic virtuosity, it’s no wonder she’s keeping a steady beat as she hits engagements across the US, through Europe, and back home in New York.
Revealing only that she’s “over 21,” the diminutive knock-out has a published performance archive stretching back to 2006. Playing to sold-out rooms is normal for her whether dishing up classics in gown and pearls or smoking out clubby spaces with jazz improvisation, bare shoulders and spike heels. She talks as though she’s having a blast, even recalling an acting gig somewhere Off-Off-Broadway in 2012.

“Music is my mother language but I love all the other areas of art… I feel that all of them are connected,” said Stavreva of the multimedia theatrical collaboration that spawned her album’s barreling title track.
With guest artist and two-time Grammy Award winning drummer Will Calhoun (Living Color, B.B. King), the 14-track collection has celebrity power both up front and behind the scenes.
Stavreva gushed over the “genius” who engineered, mixed and recorded “Rhythmic Movement.” Renowned German-born record producer Ron Saint Germain has earned more than 60 Gold and Platinum Disc awards including four “Diamond Platinum” (10 million+). His work is associated with 19 Grammy nominations including 14 wins for notable artists (Jimi Hendrix, Muse, U2, Soundgarden, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nels Cline, and McCoy Tyner to name some).
How does a classical pianist end up playing with drums?
In 2011 Stavreva attended the Grammy Awards and met Cuban-American drummer Dave Lombardo, co-founder of the thrash metal band Slayer. “I felt power in the piano where it could sound orchestral, intimate, rhythmic, melodic, lyrical,” she recalled. “But there could be something to underline those rhythms. We didn’t plan it; it happened instantly.”
After turning Lombardo onto a YouTube recording she was excited about, he posted it on social media, and that sparked the idea for an album. Her producer got Calhoun for the recording, and playing piano in ensemble with a drummer became a major part of her musical identity.

An ARTIST with INTEGRITY – and an album to sell
Stavreva calls herself a “classical nerd.” That could be proven out in several ways: her note-perfect performances, her reverence for Bach, her life of practice-first-socialize-later commitment. “If I skipped a practice I felt something was missing like eating or taking a shower,” she admitted. “On weekends I could play with kids, but I wasn’t really a party-type kid.”
But the story behind her original composition that sets the mood of the album reveals why she sees herself as hypervigilant. During a theatrical collaboration on a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” someone floated the proposal of re-writing portions of a classical work to fit the occasion, altering tempi to concord with monologue, ending earlier than written, etc. The vivacious concert pianist respectfully demurred, solving the matter by composing something from scratch. That work became the title piece on her album.
“It was theatre that inspired me to start composing,” Stavreva said. “I feel that classical works are masterworks and shouldn’t be altered from their originals. I feel it makes artistic sense. And I feel that by including Track 7, the audience has the chance to hear the original.”

True to its name, the sound experience of “Rhythmic Movement” is all about that beat. Engaging with work by Bulgaria’s preeminent composer Pancho Vladigerov, known for incorporating folk elements into classical music and writing in complicated meter, Stavreva enters a playground for percussive experimentation.
The asymmetrical rhythms that characterize music that Bulgarians would dance to at weddings in 7/8 or 9/8 time can be the fodder for sophisticated expression in the hands of Vladigerov, Stavreva and the Argentine classical composer Alberto Ginastera (Tracks 4, 5, 6). The intensity builds through the album, leveling off with the jazzier lilt of a pairing by Nikolai Kapustin, to Stavreva the “Russian Gershwin.”
Stavreva then delivers a surprise for the ears by stroking the inside of the piano and plucking the strings in her original “Dark Side of the Sun.” What follows is an award-winning tribute to Alan Lomax, a blues fantasy by Mason Bates, known for his orchestral electronica.

With characteristic enthusiasm, Stavreva explained that with “White Lies for Lomax,” the composer demanded the precision of a classical musician, requiring strict adherence to the music as written, but the trick was to play as though she were improvising. “It had to sound like I was creating it at the moment. That was the challenge,” she said with fresh wonder. “I had a lot of fun with that.”
The album intentionally weaves related elements between and among selections, even to the point of genetics. Track 13 launches a set of nine variations on a popular Bulgarian folk song (“Dilmano, Dilbero”) by Alexander Vladigerov, son of Pancho. For good measure, Stavreva has sung the tune on the previous track for the listener’s edification.
The album concludes with “Ritmico y Distorsionado,” a recounting of Track 7 but with a drum improvisation. “I said as a joke, ‘How about if we distorted the piano?’” she said gleefully. “Track 14 has distortion in particular sections, thus the name of the song.”

EDGY is IN: Tania Talks Wardrobe and Style
Wandering onto the internet, Tania Stavreva is found against a red backdrop in black lace kicking up high leather boots. Then in a live setting, she sits demurely at the piano in backless garb, skin done up in colors, while an artist body-paints a topless model on the stage.
When Stavreva plays a Brahms or Beethoven concerto, she said, “I probably don’t want too much distraction there. I don’t want to focus on anything else.” Choosing a traditional look for a traditional program, she enjoys the gracing the full-length dress, noting that most have to wait for a wedding, a prom, or the Academy Awards to get so formal. “It’s very special,” she mused. “It’s really neat to have a profession that allows me to wear [a gown] more often.”
But other idioms loosen the collar on self expression. “If I’m playing something jazzy, it can incorporate body language and style. It’s more sexy in a way,” she explained. “If I play something more modern or jazzy or rhythmic, especially if it’s a venue that’s more edgy or serves alcohol, it calls for something more sexy. What you’d see on a jazz musician or pop artist.” As long as she can feel the pedals, she said, the heels on her shoes can be as rakish as she can stand.
Seems a silly question for one trained at Bulgaria’s National Academy of Music, but do people take her seriously? Music critics have described her as “exceptional, entrancing, fun!” and “a fully formed and fearsomely talented pianist.” She has been called “a piano dynamo” and more to the point, “a very unique pianist, combining genuine quality with a refreshing approach to programing with superior technical abilities” renowned internationally for “having some of the most precise fingering of any of the twenty-something generation of pianists, bar none.” A reading of her bio and list of engagements is boggling.
Nevertheless, she said, “A person sees a young woman dressed in a more modern way, I feel they make a judgment before they even hear the music, so it’s much harder to convince them of what you can do.” All it took was a single creative collaboration with a body painter, and a cliché was born: “Oh, no body painting today?” Countless traditional performances and prestigious accolades reduced to one memorable visual.
“It was around the time I was also working with one of the most difficult pieces in the world written for piano by Samuel Barber – “Piano Sonata.” As her senior recital enshrined on YouTube will attest, she played it to good effect. “Look!” she wants to say. “I just played three pieces by Barber, but you’re talking about body painting!”

Her ultimate preference is boots with leggings and a short dress. “That’s the real me,” she said. But the look has to match the program.

Hopes for the Future of “Rhythmic Movement”
The idea of making an album came later for Stavreva. After years of avoiding what sounded to her like entering a racket where musicians suffer mistreatment at the hands of record labels, she decided to give her audience what they want.
“People after my concerts would ask me, ‘How can I take this music home?’ It’s something my audience has been asking for. I respect my audience and care about them very much, so I wanted to give this to them.”
She added with assertive sincerity, “Basically this is something to express who I am at this time in my life. I wanted to start from that phase in my life and be honest with my audience about this.”

In the spring of 2017, Stavreva will start working with exclusively Bulgarian composers incorporating more folk themes and devices into the next phase of her work. " - Roxane Assaf-Lynn, The Huffington Post - The Huffington Post

"Pianist Tania Stavreva – ‘Rhythmic Movement’"

Tania Stavreva is one of that breed of digital-generation classical musicians who are taking their careers tightly into their own agile hands. On top of a capacious talent, the Bulgarian-born, New York-based pianist has a distinctive sensibility evidenced by her choice of repertoire, which encompasses works by composers from her homeland as well as contemporary new music and her own compositions.

Rhythmic Movement, her debut album, solidifies the energy of her live performances and makes a winning argument for her independent approach, as well as for the highly rhythmic music she enjoys playing and for the Bulgarian composers whose work the album features.

But Stavreva bravely launches the set with one of her own compositions. The title track is a blitz of a piece that’s a crowd-pleaser in concert, and a lively introduction to a collection with a lot of dance-rooted music.

Some of the selections are refreshingly jolting, with, for example, time signatures that aren’t standard (to American and Western European ears, anyway). She doubles down on the opening track’s 7/8 time with “Ratchenitza,” Pancho Vladigerov’s setting of a traditional Bulgarian folk dance that races by in a skittering 7/16 count. That’s followed by the same composer’s “Mouvement Rhythmique” (are you starting to sense a trend?) in the strange-sounding Eastern European 2+2+2+3 dance rhythm I’ve heard more and more of in recent years, as a broad spectrum of musicians, ranging from classical violinist Lara St. John to jazz bassist Georg Breinschmid, dig into far-flung roots for “crossover” material.

Stavreva is not all sharp-edged rhythm. Comfortable with lyricism and romance, she displays mature sensitivity in Alberto Ginastera’s three “Danzas Argentinas” Op. 2, especially the second dance, and a killer mix of technical finesse and jazzy insolence in two “Jazz Concert Etudes” by Nikolai Kapustin, whom Stavreva calls “the Russian Gershwin.”

She marshals an expansive vocabulary of tone and touch in the album’s vivacious climax, Vladigerov’s variations on the Bulgarian folk song “Dilmano, Dilbero.” It’s the only piece of extended length, but it proves Stavreva can turns sparks into sustained heat. She even reflects on American folk traditions, with Mason Bates’s intriguing “White Lies for Lomax” (though her liner notes make the common mistake of misattributing a traditional African-American work song to Lomax, who perhaps preserved it by collecting an “authentic” recording but is not the composer).

The rhythmic second movement of Ginastera’s Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 22, marked “Ruvido ed Ostinato,” appears twice, the second a tight duo with drummer Will Calhoun (Living Colour). It would be wrong to apply the label “crossover” to such a collaboration. Classical and concert music has taken inspiration from folk and dance music since time immemorial, from Bach to Bartók and beyond. Inventive musicians are continuing to bring exciting material from many cultures into that tradition even as they are being forced to depend more and more on independent initiative to further their careers. Though only in the early stages of hers, Tania Stavreva is already an exemplar, now with a knockout of an album to her name.

- Jon Sobel - Blogcritics Magazine

"Bulgarian Pianist Tania Stavreva's World-Class Self-Released Solo Debut Comes Complete with 'Rhythmic Movement.'"

For her impressive self-released debut, 20something New York City pianist/composer Tania Stavreva has taken solo piano to rare heights on Rhythmic Movement, 14 tracks of a wildly experimental jazz/classical/folk synthesis. Forward-leaning, yet firmly rooted in the folk music of her native Bulgaria, the accents fly by in dizzying whirlwind.

"Ratchenitza" was written in 1934 by Bulgaria's greatest composer, Pancho Vladigerov. "Danzas Argentinas," originally composed as a 1937 Argentinian dance piece by Alberto Ginastera, moves brilliantly as the perfect counterpoint to her own title track, written for an off-off Broadway production of William Shakespeare's 1611 "The Tempest."

Stavreva is so adventurous, refusing to stay within the confines of what constitutes classical, that you might even call some of her inventions punk-jazz. She uses the drummer of heavy metal band Living Colour (Will Calhoun) to add some nice spice to the closing "Ritmico y Distorsionado" which is, indeed, a distorted vision of an earlier track, ""Ruvido ed Ostinato," that adds not only mystery and confusion to the proceedings but an unerring feel of "what can she do next?" On her own "The Dark Side Of The Sun," she sticks her talented fingers inside the piano itself-completely eschewing the 88 keys-to pluck its string innards for a totally entertaining but abbreviated series of glissandos and heavenly harp-like theatrics that hide a dark center. Only in repeated listening, will that center of darkness make itself manifest. This gal knows exactly what she's doing.

Rhythmic Movement was produced in exquisite detail by superstar producer Ron Saint Germain. With over 60 hit albums to his credit, 19 Grammy nominations (14 wins), his associations range from Whitney Houston and U2 to Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross. - Classicalite News

"Classical CDs Weekly: Tania Stavreva: fiery pianism"

Rhythmic Movement Tania Stavreva (TS)

Wow. This is exceptionally good, despite cover art which suggests we’re going to get a disc of anodyne crossover fluff. Who’s familiar with the likes of Pancho Vladigerov or Nikolai Kapustin? Not me. The closest we get to mainstream piano repertoire is a sequence of four pungent dances by Ginastera, as rhythmically and harmonically interesting as anything by Bartók or Stravinsky, performed here with infectious grace and wit. Bulgarian-born pianist Tania Stavreva has this music in her bones, understanding that there’s far more to it than foot-stomping aggression. Her playing has an exhilarating lightness and sense of joy; I defy anyone not to press the repeat button after sampling Vladigerov’s tiny Ratchenitza, a magical Bartók-like folk dance transcription. There’s more Vladigerov later on in the form of his brilliant variations on the folk song Dilmano, Dilbero. How good to have the track preceded by Stavreva’s singing the theme acapella, and how frustrating that this music isn’t better known.

Two of Kapustin’s fiendish Jazz Concert Etudes are terrific fun – think a grittier, Soviet-era Gershwin. Other delights include Mason Bates’ White Lies for Lomax, a lopsided, bluesy homage to a well-known ethnomusicologist. Stavreva’s own Rhythmic Movement is a propulsive, pounding dance, adapted from a score to a production of The Tempest, and The Dark Side of the Sun is a spooky improvisation on an open piano’s strings. The disc closes with a retread of Ginastera’s Ruvido ed Ostinato, Stavreva’s piano sound now distorted and teamed with drummer Will Cahoun. It works. Production values are consistently good, and anyone feeling a little flat this week should invest in a copy forthwith. - The Arts Desk Magazine (UK)

"Tania Stavreva’s ‘Rhythmic Movement’ brings you classical music with a modern twist"

Bulgarian-born virtuoso Tania Stavreva is getting ready to release her debut album on Jan. 7, entitled, Rhythmic Movement. This naturally gifted pianist has a unique contemporary classic style, influenced by a variety of artists ranging from composer Vladimir Horowitz to the The Beatles and Aretha Franklin.

Based out of New York, Tania has been making a name for herself playing at places such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She’s been seen sharing the stage with legendary bassist Ron Carter, the Miles Davis Family as well as GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter Mike Stoller.

Tania is one of the first pianists of her generation to perform modern classical music at mainstream rock club venues such as Webster Hall. Her collaborations with drummers Will Calhoun (Living Colour, B.B. King) and Dave Lombardo (John Zorn, Slayer, Fantômas) have officially landed her in a completely new genre of music. AXS had the opportunity to speak with Tania to learn more.

AXS: Tell me about your debut album, Rhythmic Movement?

Tania Stavreva: It’s a project that is very dear to my heart. The album is different because it’s not the typical classical album. It’s got a modern edge and I think part of that I got from living here in the United States. I get to hear about various cultures that encompass jazz music and rock music in a different way than I would have in Bulgaria. I mostly selected rhythmic and melodic pieces for the album. I wanted it to feel like a dance. I think more than anything I like to work with my imagination.

AXS: Do you have a dream collaboration that you would like to do?

TS: That’s hard to say because a lot of my dream collaborations actually happened in real life and I didn’t plan them. For example, getting to work with Dave Lombardo, who’s the drummer from Slayer. We met at the GRAMMYs back in 2011 and I sent him some of my music. Metal in general is not a genre I follow closely but I like certain instrumentals. I had never heard percussion music in that way. Another dream collaboration is Will Calhoun, who’s the drummer from Living Colour. When you feel the chemistry, it’s hard to compare it to anything else.

AXS: Tell me about what it’s been like working with legendary producer, Ron Saint Germain?

TS: Ron is another dream collaboration of mine. I met him when I moved to New York and he came to one of my concerts. At the end of the day, it’s really about the chemistry of the artists; of the people who are working together. That’s the main thing. And to have people like Ron and the others working on this, people of such high caliber who are supporting me in this project, it’s really an honor for me.

AXS: What do you hope people who listen to your music will take away from it?

TS: I didn’t really make this album expecting something. For a long time I didn’t even want to get into the process of making an album and dealing with record labels. But I started to learn that people would come to my shows and want to take my music home and share it with others as a gift. So, when I finally decided to record this album, I needed to really figure out what I wanted to say and how it related to me personally. I feel that where I am in my own life, I need a rhythmic movement that gives me some kind of drive. Some kind of happiness. This album has an energy that makes people want to keep moving forward. A lot of what inspires me about music is seeing how dedicated artists are to their work and how they connect with the audience. It’s all positive energy and that was something I could gift to people. It’s why I decided to select the music in the specific order I did. I wanted each track to be connected to each other. To lead from one story to the next.

The next part of Tania’s own story will be going on tour. Her album, Rhythmic Movement, is being released completely independently. You can find it for sale on her website. - AXS

"Bridging the Gap between Classical and Modern Music; Pianist Tania Stavreva Releases Debut Album 'Rhythmic Movement'"

Pianist, Tania Stavreva, is living her dream in the cosmopolitan, creative, beating pulse that is New York. She started to play the piano at four years old and gave her first solo recital a year later in her native country of Bulgaria. She comes from a musical family who encouraged her and had a very typical classical "intensive" training from the age of four, but was grateful for that as it gave her a "solid foundation." Tania is very passionate about her craft and a typical day includes piano practice which she factors into her routine as she would do taking a shower or having a meal, "It is important from early childhood to practice the piano every day. It's like a religion, and you need that discipline." She says, "something is wrong with my day if I can't practice" and laughs when discussing her childhood as her family could only go to certain places for holidays as there had to be a piano for Tania to practice on. And now she is in New York where she has lived for over five years. She loves the US as "there are so many different blends of music" and it inspires her creatively.

Tania is releasing her debut album 'Rhythmic Movement' which she admits "she could talk for hours about." She is incredibly enthusiastic and has put her heart, soul and everything else into creating it. She hadn't really thought too much about making an album, but when touring and performing, people would often ask where they could buy her music. So when she met with renowned producer Ron St Germain (who has over forty years experience working with and developing a roster of ultra-famous artists such as Whitney Houston, Jimi Hendrix, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and he invited her to create a project together, there was no turning back. Each piece on the album is unique, has various influences and means something personally to Tania. There are references to her childhood, listening to Prokofiev as a student, baroque to contemporary during her classical training and the sounds of her home, Bulgaria, where they use a lot of "asymmetrical rhythms." She also picked fast dance like pieces, "traditional Bulgarian dance music", folk melodies, percussive elements, very orchestral, big sounds as well as romantic moments." She wanted to start the album with shorter pieces then build up to the rhythmic atmosphere, she "wanted the album to expand." There is a ballad in there and some tracks she completely slowed down "to bring out the accents and rhythms, music you feel; the passion and the rhythm and not speed." Tania has composed a few pieces, but somehow reluctantly at first, "It is intimidating when you are playing music by musicians such as Mozart and Chopin. Why would you do it?" Now composing her own music is something she would like to focus more on in the future.

On the album, a track that particularly stands out is one performed with two-time Grammy Award winning American drummer, Will Calhoun, who is best known for being a member of the rock/funk metal band Living Colour who also worked with B.B. King. You can almost feel Tania beaming down the telephone when she discusses this "really blessed and dream collaboration. Actually, better than a dream." Working with Will and his talent "made the piece richer and expanded it from a smaller ensemble to a bigger ensemble." It is so refreshing to see a classical pianist merge with a modern percussionist so effortlessly and this is what makes Tania so special and stand out from her peers. She wanted to work with artists "outside the classical range." Tania is all about bringing positivity to the world so wanted to record a bright and motivational album with a lot of energy. Classical music can typically be "sad and aggressive" and she wanted to alter that perspective; change it up. She says about the tracks, "for me as an artist, even thought there are no lyrics, they are pieces not songs. Music is a language where you can express yourself and tell a story."

Next year is full of performances, concerts and exciting projects in the pipeline such as creating her own ensemble, working with new composers who will write music for her to play and working with electronic artists. Speaking to Tania is like watching a flower from a bud flourish into something extraordinary; she is full of passion for life and all the arts. She feels acting is something she would be taking more seriously if she weren't a pianist.) However, "music is (her) mother language and focus." And even though she fuses classic with contemporary, as she says, "once you're in classical music, you're in it for life."

'Rhythmic Movement' will be released under Tania's own record label on 7th January 2017 and you can pre-order it here now www.taniastavreva.com - BritzNBeatz (London, UK)

"Tania Stavreva “Rhythmic Movement”"

Bulgarian pianist Tania Stavreva is set to release her first solo piano album “Rhythmic Movement” January 7th, 2017. She made her New York recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2009 and has also performed at the Lincoln Center, Kaufman Center, and many others. With such a resume, it’s obvious she has a talent that needs to be heard.

The titular track “Rhythmic Movement” starts out as a quickened melody that grabs your attention. “Ratchenitza” is softer in melody than the first track and has a beautiful and peaceful sound. “Mouvement Rhythmique” is energetic and seems to resemble the first and similarly named track. “Danza del Viejo Boyero” is performed with a rather quickened melody. As beautiful as the song is, it seems to have a “race against time” feel to it. “Danza de la Moza Donosa” is sweetly played and relaxing to listen to. As opposed to the more upbeat songs, this is a track that will set your soul at ease and be the perfect song to listen to while out on the town or during a quiet evening at home.

“Danza del Gaucho Matrero” has both a jovial and serious tone. “Ruvideo ed Ostinato” has a powerfully deep sound. “Jazz Concert Etude Prelude” is quick paced and wonderful to listen to. The melody at the 1:08 mark is fun and has a lovely upbeat sound. “Jazz Concert Etude Toccatina” is upbeat and has a joyful tune, and possibly one you could dance to at a formal event. “The Dark Side of the Sun” is appropriately titled, as it begins with a thunderous sound of the keys, leading into a soft and dreamy melody.

The whimsical keys in “White Lies for Lomax” make this beautiful song perfect to listen to at the end of a day. These next two tracks are quite different from the rest, as they are two versions of the song “Dilmano Dilbero”. “Dilmano Dilbero vocals” is the brief yet beautiful acapella rendition, and “Dilmano Dilbero Variations” is the equally beautiful instrumental version. The energy in the final track “Ritmico y Distorsionado” is exciting and makes you want to get up and dance.

“Rhythmic Movement” is truly an album that will bring you to your feet. No matter your musical preference, you’re going to want this album for your playlist. Go get your copy January 7th. - The Rogers Revue

"Tania Stavreva: Rhythmic Movement"

Pianist and New York City resident Tania Stavreva is a cross-genre trailblazer in the vein of a Stefano Battaglia. More than being at home in both classical and jazz, the Bulgarian native has found an approach that—when desired—connects elements of each form and adds her own methods, resulting in a unique hybrid. The twenty-something artist has appeared with Ron Carter and played top international venues from Lincoln Center to Italy's Cathedral San Lorenzo. Rhythmic Movement is her debt as a solo performer and is being released on her own label.

The Ron Saint Germain produced album features fourteen compositions from an eclectic range of composers and two from Stavreva herself. Opening with the title track, Stavreva's original composition was written for an off-off Broadway production of The Tempest, in which she had an acting part as well. Unlike the original version, Stavreva rearranges the piece in a time signature for dance. A traditional Bulgarian folk tune, "Ratchenitza" is bookended on the outside by "Mouvement Rythmique" which translates to the album's title as well, though an entirely different piece. Its uneven rhythm is also commonplace in Bulgarian dance music.

Three works from Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera create a slow dramatic build to the albums mid-point. "Danza del Viejo Boyero," "Danza de la Moza Donosa" and "Danza del Gaucho" are each part of a cycle known as "Danzas Argentinas, Op. 2." Those familiar with Egberto Gismonti's Danca Das Cabecas (ECM, 1977) may find some conceptual similarity in the nature of the material. "Ruvido ed Ostinato" picks up the previously generated energy setting the stage for the more avant-garde works of Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin. "Jazz Concert Etude Prelude" and "Jazz Concert Etude Toccatina" play directly into Stavreva's strength in merging genres. Stavreva's own composition "The Dark Side of the Sun" is more ominous and includes her extended technique of working the strings inside the piano.

"White Lies for Lomax"—a tribute to ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax—was first recorded as a solo by Stavreva on Mason Bates' Stereo Is King (Innova Recordings, 2014). She then returns to the Bulgarian tradition with a series of variations on the folk song "Dilmano, Dilbero" wrapping up the album with "Ritmico y Distorsionado," a variation of "Ruvido ed Ostinato" but added percussion and some distortion.

Musically, Stavreva is already an accomplished artist with a no-holds-barred attitude toward her music and her independent approach. Rhythmic Movement is a bold project that asserts the role of folk and dance at the center of modern creative music. Stavreva's interpretations stretch the original concepts and play spirals around them, respecting their heredity without being subject to the same.

Track Listing: Rhythmic Movement; Ratchenitza; Mouvement Rythmique; Danzas Argentinas, Op. 2: Danza del Viejo Boyero; Danza de la Moza Donosa; Danza del Gaucho; Ruvido ed Ostinato; Jazz Concert Etude Prelude; Jazz Concert Etude Toccatina; The Dark Side of the Sun; White Lies for Lomax; Dilmano, Dilbero; Dilmano, Dilbero, Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Song; Ritmico y Distorsionado. - All About Jazz

"Tania Stavreva: Rhythm and Movement"

The pianist Tania Stavreva’s official debut album, Rhythmic Movement, was released on January 7. If you own a music store, you will enjoy the debate you will have with yourself regarding which section to locate the CD: Classical? Jazz?

The album is available here: $10 for a digital download, $15 for a signed CD.

Stavreva, born and raised in Bulgaria, has been earning accolades and awards for her music for several years. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2009, and in 2016 she gave the world premiere performance of Mason Bates’ “The Caged Bird Sings” on the main stage at Carnegie Hall, the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage.

Stavreva brings music wherever it brings her: Carnegie Hall as well as jazz nightclubs and theaters, where she has been in the vanguard of classical musicians adapting the rhetoric of the recital hall for audiences in our multimedia-saturated, technology-mediated age.

Those performances have attracted much of the media’s attention on Stavreva, with articles devoted to her appearance and dress. Many reviews refer to her as a “petite dynamo” and “edgy” and “sexy,” and all of that makes me blush as I type it. One collaboration included a live body-painting performance while Stavreva played piano. (She is not who was painted.) To this day, she reports, audience members ask tongue-in-cheek: “Oh? No body-painting tonight?”

A visit to Stavreva’s website reveals a musician with a repertoire that is already vast, ranging from Chopin, Ravel, Debussy, and beyond, yet is still growing as she builds symbiotic relationships with contemporary composers like Mason Bates (not yet 40, he is the first ever composer-in-residence with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts). One entire area of her website is labeled “Metal/Rock/Experimental.” One could nickname her “Slash” for the prolific use that punctuation mark receives in describing her areas of musical interest.

All of the facets of her music personality—Classical, Jazz, contemporary—were united in making her debut album. She produced the album herself, but her engineer is a legend in rock and jazz: Ron Saint Germain, who has worked with Jimi Hendrix, Sonic Youth, U2, Ornette Colemen, Mos Def, Michael Jackson, Living Colour.

Saint Germain introduced her to Will Calhoun of Living Colour, and the two collaborated on a fascinating rhythm exchange (hence the album’s title): a musical discussion of “Ruvido ed ostinato” by the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera. Track seven features Stavreva performing the piece on piano, like this live (from 2013) performance from her YouTube channel:

And to conclude the album, Calhoun and Stavreva improvise “Ritmico y Distorsionado,” based on Ginastera’s piece:

The album also includes a composition by Mason Bates, one by Nikolai Kapustin, two by Stavreva herself, and several brief Bulgarian dance pieces.

Jazz. Classical. All brought together without slashes in the person of a fine musician whom you will hear more from in the coming years.

* * * *
One last glimpse of Tania Stavreva’s talent: a live performance of Claude Debussy’s famous piece “Clair de Lune,” from 2015: - TheGadAboutTown.com

"Concert Review: Pianist Tania Stavreva – ‘Kaleidoscope Rhythms!’ – Music of Chopin, Mompou, Vladigerov and More (NYC 11/15/15)"

Bulgarian-born pianist Tania Stavreva is one of a new breed of self-sufficient young classical musicians. Following the lead of their pop music counterparts, they are taking their careers into their own hands – in Stavreva’s case, hands of great skill and power, attached to a deceptively diminutive form. Her recent program at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York included two short self-penned works of rumbling, percussive intensity betraying a spirit not hobbled by any need for over-delicacy.
In line with her interest in championing composers from her native land, Stavreva fearlessly segued her own “Rhythmic Movement” into a piece of the same name by noted Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov. His “Rhythmic Movement” moves in the characteristic 2-2-2-3 rhythm of some Eastern European music, which I’m seeing more and more often in
concert and “crossover” music in various genres – on violinist Lara St. John’s new album Shiksa, for example, and on jazz bassist Georg Breinschmid’s Double Brein.
Stavreva’ dark energy was impressive in Alberto Ginastera’s “Ruvideo et ostinato, Op. 22,” another percussive work that she played with Horowitz-esque animation, nearly throwing herself off the piano bench at the end. Gil Shohat’s miniature “The Scream,” though uninspiring in itself, led into another original piece in which Stavreva improvised on the piano’s inner guts with electric flair and colorful musicality.
Wisely, she inserted into the center of the program a few works in a more romantic style, starting with Chopin’s relatively rarely performed Etude No. 1 in F minor, whose snakelike melody and four-against-three rhythm she carried off nicely. Two short pieces by Federico Mompou were sensitively played with a Chopin-esque romanticism.

Two highlights came at the end. Bulgarian composer Veselin Stoyanov massaged that above-mentioned 2-2-2-3 rhythm into lyrical spiderwebs of sound in his “Prelude” from “Three Pieces for Piano in 9/8.” And in the closing showpiece, Vladigerov’s delightfully creative “Variations on Bulgarian Folk Song ‘Dilmano, Dilbero,’ Op. 2,” Stavreva displayed her wide interpretive range and smart, flashy technique on variations that suggested a broad spectrum of styles: Rachmaninoff, Chopin, jazz. (Even a hint Liberace!) After a series of short pieces, the Variations also gave the pianist a chance to show she can deploy sustained creative energy through a more extended work.

Stavreva believes a short, intermission-less concert held in a small space such as an art gallery, with a small audience and lasting not much more than a set by a band in a rock club, is a good way to appeal to a young audience not very familiar with classical music – or, just as important, with the atmosphere and habits of the concert culture in which it’s performed in our time. She’s not the only one, and it’s sure worth a try, especially with trendy venues open to concert music popping up too. (Here in New York, for example, joining Manhattan’s City Winery and Le Poisson Rouge is Brooklyn’s brand new National Sawdust.) I suspect it’s symbiotic: as more young performers set out to make their own way, more venues will become available for stylish new presentations of new music.
In any case, whatever your neighborhood, if there’s an art gallery around the corner there’s more and more chance you’ll find it giving fresh meaning to the term “chamber music.”
Tania Stavreva will have a new album coming out in 2016. In the meantime, you can find her concert schedule on her website. - by Jon Sobel, BlogCritics.org

"Bulgarian Pianist Tania Stavreva Brings "Kaleidoscope Rhythms" to Tenri Cultural Institute"

Great music and art from all corners of the globe can be found in New York all year round -- so much so that deciding which event to attend next can be overwhelming. Bulgarian-born pianist Tania Stavreva solved that dilemma for me on Saturday when she invited me to a program she dubbed "Kaleidoscope Rhythms" at the Tenri Cultural Institute.

Located in Greenwich Village, the Tenri Cultural Institute serves the surrounding community by, among other functions, providing performance space for local musicians. The clean, white minimalist room is visually and acoustically appealing, with the relative proximity to the Steinway grand enhancing the clarity of sound.

Stavreva jump-started a program of mostly Bulgarian compositions, opening with her own, "Rhythmic Movement." Her piece referenced motifs and ideas from the second number, also titled "Rhythmic Movement" by Pancho Vladigerov. Both works drove forward with a calculated energy: dense harmonies overlapped in rapid succession, relentless from beginning to end. It was also brief, lasting only a couple of minutes. In fact, the entire program was a refreshingly succinct Bulgarian sampler platter, clocking in at just over one hour.

Gil Shohat's "The Scream," inspired by the Munch painting of the same name, was paired with a short composition of her own, "The Dark Side of the Sun": an improvisation using an extended technique in which the strings inside the piano are plucked, sounding like an autoharp. These juxtapositions created a nice continuity, and allowed certain shorter works a little more breathing room.

Each of the Bulgarian works was distinct from one another, yet there were certainly common threads linking the material. Several works, for example, featured asymmetrical rhythms, in which sets of two notes are played against sets of three notes. There were also similarities within the melodic material -- much of it drawn from Bulgarian folk-songs. I found the mood of many of the works mysterious, but strangely comforting. (The program also included the United States Premiere of Nimrod Borenstein's "Ostinato Etude" Op. 66.)

The evening ended with an encore performance of Stavreva's opener. She played with a comforting self-assurance and great attention to melodic and harmonic balance. Her musicality, attention to detail, and a poised overall presentation made for an entertaining and satisfying experience. - review by Nick Stubblefield, FeastOfMusic.com

"Tania Stavreva New York Recital Debut@Carnegie Hall"

Tania Stavreva, Piano
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
April 4, 2009

Tania Stavreva made a deep impression with her Weill Hall debut as a recipient of Artists International's Special Presentation Series. Ms. Stavreva is a graduate of the Dubrin Petkov Music School in her native Bulgaria, where she studied with Rositsa Ivancheva for fourteen years.

Her demanding and diversified program began with a bold, dynamic performance of Alberto Ginastera's 1952 First Sonata, Op.22. Her reading of the Allegro marcato first movement immediately showed architecture, rhythmic swagger and the huge dynamic range whose brilliance never once became harsh or percussive. The Presto misterioso, with its scary unison between top and bottom of the keyboard, went with unlimited virtuosity and seeming effortlessness. Ms. Stavreva evoked a crouching inwardness in the Adagio molto appasionato slow movement and finished with a supercharged, almost overpowering version on the Ravido ed ostinato finale. I had almost forgotten just how fine a work this Ginastera Sonata was (it used to be heard frequently in concerts, but these days most pianists opt for the late composer's lesser Argentinian Dances). Ms. Stavreva deserves gratitude for her magnificent revival.

Also, noteworthy was a US Premiere of Gil Shohat's "Sparks from the Beyond" (1996-1997) The short pieces of Shohat's composition are entitled "Sparks from Infinity"; "Sparks of Existence"; "Sparks of Motion"; "Sparks of Material"; "Sparks of Faith"; "Sparks of Beauty" and "Sparks of Love." Ms. Stavreva's con amore performance evoked all the requisite rapt intensity, love, motion and beauty.

Scriabin's "Vers la flame", Op.72 continued along the lines of Ms. Stavreva's thematic programming. Her magnificent interpretation commenced with a delicacy that made the flesh creep, and then it ignited and built to an immense power which reminded me of those unforgettable Horowitz recordings and concert performances from the 1960s and 1970s.

The Sonata No.1 by the Australian composer Carl Vine first came to my attention when I was a judge at the 1995 Cleveland International Piano Competition. Interestingly, the unisons in the Sonata's second movement have much in common with the aforementioned second movement of the Ginastera Sonata. Ms. Stavreva obviously finds this particular genre of pianism made to order for her superior technical abilities; she played the Vine and the Ginastera outstandingly well.

Two Debussy Preludes, "Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir" from Book I and "Bruyeres" from Book II, were elegantly recreated with pulse and atmosphere, and the concert ended with the Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Song "Dilmano Dilbero" Op. 2 by the late Alexander Vladigerov (1933-1993).

- Harris Goldsmith - Harris Goldsmith - New York Concert Review

"The Modern Piano Project - Review by Harry Rolnick"

Music Of The Century

New York
Roulette, 20 Greene Street

The Modern Piano Project:
Mason Bates: White Lies for Lomax (2007)
Carl Vine: Rash for Solo Piano with CD (1997), Sonata No.1 (1990)
Samuel Barber: Fuga from Piano Sonata Op.26 (1949)
Claude Debussy: Préludes: Bruyeres: La fille aux cheveux de lin (1910)
Marc Rossi : Dream Catcher (original version, 2009) (World Premiere)
Alberto Ginastera: Sonata No.1, Op.22 (1952)
Sergei Prokofiev Suggestion Diabolique, Op.4, No.4

Tania Stavreva (Pianist)

New Yorkers looking for mainstream music last night would have been frustrated. Up in Symphony Space, players of the New York Philharmonic were playing new works by Sam Shepherd and Matthias Pinscher. Down in Carnegie Hall, Louis Andriessen and Bang On A Can were going to present more contemporary music. Unfortunately, the composer of the Divine Comedy opera suffered a Divinely-Generated Tragedy. Iceland’s volcanic ash prevented his associates were flying back, and the concert was canceled.

Even further downtown, the 26-year-old pianist Tania Stavreva was giving an exceptional concert of 20th and 21st Century music with names mostly unknown. I hadn’t heard Ms. Stavreva before, but her outstanding reputation preceded her. Not only numerous prizes from her native Bulgaria, but as a student of Michael Lewin at the Boston Conservatory, Ms. Stravreva had won the Chamber Music Honors Competition, the Piano Honors Competition and other awards. After these, her numerous performances in America and Europe have received excellent reviews.

Most attractively, this pianist has never played music to win audience popularity. Crowds do not stand on long lines to hear Ginastera, Scriabin and her countryman Alexander Vladigerov, but she has no hesitation in programing rare music–and let the devil take the hindmost.

Down at the Roulette, a hall near Canal Street better known for rock and jazz, Ms. Stavreva sat down at a less-than-pristine Steinway, and let her finger fly over music for the younger audience, mainly of composers and pianists themselves. And while Ms. Stavreva did have names like Debussy and Barber, the major portion of the hour-long recital was devoted to other favorites.

Neither the piano (whose soft tones were not quite audible) nor the hall (with curtains masking diverse pianistic colors) were especially conducive to great playing. But her fingers overcame those difficulties in the most difficult works.

For some reason, Ms. Stavreva opted for two of Debussy’s less taxing preludes, possibly to give a chance for us to relax. But both “Heather” and the ultra-familiar “Girl with the Flaxen Hair” showed nicely practiced fluidity.

The other relatively familiar work, Ginastera’s First Sonata was, for this listener, the highlight of the recital. It takes a real technician to essay the Presto, and to bring out those mysterious folkish melodies in the beginning. But the slow movement of this Sonata starting like that Scarlatti “Cat’s fugue” but developing into the most delicate tapestry, was played with a personal sensitivity difficult to find elsewhere.

The other fugue was the finale of Samuel Barber’s E flat Sonata, and was played with a jaunty almost rollicking sense. To finish off, the pianist played Prokofiev’s Suggestion Diabolique, which I had heard but 48 hours before in a Bronfman encore. He had the right piano, the right Carnegie Hall setting and the right strength. Ms. Stavreva played it with a bounce. But diabolic it was not.

Of the new works, one, Mark Rossi’s Dream Catcher was written for Ms. Stavreva (quite a gift for the young artist). At first, the rhythmic motifs were interesting, but not exactly accessible. At that point, Ms. Stavreva did what every recitalist should do with a new work. She repeated it.

Repetition should be the rule. Once in Hong Kong, conductor David Atherton played Webern’s Six Pieces for a totally uncomprehending audiences. On the spur of the movement, he turned to the grouchy listeners and announced that they would be repeated. The audience, recognizing at least some of the structures, actually began to smile a bit, to remember.

When Ms. Stavreva played the Rossi work, the opening rhythmic motif at the start and some other little measures began to fit together, to make sense even in its arcane structure. A third reading some time will give even a better feeling.

The first work was dedicated to the great Alan Lomax, the American equivalent of Béla Bartók in rooting out our folk music. But Mason Bates’ White Lies for Lomax, was reaching for jazz more than blues, the James Johnson ‘stretch’ piano, a bit cleaned up. The sounds at the end of Lomax actually coaxing some Mississippi blues was the real thing.

Australian Carl Vine contributed two pieces. The first, Rash used more electronic sound, sometimes imitating the pianist, sometimes playing different music entirely. This was fun, entrancing, very clever.

The secon - Harry Rolnick - ConcertoNet.com (The Classical Music Network)

"Tania Stavreva in Concert - A Review by Mark Greenfest"

Tania Stavreva gave a piano solo concert at Tenri Cultural Institute in New York, June 23, 2015, before she launches her British tour. Her London recital is July 25. Ms. Stavreva’s performance is exciting and exacting. She understands the music she performs. Trim as any aerobics instructor in her black cocktail dress and tiara-like headband, this petite dynamo has some of the most precise fingering of any of the twenty-something generation of pianists, bar none. And, she has a pedaling technique in her stiletto heels that’s immaculate. Her showmanship has total substance and this Bulgarian-born, and Bulgarian and American-educated pianist, with distinguished Russian-trained professors, is one to watch. (She had studied with Daniel Pollack, who was a disciple of Rosina Lhevine, at Juilliard, and with Krassimir Gatev and Rosita Ivanchera in Bulgaria.)

In her own, short and virtuosic piece Rhythmic Movement, rhythms cascade on top of rhythms, in wildly forward-moving arpeggios that are carefully controlled – hands moving fast as lightning. I was impressed by the music of Pancho Vladigerov, a Bulgarian composer whose music is lyrical and ruminative – for instance, the first piece Page from An Album is nocturnal – very much in the pianistic tradition of Liszt and Chopin – romantic, subtle and exciting; in contrast, the third piece has rocketing arpeggios.

Her French, Spanish, Argentinian and Russian repertoire sounds authentic, steeped in that culture and technique. In several pieces her hands rocket like a jet engine, yet she’s steady as a rock. She performed the New York premiere of Mason Bates (U.S., b. 1977), Indigo Workshop (2014) and is supportive of new music. She also gave a superb performance of Roberto Piana’s (b. 1971) Preludes. (She has gotten good press in the past, including from The New York Times and from the late Harris Goldsmith.)

More about her at http://www.sonicbids.com/band/taniastavreva/. - SoundWordSight Arts Magazine

""I Have Seen the Future of Classical Music, and It Includes Drinks" - Review by Steve Holtje"

Rhythmic Movement: A Modern View of the Classical Music Recital in the 21st Century
The Metropolitan Room, July 27, 2011, NYC

"Whither the classical recital in our multi-media/attention deficit disorder age? Will kids nowadays sit in a dark room (worship at a temple of music, as they say) to concentrate only on a lone figure onstage playing non-rock music? Well, it helps to have a drink in hand, as the success of Le Poisson Rouge has shown over the past few years; classical music in a bar with table service is apparently worth the trade-off of the sounds of the music mixing with clinking glasses, the whine of credit card receipts printing, etc. But what else can be added? Well, visuals -- and not just the sight of good-looking people playing the instruments. Kronos Quartet has done this quite successfully with film and even a projection of the printed music score (showing that Penderecki's non-traditional sounds are scrupulously notated was a brilliant idea). As the subtitle of her recital program at the Metropolitan Room (which normally hosts tony cabaret performances) suggests, young pianist Tania Stavreva has some further ideas for enlivening recital presentation.

Lest you immediately think that she's distracting from a talent lacuna, rest assured that such is not the case. When after her 2009 NYC recital debut the city's senior maven of classical music criticism, Harris Goldsmith, likened her Scriabin playing to Horowitz's, it was clear that the child prodigy from Bulgaria had grown into a fully formed and fearsomely talented pianist who need not overcompensate for anything.

Her programming is staunchly modern: the oldest composer played this evening was Eric Satie (1866-1925), half the composers on the program are alive, and there were two world premieres, three if one counts her arrangement of Cage's 4'33" -- which brings us to one of her tweaks of recital decorum. Besides shortening the piece to 3'33", she also added a miked clock (which she says "represents time and...is also a symbol of constant rhythm and pulse that are eternal") and dancers, who for most of their time on stage posed without moving, which seems appropriate in music with no notes. Two pieces utilized electronics. And Stavreva’s bare back was adorned with body paint by Danny Setiawan (a painting of a dancer, reflecting the Rhythmic Movementtitle of the program), and for most of the program, live video (by Dwight Schneider) of her back was projected on a wall screen; as she played, the dancer moved (well, slightly).

Satie's 3 Gnossiennes opened the program, and at first the video was not live, but rather a close-up of the application of the paint. The rather frenzied movements of the painter clashed with Satie's solemn rhythms, but the musical performance was impeccable. Not for Stavreva the dry tone and flat affect of some Satie players; she deployed rich timbres, excellent legato, and expressive rubato phrasing while honoring the mercurial moods of Satie's directions, moving from one piece to the next with barely a pause.

Next came Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983), his Danzas Argentinas, a triptych of character pieces. She used a nice light touch for the first two, keeping the dissonances from becoming too clangorous with her refined pedal technique. Then, for "Dance of the Arrogant Cowboy," she gradually unleashed the power as the piece ebbed and flowed, building to its bravura finish.

Nikolai Kapustin (1937- ) began a stretch of living composers; two selections (Nos. 1 and 3) from his Jazz Concert Etudes were both jazzy and bluesy in a sort of 1920s Futurist mechanical way, alternating lush harmonies with more spare and rhythmically energetic passages.

The first electronics of the evening were heard near the end of Mason Bates's "White Lies for Lomax" when a field recording by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax was sampled. Before that, the piano gave us fragmentary and hallucinatory passages; the earthy vocals and percussion of the American South that were overlaid at the end overshadowed the composed segment.

Then came the Cage; it's treated so reverentially nowadays as a modernist classic that in the concert hall there's little to hear, but in the bar that wasn't a problem; there was even the pop of a wine bottle being uncorked. I do think that the addition of the dancers highlighted the visual element too much, distracting from Cage's point of tricking us (so to speak) into listening attentively to sounds we would generally ignore or, at least, process unconsciously. The presence of the dancers meant that the video projection of Stavreva's back, the novelty of which had been exhausted, was turned off.

The pianist segued directly into the next work, Scott Wollschleger's (1980- ) "Chaos Analog," a graphic score. It does evoke chaos with its wide-ranging use of the piano's whole range, but it's not really chaotic since the very structure of the piano encourages certain arrangements of notes (glissandi and arm - Steve Holtje - CultureCatch.com

"Tania Stavreva (piano) - once and only in London Saturday afternoon recital"

Tania Stavreva (piano) - once and only in London Saturday afternoon recital

Saturday, July 25, 2015 - 15:00

1901 Arts Club welcomes 'Bulgarian-born piano dynamo' (TimeOut NY) Tania Stavreva from New York, with a unique, diverse and exciting programme featuring composers from eight different nationalities, including several European and UK Premieres. The programme cannot be heard anywhere else in London and highlights music as a truly universal language with no barriers, no matter the political views or status of the countries where it was composed.

Described by the music critics as 'exceptional, entrancing, fun!' (ConcertoNet.com), 'a fully formed and fearsomely talented pianist' (CultureCatch.com) and 'bold, dynamic, magnificent' (New York Concert Review), 'Bulgarian-born piano dynamo' (Time Out NY)Tania Stavreva is one of the most versatile young artists of her generation, internationally renowned for her 'superior technical abilities', 'unlimited virtuosity', 'personal sensitivity difficult to find elsewhere', and 'huge dynamic range' combined with 'demanding and diversified' programmes.

Tania Stavreva made her Carnegie Hall debut in April 2009. Since then, she has performed at many prestigious venues including Lincoln Center, Kaufman Center, the Grammy Museum Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, Embassy of Bulgaria in New York, Bohemian National Hall at the Czech Center, Bulgarian National Radio Plovdiv Concert Hall and the CSV Cultural Center where she was featured live on New York 1 News by NBC reporter Asa Aarons.

Rhythmic Movement in 7/8
Tania Stavreva ()
Page from an Album
Pancho Vladigerov (1899-1978)
Ratchenitza from Choumene miniatures pour piano
Pancho Vladigerov (1899-1978)
Rhythmic Movement in 9/8
Pancho Vladigerov (1899-1978)
Prelude in 9/8
Veselin Stoyanov (1902-1969)
Pájaro triste from Impresiones intimas
Federico Mompou (1893-1987)
Cuna from Impresiones intimas
Federico Mompou (1893-1987)
American Prelude No 6 from 12 American Preludes
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)
4th movement: Ruvido ed ostinato from Sonata for Piano No 1
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)
Étude No 1 - Prelude: Allegro assai from 8 Concert Études
Nikolai Kapustin (1937-)
Étude No 3 - Toccatina: Allegro from 8 Concert Études
Nikolai Kapustin (1937-)
Indigo Workshop
Mason Bates (1977-)
Gnossienne No 4
Erik Satie (1866-1925)
4 Gymnopedies (tribute to Erik Satie)
Steve Holtje (1961-)
Meditation on Satie
Houston Dunleavy (1962-)
Variations on a Bulgarian folk song 'Dilmano, Dilbero'
Alexander Vladigerov (1933-1993)

1901 Arts Club
7 Exton Street
London SE1 8UE
United Kingdom
51° 30' 15.4044" N, 0° 6' 39.15" W - BBC Music Magazine

"Tania Stavreva at the 1901 Arts Club: A unique pianist in an unique venue"

By James Moriarty, Royal Academy of Music, 26 July 2015

Everybody should visit the 1901 Arts Club at least once, even if just for the novelty. Venues need to create a niche in order to survive in London’s overcrowded music scene and the Arts Club seems to have done just that: think fin de siècle social-club-cum-arts-salon. The bigger problem for venues in London, however, is how to tempt first-rate performers away from the Barbican, Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall. Whilst she is hardly a household name, Bulgarian-born pianist Tania Stavreva is exactly the sort of performer these venues need: combining genuine quality with a refreshing approach to programming.

In fact Stavreva’s unique approach to programming – incorporating everything from Bulgarian contemporary music to on-stage body painting – has been the distinguishing characteristic of her career thus far, and this came to the fore from the outset with a performance of one of Stavreva’s own compositions. Rhythmic Movement in 7/8 was only a short piece – initially composed as incidental music to accompany the entrances of Caliban in a theatrical performance of The Tempest – but it showcased Stavreva’s firmness of articulation and energetic playing excellently. Some of the denser textures in the lower register verged on the muddy at times, but this can probably be put down to the acoustic of the Arts Club’s drawing-room-sized performance space.

More Bulgarian music followed, including a fine performance of Veselin Stoyanov’s Prelude in 9/8. The prelude’s musical language was somewhere between Debussy and Satie, with a romantic tinge to the harmony at climactic points, and Stavreva’s performance displayed great sensitivity towards the sweeping harmonic gestures whilst maintaining the rhythmic fluency demanded by the piece’s sparser moments.

By the time she reached a pair of Nikolai Kapustin Jazz Concert Etudes, some of the finer examples of classical-Jazz fusion you’re likely to hear, the musical affinities between the pieces on this seemingly disparate programme were beginning to become clear. Stavreva clearly has a penchant for rhythmically adventurous music, even if her interpretation here was a bit strait-laced for “jazz”, as well as music that blends modality with harmonic luxuriousness. As such the programme up to this point and beyond served as an effective introduction to 20th century compositional voices that stand outside of the modernist framework through which music of the last century is so often understood.

American composer Steve Holtje’s Four Gymnopedies, Tribute to Satie, receiving its UK première, were a further example of this softly-iconoclastic aesthetic, one that has been especially prevalent in American music of the last 60 years. Consisting of four brief movements, each of which magnify and develop material from Satie’s original Gymnopédies, the enriched harmonic language of Holtje’s pieces suited Stavreva’s playing better than the delicate Satie Gnossienne that was performed as a preface to these pieces.

Other than her two encores, a pair of intimate works by Roberto Piana and a reprise of Rhythmic Movement in 7/8, the final work on the programme was Alexander Vladigerov’s Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Song. After such a buffet-style programme, it was good to have a slightly longer piece to finish proceedings and Vladigerov’s dramatic variations fitted the bill nicely. In fact the work ended up giving a reasonably fair account of Staveva’s playing generally: both exciting and knowing, but occasionally a touch deadpan. Nonetheless Stavreva’s performance as a whole was an enjoyable and enlightening experience. Her style, admittedly a touch affected at times, fits in with the singularity of the venue perfectly, even if every piece on the programme was composed after 1901! - www.Bachtrack.com

"Mason Bates - Stereo is King (2014)"

"Pianist Tania Stavreva closes Stereo Is King with an eye-opening performance. The Bulgarian native's solo performance on "White Lies for Lomax" is a stunning display of intricate blues playing and a highlight of the recording." - Karl Ackermann - AllAboutJazz.com

"Album review: Mason Bates, 'Stereo Is King'"

"...The culminating "White Lies for Lomax," a blues fantasy masterfully delivered by pianist Tania Stavreva, ties up all of Bates' gifts in a single puckish package." - Joshua Kosman - San Francisco Chronicle

"Pianist Tania Stavreva Challenges, Seduces, & Impresses with her Rhythmic Movement Multimedia show"

Review by Mika Cooper: http://www.unitedbulgaria.com/pianist-tania-stavreva-challenges-seduces-impresses-with-her-rhythmic-movement-multimedia-show.htm - UnitedBulgaria.com

""Event not to be missed""

"Event not to be missed" review by Marc Rossi

Tania Stavreva's piano recital on June 23rd 2009 at Suelly Hall in Boston, was an event not to be missed. She played a wide variety of works, from the powerful and percussive Ginistera Sonata No. 1, to the intense and virtuostic Vers la Flamme, poeme by Scriabin, to the N. E. premier of the abstract Sparks from the Beyond by Israeli composer Gil Shohat, to the exquisite Debussy preludes Les sons et les parfums tourent dans l'air du soir, and Bruyeres. Stavreva has technique to burn, and that having been said, these works were all played with flair, sensitivity, musical depth, and a clear intention of what the composer had in mind. If you, like Horowitz's Scriabin, you'll like Stavreva's. It's that good. I also found the Debussy a refreshing breath of fresh air, full of sonority and color, beautifully contrasting the other works.

In keeping with her choosing pieces of dazzling virtuosity, she also presented N. E. premiers and performances of two other new works by living composers in addition to the Shohat-- Australian composer Carl Vine's Sonata No. 1, and Bulgarian composer Alexander Vladigerov's Variations on a Bulgarian Folk Song "Dilmano Dilbero." Though clearly influenced by Ginistera, Bartok, and other 20th century composers, the Vine sonata is a thoroughly post-modern work with an intense lyricism emerging from the complex 20th century modality and dissonance. To this listener, it was the most satisfying of the new works she chose in its scope and originality, and Stavreva played it brilliantly. As with the Scriabin, it would be hard to imagine a better performance.

The Vladigerov variations is a work reflecting many pianistic voices, culminating with a harmonically rich section reminiscent of Rachmaninoff, Stavreva's broad interpretive skills allowed her to bring each variation to life - from then ubiquitous percussive and asymmetrical meter sections, to the grand romantic. She was at ease and in control of all aspects of the piece.

I believe Tania Stavreva is on her way to becoming a major artist. She has the technique, soul, and musical intellect to achieve this, and we all will be the beneficiaries.

Marc Rossi
Professor, Berklee College of Music

- Marc Rossi - The Boston Globe's Boston.com


March 31, 2012

THE TNT DUO presented an exciting selection of modern works for violin and piano influenced and inspired by Bulgarian folk music. The concert was on Friday, March 30th at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Hall at Symphony Space presented by the Bulgarian-American Center Madara. The young artists Tania Stavreva, piano & Teodora Dimitrova, violin (The TNT Duo) brought an hour of their Bulgarian musical heritage to The Big Apple. The program featured also three New York premieres.

The TNT Duo continued their first season together with a New York City concert debut performance at Symphony Space’s Leonard Nimoy Thalia Hall. They presented a program featuring works by Bulgarian and American composers, who found their inspiration in the traditional Bulgarian music.

The duo performed Robert S. Cohen (b.1945)-- Five Nights in Sofia for Violin & Piano: Gypsy Bacchanale, Midnight Girl, Dancing Snowflakes, Mourning Bells, Banitza Bang; Milcho Leviev (b.1937)-- Sonata for Violin & Piano - New York Premiere; Pancho Vladigerov-- Poem, Op.7 - New York Premiere, and Rachenitza, Op. 18 - New York Premiere.

full article: http://www.bulgariasega.com/english/13833.html

By Violeta Jeliazkova
www.bgfocus.com - Bulgaria SEGA - The Newspaper for the Bulgarians in the USA & Canada

"Performers Paint A New Picture On Classical Music"

An upcoming classical music concert may surprise fans of Bach or Beethoven, but the many artists involved are daring to create a new concept of the modern classical genre. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

Many performers get made up before a big show. Concert pianist Tania Stavreva goes much further, making body painting part of her performance.

"Doing body paint and music together, this has never happened in the world of classical music," Stavreva said.

The Bulgarian born Stavreva likes to do things differently. Her upcoming show at the Metropolitan Room, "Rhythmic Movement", showing on July 27, is an eclectic mix of modern classical music, including live electronics.

The concert will also showcase the artistry of body painter Danny Setiawan

"I'd been showing my work in local art shows and a lot of the time people look at it and then are like, 'well, I saw something similar at IKEA," or something like that," said Setiawan. "Or they think that it’s beautiful but they just kind of ignore it. But then with body painting, you can't ignore this human being getting painted."

Incorporating body painting into the performance requires a lot of preparation and for Tania it also means having lots of backless outfits.

As for the music, it's also different. There will be several selections including "Moon, Tides, Cycles" from composer Tim Dauost, who also works at NY1.

He originally wrote the piece just for piano but then added a live electronic element.

"I have a microphone on the piano and it's going through this little box right here into my laptop," said Dauost. "This is sort of an ethereal sound that's going to be happening underneath."

Some classical music fans will be taken "aback" by this show but these artists are ready to paint the town.

"Rhythmic Movement" A Modern View of the Classical Music Recital in the 21st Century will be playing at the Metropolitan Room at 34 West 22nd st. on July 27 at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 with a two beverage minimum.

For more information visit www.metropolitanroom.com

Or visit the participating artists' websites:

Tania Stavreva, Piano: www.taniastavreva.com
Danny Setiawan, Body Paint Art: www.denartny.com
Tim Daoust, Live Electronics: www.timdaoust.com - Stephanie Simon - NY1 News

"Tania Stavreva–Interview and Preview of her Galapagos Art Space Multimedia Show"

On Thursday, May 10 at 8 PM, New York-based pianist-composer Tania Stavreva will perform a special event at the great Galapagos Art Space located in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn (Remember I was there covering Hilary Hahn’s fundraiser for the disaster in Japan last year?). At this event titled Rhythmic Movement Multimedia: A New Picture on Classical Music, Tania will be performing pieces by Erik Satie, Alberto Ginastera, Federico Mompou as well as original pieces by her and by Tim Daoust, but unlike what you expect from a piano recital, this is a multimedia event that will also feature the body paintings of Derrick Little and the work of acclaimed photographer Jack Dzamba. Tania spoke to me briefly about the show.

CM: Can you talk about this concert at Galapagos? What are you performing on the program, and what will make it unlike most piano recitals?

TS: This multimedia concert is unique because the ideas incorporated never happened before in the history of classical music. In college I got very addicted to the music of Alexander Scriabin and that is where I learned a lot about synesthesia and painter Wassily Kandinsky. I often feel music and see music as color. When I play pieces by Satie, Debussy, Scriabin, there is something in the air that is like a fog and it blends its colors. With the music by Satie and Scriabin the colors blend more and connect from one another smoothly while with Debussy I could often see more exact pictures. In this concert music and color are connected through body painting. The first time I got this idea happened when I met artist Danny Setiawan and we did something similar at the Metropolitan Room last year. Derrick Little has a different style and instead of using my back as a flat canvas, he connects the images to the body. Derrick uses more abstract style and he is more of a designer.

At the concert also there is a photography art multimedia where while I play “La barca” (The Boat) and “Cuna” (The Cradle) by Federico Mompou, while the photographs by artist Jack Dzamba will be projected on a screen above me. Another interesting element is Tim Daoust’s new work titled Quivering Filament of Incandescent Bulb where the composer incorporates the music for piano with live electronic sounds. It is a reflection of 20th century impressionism with 21st century world of high tech we live in featuring electronics and cosmic sound.

Rhythmic Movement is a symbol of live energy–an energy that gives light and electricity and keeps the world moving forward. Rhythmic Movement is time and space, music and silence, life and death, light and dark, love and loneliness–conditions that have their own rhythm and movement, conditions that each of us experiences early or late. In my interpretation of the idea death is the beginning of something new – not the end of life but a rebirth of life. It is a constant circle that has its own rhythm and movement. Light cannot exist without dark and the character of the music I’ve chosen to represent these ideas has its own nuances and rhythmic flow.

CM: What made you decide to do this kind of presentation?

TS: Danny Setiawan was the first painter I collaborated on a similar project last year. When I saw his work, I was very inspired. We got together, I told him how I felt about the music, what is my interpretation and how I see the colors. When we advertised this project Derrick Little heard about it and he was inspired to offer another view of the project coming through more abstract style. I’ve been truly blessed to have the opportunity to collaborate with 2 of the best body painters in NY and the world!

CM: Can this kind of show possibly change the way people feel about going to classical concerts?

TS: Well, this is a difficult question. The goal of this multimedia (not a piano recital) is not to say “this is it, this is how classical music has to be done from now on”. It is a way of expressing myself through my love and passion for art and it is a - Chris McGovern Blog@WorldPress.com

"Tania Stavreva: Total Artist"

"Tania Stavreva, the young Bulgarian keyboard phenom, is a complete artist. Not only does she display dazzling skills with her performances of Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, and Scriabin, she throws her entire body into her work.

Stavreva is having her body painted (above right) by artist Danny Setiawan and will be displaying their collaboration in a series of upcoming recitals. I hear that keyboard-side tickets are going for scalper prices! FYI - She is on Facebook and MySpace. As they say, OMG!" - GotRadio Blog - GotRadio.com

"Bulgarian Pianist plays Debussy and Vladigerov"

The article is available in Bulgarian only: http://plovdiv-sega.com/2011/08/6313 - Plovdiv-Sega.com

""Tania Stavreva podariava koncert na rodnia si grad""

Available in Bulgarian only: http://www.marica.bg/show.php?id=65091 - Evelina Zdravkova - Marica Press

"Tania Stavreva"

The Bulgarian pianist is joined by body painter Danny Setiawan and electronic-sound artist Tim Daoust for Rhythmic Movement, a multimedia classical-music happening featuring works by ten composers from the past century.

(212) 206-0440 Metropolitanroom.com
$15, seniors and students $12 - Time Out New York

"Bulgarian Night at the Grammy Museum, Los Angeles"

The review is available in Bulgarian only: http://www.aba.government.bg/?show=38&nid=1029 - Bulgaria SEGA

"Tania Stavreva Piano Recital"

This article is available online in Bulgarian only: http://bgfocus.com/NEWS/news-tania.htm - Violeta Jeliazkova - Nedelnik Press

"Tania Stavreva - Three Piano Works"

Tania Stavreva - Three Piano Works
Genre: Classical

Bulgarian classical pianist Tania Stavreva offers three piano works on her web site.

Samuel Barber's Piano Sonata, Op. 26 was initially performed by Vladimir Horowitz and was hailed by the piano virtuoso as the first great American composition for piano. It is indeed a powerful work. It teeters between late romanticism and the more modern, and dissonant, 20th century styles. I grew up on recordings of Barber's Adagio for Strings and Summer Music for Wind Quintet, so this sonata is a welcome addition to my knowledge of the exceptional music of Samuel Barber.

The Piano Sonata no. 3 of Alexander Scriabin was composed in 1897. The sonata is firmly in the late Romantic style of Brahms and Liszt but reveals that Scriabin is starting to create his own signature sound. Romantic, passionate and a little florid, this is a perfect piece for Stavreva's own passionate manner of playing.

Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata in C Minor, BWV 911 wraps up the three works. The ten minute composition is a bit brief for inclusion in this blog but if you can't make an exception for Bach who can you make an exception for? Some might say Stavreva's romanticist technique is a bit much for the Baroque structures of Bach but I think it gives the piece a different perspective.

All tracks are available in 128kbps MP3.

Marvin Vernon, Free Albums Galore
http://freealbums.blogsome.com/2008/02/11/tania-stavreva-three-piano-works/ - Marvin Vernon - Free Albums Galore

"Performers gather to pay tribute to their cultural roots"

Performers gather to pay tribute to their cultural roots
Arts day celebrates Bulgarian heritage

Stephanie Schorow, Globe Correspondent
May 29, 2008

"...Organized by the Bulgarian American Center, the event features Bulgarian folk dances by the Boston-area group Ludo Mlado, a performance by Madara, a children's choir, as well as home-style Bulgarian food. Pianist Tania Stavreva, a Boston Conservatory graduate who will have her Carnegie Hall solo debut in 2009, will play the New England premiere of "Toccata," a work by the contemporary Bulgarian composer Vassil Kazandjiev.

The event is "a little bit of everything," said Violet Jeliazkova of Woburn, who founded the Bulgarian American Center 10 years ago as a resource for Bulgarians living in the Boston area. Now the organization focuses on promoting Bulgarian cultural events and organizes an annual cultural celebration, she said..."

You can read the whole article at: http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2008/05/29/performers_gather_to_pay_tribute_to_their_cultural_roots/

- Stephanie Schorow - The Boston Globe


"Rhythmic Movement" Released on January 7th, 2017 - album is on Billboard Classical Top 10 & winner of 8 (so far) international music awards! It is produced, engineered and mixed by legend Ron Saint Germain (Jimi Hendrix), with 2 time Grammy Award winning drummer Will Calhoun (Living Colour), who is guest artist on track 14: www.taniastavreva.com/shop

"Stereo is King" on Innova Records (Tania Stavreva is playing on track 6): http://www.innova.mu/albums/mason-bates/stereo-king



Described by the music critics as "exceptional, entrancing, fun!" (Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet.com), "a fully formed and fearsomely talented pianist" (Steve Holtje, CultureCatch.com) and "bold, dynamic, magnificent" (Harris Goldsmith, NY Concert Review"), "Bulgarian-born piano dynamo" (Steve Smith, Time Out NY) Tania Stavreva is recognized as one of the most versatile young artists of her generation, renowned internationally for having “some of the most precise fingering of any of the twenty-something generation of pianists, bar none” (Mark Greenfest, SoundWordSight Arts Magazine), for her "superior technical abilities", "unlimited virtuosity", "personal sensitivity difficult to find elsewhere", and "huge dynamic range" combined with "demanding and diversified programs”. Her "masterfully delivered" (San Francisco Chronicle) performance of the "White Lies for Lomax" by Mason Bates, released on Innova Recordings “is a stunning display of intricate blues playing and a highlight of the recording” (Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz CD Review). Her "edgy and knockout" (The Huffington Post) album Rhythmic Movement reached Billboard Classical Top 10 (at #8) and won the Clouzine International Music Award 2017 in Best Classical Album, 3  Global Music Awards for Outstanding Achievement and 4 Radio Music Awards, Indie Music Channel.

Tania Stavreva made her New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in April 2009. She returned to Carnegie Hall in June 2016, on the main stage Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. She has performed also at many other top venues including Lincoln Center, Kaufman Center, Symphony Space, Kosciusko Foundation Auditorium, Steinway Hall, Embassy of Bulgaria in New York, and the CSV Cultural Center where she was featured live on NY1 News by NBC reporter Asa Aarons. She has performed also at the GRAMMY Museum Theater, Clive Davis Auditorium in Los Angeles, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Sanders Theater at Harvard University and the French Cultural Center in Boston, The National Ethnographic Museum in Bulgaria, Radio Plovdiv - Bulgarian National Radio Concert Hall, Cathedral San Lorenzo in Italy, Sala dei Notari (Italy), 1901 Arts Club in London, UK and the Ruinekerk in The Netherlands. In January 2013 her sold out Chicago recital debut was broadcast live on WFMT 98.7. On June 12th, 2012 she was invited to perform at the Miles Davis/Edith Piaf Commemorative USPS Stamp Dedication Ceremony at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York where Ms. Stavreva was featured on CNN and shared the stage with the legendary bassist Ron Carter, the Miles Davis Family, Grammy-award winning songwriter Mike Stoller and legendary music producer George Avakian (Columbia Records). 

In July 2011 Tania Stavreva performed for a first time body painted, connecting the music of Erik Satie to the work by artist Danny Setiawan. The multimedia collaboration was immediately featured on NY1 News, NY Daily News and Time Out NY. On May 10th, 2012 Ms. Stavreva collaborated with the internationally-acclaimed body painter and artist Derrick Little (Madonna, Shakira) at Galapagos Art Space in New York on another multimedia project titled Rhythmic Movement Multimedia (abstract music-color synesthesia). 

In 2009, invited by Amanda Palmer from the internationally-acclaimed band The Dresden Dolls, Tania Stavreva is one of the first pianists of her generation to perform modern classical music at such rock club venues as Webster Hall (NY) and Paradise Rock Club (Boston), making classical music accessible to younger and non-traditional audiences. She has also collaborated with legendary two times Grammy award winning drummers Will Calhoun (Living Color, B.B. King) and Dave Lombardo (John Zorn, Slayer, Fantomas). 

Tania Stavreva is an active participant at many outreach programs and fundraising campaigns, supporting institutions such as Dana Faber Cancer Institute, NYU Hospital, Los Angeles Children's Hospital, etc. She is a graduate of the National Music School "Dobrin Petkov" in Bulgaria, where she studied with renown pedagogue Rositsa Ivancheva and a graduate of the Boston Conservatory, where she was a full scholarship recipient and the winner of many competitions. She has been on the piano faculty of the Boston Int. Summer Music Festival "Youth & Muse", Piano School of NYC and the Page Music Lesson Center, where she was also the director and founder of the Page Music Piano Performance Program. Tania Stavreva is a voting member of the Grammys (NARAS) as well as a member of ASCAP, Women in Music, Latin Grammys (LARAS) and AFM.

Band Members