PHILIP KUTEV National School of Folk Arts
The National School of Folk Arts “Philip Kutev” is located in Kotel, a little and picturesque town in the mountainous area of Eastern Bulgaria. The School was founded on 2nd of October, 1967 and was the first school in Europe and in the country to teach traditional folklore music and vocal technique. 1800 students have graduated the School since it was opened and about 75 per cent of them have continued their education in various universities and academic institutions in Bulgaria and abroad. The School has given the world a lot of celebrities such as Teodossy Spassov, Tsvetan Marinov, Tsvetan Radkov, Binka Dobreva et.al.
The National School of Folk Arts has a five-year course and an eight-year course of studies and its alumni graduate as specialists of secondary school education level in folklore arts with the following majors: Bulgarian Traditional Folklore Singing; Bulgarian Traditional Folklore Music – kaval, gaida (bagpipe), tamboura, gadoulka; Bulgarian Folklore Dances and the craft of making Bulgarian folklore music instruments, Luthierie. The students are 10 to 18 years of age and study both general education and specialized music subjects. The talented students are selected through severe competition and they come from all 26 administrative regions of Bulgaria. All of the students take individual folklore music and piano lessons and are taught by highly qualified and experienced teachers, who are experts in the field of traditional Bulgarian folklore and the performing arts. The teachers do research work and their findings in the field of traditional Bulgarian folklore get published in specialized editions of the School.
All students take part in various performing formations and groups – of 7, 14, 22, 35 or 45 members. These groups comprise vocal or instrumental performers and/or dance troupes. The most popular are the ensemble formations which comprise musicians, singers and dancers. These groups take part in various events, concerts, festivals and competitions throughout the country and abroad. The skills and training of the talented girls and boys make it possible for them to fuse various genres – from traditional Bulgarian folklore, to the ethno-jazz, techno and film songs, all new and contemporary forms of music expression. A good proof of this is that they have taken part in a rock opera and several international arts projects. Over the years, representative performing groups of the School have shared the beauty of traditional Bulgarian folklore music and dances with audiences in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Turkey, the Czeck Republic, Cuba, Moldova, France, Holland, USA, Spain, Costa Rica, Estonia, Turkey, Great Britain, Cyprus et al.