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Music professor enjoys tickling the ivories

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 By DaMarkus James

da.james@colostate-pueblo.edu 

While playing music may seem like a hobby to some people, Zahari Metchkov appreciates the aspects of music.

Zahari Metchkov, an assistant professor of music and piano theory at CSU-Pueblo.

Metchkov is an assistant professor of music and piano theory at CSU-Pueblo. He has been working at the university since last summer where he instructs applied piano courses, piano literature and piano-related courses, he said. 

A teaching music course, especially music theory, has technical aspect, Metchkov said. “Music theory is the practical, mathematical approach to music. It explains some of the more mechanical aspects of music composition, and in general the elements,” he said.

The piano is a unique instrument that creates distinct sounds, Metchkov said. “But the piano has the ability to be somewhat more of a stand-alone instrument, because of its wide capacity to produce complete musical thought,” he said.

Playing music for the first few years of his life was important to him, Metchkov said.

“Perhaps the most important step in my development as a musician was my first couple of years in music, because I lived all my childhood, until I was 18, in Bulgaria,” he said. “I attended a music school that was specifically designed with the curriculum that specializes in the development of classical musicians.”

To gain more experience when he was younger, Metchkov said he played music with other musicians, and took classes specializing in music theory.      

Metchkov started playing the piano at 4 years old in his hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria, he said. The practice he experienced at 4 years old was what helped him gain the experience playing music, Metchkov said.

During his primary education, Metchkov attended the National House of Music “Liubomir Pipkov” in Sofia, he said. He appreciated that the institution taught him a lot on a high level of critical thinking, he said.   

“Basically I would say the formula is like a college for kids, college education for music but on a kid level,” he said jokingly. “I think that was important because that’s not always available in every country.”

When he was 5 or 6 years old, he said that was the point he first experienced the challenges of playing the piano.

In 2008, Metchkov created a CD with an orchestra that consisted of more than 50 people, and containing two concertos and two solo works, he said.

A concerto is, “a musical composition for instruments in which a solo instrument is set off against an orchestral ensemble,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Recording the compositions with an orchestra was challenging because it took about 40 minutes to record a 10-minute composition, Metchkov said. Additionally, there was not enough time to record one song in half a day, he said.

He also worked the audio engineers produce the CD, Metchkov said, and his knowledge from an audio recording class helped during the production. His help saved a lot of time and he felt rewarded because of it, he said.

“I knew how things will be done, so therefore I didn’t waste time,” he said. “I enjoyed the process both as a pianist but also as from the production side.”   

According to the CSU-Pueblo music faculty website, Metchkov attended the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland for college, where he majored in piano performance and earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees with a minor in music theory.

Metchkov learned the critical aspects of music while attending the Cleveland Institute of Music, he said. Metchkov also credits the school for his knowledge of music. “I think my intellectual growth in music certainly took place in college, as I matured more, of course,” he said.      

 Metchkov also has played the organ since he was in college, he said.