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Bulgarian talents shine in the music department

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The music department has a great professor in Zahari Metchkov. Photo courtesy of morguefile.com.
When CSU-Pueblo music professor, Zahari Metchkov, was piano and music theory as a child, he probably never thought the skills he learned were going to take him away from home.

Metchkov, who is originally from Sofia, Bulgaria, began taking piano lessons at the age of four from his mother who was a music theory teacher and pianist.

He attended Lubomir Pipkov, a national school of music in Sofia, Bulgaria, a specialized music school. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Music where he received his Bachelors of music, Masters of music, and he achieved his doctorate in music at 29.

Metchkov taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music as well as Youngstown State University. He directed the Cleveland based Ensemble, Secundum Silentium, which is a small orchestra, and is the artistic adviser for the San Angelo Piano Festival.

In 2009, Metchkov was also the co-director for the Youngstown State University Intensive Piano Workshop.
Metchkov left his position at the Cleveland Institute of Music, in fall 2010 to come to CSU-Pueblo. One of the classes he teaches includes Collaborative Music.

The Collaborative Music class allows pianists, other instrumentalist, as well as singers to collaborate in study and performance of chamber music repertoire. Previously, there was no opportunity for students to perform and be coached in such small, yet diverse ensembles.

This is even more crucial for piano students as they will frequently accompany instrumentalists and singers in their professional life, Metchkov said.

Metchkov said he can see the music department has a unique geographical advantage situated in the southern part of the state. It would be beneficial for the music department to be a logical, quality choice for students looking for a school south of Denver.

He also hopes that the department would become equally balanced in its two main profiles: music education as well as music performance.
Currently, Metchkov is the artistic director of the Pueblo Keyboard Arts Festival and Piano Conversations Concert Series in Pueblo, as well as the Rocky Mountain Music Alliance Concert Series Colorado Springs.
Metchkove shared the schedule for the upcoming Pueblo Keyboard Arts Festival, which will take place at CSU-Pueblo in Hoag Hall from Nov. 26 to Dec. 1.

“The festival this year will have two high/middle school workshops that will be led by me, offering young pianists from the community opportunity to play in Hoag Hall on our recently purchased concert grand Steinway, and receive a mini lesson from me in a non-competitive, musician friendly environment.” Metchkov said.

One of the guest artists is Caroline Oltmanns, head of keyboard from Youngstown State University in Ohio. She will give a master class to select CSU-Pueblo majors Nov. 27, perform at the Faculty Concert on Nov. 30, and be a juror for the Young Artist Competition on Dec. 1.

The Faculty Concert will feature solo and two piano works played by Metchkov and Oltmanns, and a work for two pianos and percussion.

In the second half of the concert, the pianists will be joined by percussionists, Aaron Turner and Edie Dowdle, in performing the Bela Bartok Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. The piece is written in the 1940s but has not been performed yet in Pueblo, which is premiering it for a first time in the Pueblo community.

The festival will host young pianists from across the state, competing for cash awards in the Young Artist Competition on Saturday, Dec. 1, through generous donations from music organizations from the state, Metchkov said, they have raised total of $750 in awards to be distributed in the three divisions: elementary, middle and high school.

“I guess it is because of the eternal duty of most teachers to leave the well groomed trails of the big metropolis and find a community where they can make a difference,” Metchkov said when asked why he came to Colorado to become a professor in the department.