'â€¦ extremely original and rare musicâ€¦'
John Adams, composer
Dobrinka Tabakova is an award-winning young British/Bulgarian composer who lives and works in London. Idiosyncratic rhythms, memorable melodies, post-tonal/modal harmonies and distinct orchestration all form her musical language. She graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and King's College London and now regularly works with many of today's leading musicians.
Aged 14, Dobrinka received the Jean-Frederic Perrenoud Prize and Medal at the 4th Vienna International Music Competition. Other prizes followed, including the GSMD Lutoslawski Composition Prize, the prize for an anthem for the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 (performed at St. Paul's Cathedral) and the 2007 Adam Prize of King's College London for the song cycle Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music. She was a finalist for the 2010 Gaudeamus prize in Amsterdam with her string septet Such different paths and recently was first prize winner at the 2011 Sorel Medallion in Choral Composition, New York.
Dobrinka"s works are widely performed and for over ten years she has given presentations about her work, often with particular reference to modality, history of music and the place of music and performance in our society. She has been composer-in-residence at the Leicester International Festival of Music; International Chamber Music Festival, Utrecht, Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica Festival in Sigulda, Latvia and guest composer at the Lockenhaus Festival, Austria and Julian Rachlin & Friends festival, Dubrovnik. Dobrinka has also been invited as featured composer at the Spectrum Concerts, Berlin 20th anniversary concert and the 2010 Musicarama Festival in Hong Kong.
Recent projects have included the large scale commission of On the South Downs performed by cellist Natalie Clein with West Sussex Youth Orchestra and Choirs; the premiere of her Concerto for Piano and Orchestra performed by Evelyn Chang and City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and a tour around Europe of Such different paths with Janine Jansen and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. The Academy, lead by Julian Rachlin also toured Dobrinka"s Schubert Arpeggione Sonata arrangement for viola and strings around the USA.
As well as her affinity for chamber music, choral and string music feature prominently in Dobrinka"s output. During 2008 she was one of 17 composers (including John Tavener, Giya Kancheli and Petris Vasks) invited to write a Sun Anthem for the large project of World"s Sun Songs, directed by Maris Sirmais with Riga Youth Choir Kamer, presented at the World Choral Symposium in Copenhagen. Later the work was performed at the American Choral Directors Association National Convention. Writing for strings is another major medium and her Concerto for Cello and Strings, commissioned by the Amsterdam Cello Bienalle for Kristine Blaumane and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, was premiered in 2008 at Amsterdam"s Muziekgebouw. In the last year her Sun Triptych for solo violin, cello and string orchestra has also received numerous performances, including the Salzburg Mozart Week with Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica and London Festival of Bulgarian Culture with Kristine Blaumane and Sofia Soloists.
One of the champions of Dobrinka"s music has been the violist Maxim Rysanov, to whom she has dedicated a concerto and three Suites. Maxim has performed the solo suite Pirin and the Suite in Old Style for viola, strings and harpsichord around Europe and premiered the viola and piano BBC/RPS commission Suite in Jazz Style in 2009, followed by performances at festivals in the UK and Europe. He recorded Dobrinka"s Schubert Arpeggione arrangement for the BIS label with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, which is due for release in 2011.
Dobrinka"s works feature on a number of record labels- the anthem Praise on Hyperion ("startlingly original- immediately appealing", BBC Music Magazine) and Nocturne, Modetudes (2009) and Whispered Lullaby on the Avie label (Gramophone and BBC Music magazines Editor"s Choice June/August 2007). As well as worldwide broadcasts on European, Asian and North American radio stations she receives regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, including two special recordings with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In 2005 the Bulgarian National Radio presented her Concerto for Viola and Strings at the International Rostrum of Composers in Vienna. Dobrinka has received commissions from the Royal Philharmonic Society; BBC Radio 3; Spectrum Concerts, Berlin; Amsterdam Cello Bienalle, Orchestra of the Swan; International Chamber Music Festival, Utrecht; Moscow Homecoming Festival; Ricciotti Ensemble; Leicester Festival; Amsterdam Sinfonietta as well as two chamber operas- Midsummer Magic for the Guildhall School of Music, and The Custard Tart Opera performed at the international "Profile Intermedia" design conference in Bremen.
Born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 1980, Dobrinka moved to London in 1991, where she studied at Alleyn"s School and the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department, specialising in composition, piano and conducting. She graduated with distinction BMus and MMus in composition at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (GSMD) and was then appointed composition fellow there. In 2007 she was awarded a doctorate in composition from King"s College London (KCL). Her composition teachers have included Simon Bainbridge, Diana Burrell, Robert Keeley and Andrew Schultz as well as masterclasses with John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Alexander Goehr, Marek Kopelent, Philip Manoury, Alessandro Solbiati, Olav-Anton Thommassen and Iannis Xenakis.