English summary


The Bulgarian Orthodox Choir of Saint John of Rila

Conductor : Koïtcho ATANASSOV

Vocal performance, mystical experience ?
Twelve exceptional voices conducted by Koïtcho Atanassov
are the testimony of a thousand year tradition
and they retrace for us chorally ten centuries of faith and music together.

A performance which goes beyond a simple musical moment :
« A moment when Heaven and Earth come together …”

«Splendour and mysticism of the Orthodox Liturgy»

This concert reveals to us all the splendour and the mysticism of the Slavonic Liturgy whose beauty elevates the human soul and has illuminated for centuries religious feasts in Bulgaria and in Russia.

Melodies of the Middle Ages will bring back to our hearts the Bulgarian mystical and creative spirit at the beginning of Christianity. Then it will be the light of the flamboyant Baroque of Ukrainian and Russian Italianisation of the XVIIIth century, the pages of poetry overflowing or retained in the Russian music of the XIXth century ; without forgetting a touch originality and totally exclusive to the Choir thanks to the personal hand of Koïtcho Atanassov, also a composer. Through the extracts of his « Bulgarian Liturgy » will emanate a creative inspiration drawing from the well of medieval Bulgarian-Byzantine chant.

Orthodox Liturgy : a miraculously preserved repertoire and which illustrates in its delicate ornamental work the glory, the suffering and the hope of the Bulgarian people who managed to preserve their identity, their language and their soul thanks to their music, through the vicissitudes of a turbulent history.

All the splendour and spirituality of the Orthodox Liturgy can be heard in the unique interpretation of one of the most prestigious ensembles.

Founded in 1987 in Sofia by Koïtcho Atanassov, the Bulgarian Orthodox Choir of Saint John of Rila has taken the name of the founder of the most important Bulgarian monastery which symbolises the continuity and identity of a people through the centuries.

Conducted by a charismatic director and composer, this male choir comprises twelve of the most beautiful voices of Bulgaria whose sublime tones often produce shivers ; the register of the ‘basses profondes’, symbol of Slavonic mysticism is particularly impressive.

Discovered in France at the Festival of Sacred Art in Paris in 1988, the Choir began an important programme of concerts, giving around fifty performances a year. Appreciated and noted as much for its vocal qualities as the moving spiritual message it carries, the Choir becomes a familiar presence in the main European festivals.

It is invited by various national Radios and Televisions such as France Musique, France Culture, France2 and Bulgarian National Radio.

In 2002 the Choir was chosen to represent Bulgaria at the Festival of World Sacred Music in Fez, Morocco.

In 2007 the Bulgarian National Television devoted a film to the choir which underlines its role of ambassador of Bulgarian music and culture under the tireless impetus of its conductor Koïtcho Atanassov, recognised as an eminent specialist in the interpretation of orthodox chant.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Choir of Saint John of Rila comprises twelve artists including several soloists, formed from the renowned musical conservatories and selected among the Bulgarian National Choir, the Bulgarian Radio and Television Choir, the National Operas of Bulgaria and choirs of the main cathedrals and churches of Sofia.

It has recorded six CDs dedicated to the repertoires of the Bulgarian and Russian Orthodox churches.

In 2009, several of these CDs were used to provide sound background to the exhibition « le Trésor des icônes Bulgares » in the Château de Vincennes, an exhibition under the aegis of the Presidents of Bulgaria and France and inaugurated by a concert by the Choir.

Press Comment:

« The « singing apostles » of Rila monastery » …

An unforgettable transportation… An evening close to the stars… A moment of eternity »




Saint John of Rila (Sveti Ivan Rilsky) : Saint and recluse of the beginning of the Xth century and protector of the Bulgarian people. Founder of the Rila monastery, the most important of Bulgaria.

Further information :

Société Atanassov, 60 rue des Chêneaux – F 92330 SCEAUX FRANCE
00 33 1 47 02 62 95     00 33 6 72 83 41 86

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