Monthly Archives: November 2015

Magical Pillow Concert in Plovdiv



20.12.2015 (Sunday)
Regional History Museum
1, Saedinenie Square, Plovdiv



There are good, bad, beautiful, ugly, clever, smart, chatty, shy, enchanting… witches. Some call them sorceresses, others – fairies. But the exact terminology does not matter at all. The important thing is that one is never bored in their company as they would always do something unusual. At the second Pillow Concert in Plovdiv, we are expecting two of them. Will they arrive on brooms, flying carpets or through the lately-so-fashionable teleportation? We will soon find out. And somewhere between enchanting the most wanted prince in the kingdom and putting a spell on him and his beloved princess, they have promised us some music by the greatest magician among the composers – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Along with his opera The Magic Flute we will also enjoy excerpts from The Wizard of Oz and from some other magical musicals.

One hour before the concert, everyone can decorate their own magical pillow.



Parent – 20 leva
Child – 5 leva
Max price for a family – 35 leva


Dorothea Doroteeva, soprano
Alexander Mutafchiyski, baritone
Ralitza Georgieva, piano
Manuela Genova, piano


Musical programme

• W. A. Mozart – Sonata for Piano Four-hands in C major, part I

• W. A. Mozart – Arias and duets from the opera The Magic Flute

• Johann Strauss II – Duet of Pappacoda and Ciboletta from the opera A Night in Venice

• Andrew Lloyd Webber – Joseph’s song from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

• Harold Arlen – Dorothy’s song from the musical The Wizard of Oz

• Leonard Bernstein – Maria’s song from the musical West Side Story

• Frederick Loewe – Eliza’s song from the musical My Fair Lady

Program, 20.12.2015

10:00 Pillow workshop
11:00 Pillow concert


Pillow Concert with Alice


13.12.2015 (Sunday)
11:00 and 17:00
Central Military Club, Hall 1



Believing the unbelievable is a must for our next Pillow Concert as we are meeting the girl with the greatest imagination in the whole universe – Alice. Talking rabbits, mice and birds are a common thing in her fantastic world and no wonder if some of them come to our concert, too. The musical programme includes pieces by the American composer Edgar Stillman Kelley whose imagination is definitely up to Alice’s standards, since he decided to tell her story in music.
The most original costume competition continues stronger than ever – this time our guests are invited to come dressed up as their favourite character among Alice’s friends, even as Alice herself!


Parent – 20 leva
Child – 5 leva
Max price for a family – 35 leva




Veneta Neynska, piano

Veneta Neynska did her undergraduate studies with the world renowned pianist John Perry at the University of Southern California. She earned her Master’s degree with Joan Havill in London, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Veneta has attended masterclasses with Imogen Cooper, Alexei Nasedkin, Jerome Lowenthal and Dominique Merlet. She has won numerous awards at a number of competitions among which the First Prize at the 7th Piano competition in Larnaca, Cyprus; the Second Prize at the Christopher Duke competition in Watford, UK; the First Prize at the Beethoven Hradec competition in the Czech Republic; the Third Prize at the Alexander Tansman competition in Lodz, Poland. Currently, Veneta is serving as the Artistic Director and the mastermind of all of Modo Bulgaria’s projects.

Ekaterina Stoyanova – Alice
MIlen Angelov – Storyteller, The Cheshire Cat, The Mad Hatter, The King of Hearts
Vanina Kondova – Storyteller, The Caterpillar, The March Hare, The Queen of Hearts

Musical programme

Edgar Stillman Kelley
Alice in Wonderland Piano Suite

I. Introduction
II. The White Rabbit is Late
III. The Cheshire Cat
IV. The Caucus Race
V. The Forest of Forgetfulness
VI. The Red Queen’s Banquet

Program, 13.12. 2015

10:00 Pillow music workshop
11:00 Pillow concert – Tickets here

16:00 Pillow music workshop
17:00 Pillow concert – Tickets here

Family of the month November 2015


Family of the month
The music is treasure


Our conversation starts with a story.
“… On the rocky formation of the Kaliakra headland, one can still see the ruins of a fortress that dates back to Thracian times. The cliffs beneath it harbour many caves and many legends, one of which tells about the treasure of Lysimachus. The one he seized, while on a campaign to quell the rebellion of several cities that had gone rogue. Some of them he plundered, others came on their own to give him their gold, silver and precious stones and be spared. Lysimachus hid the treasure in the caves beneath the castle, and…”

If we spend some more time with Denitsa, Kiril and little Thea, we will learn many more stories about beautiful and interesting places in Bulgaria. But apart from fascinating journeys, our family of month has much to tell us about music, as well.

MODO: Which is your most vivid memory of the Pillow Concerts you have attended?
Denitsa: It’s from our first Pillow Concert! I won the Best-trained Parent Award then.
MODO: How did you learn about the Pillow Concerts?
D: I don’t really remember. From friends or from Facebook… But as soon as I learned, I said to myself that this is the thing for us. I love all kinds of classical music. And this is what I like best about the Pillow Concerts: that the programme is different each time. We decided to give it a try and we liked it very much. Then my husband got hooked, as well.
Kiril: That’s how it happens usually.
MODO: Do you remember which was the first concert you came to?
D: It was the one after Bach concert. I remember it very clearly, because I read about the Bach concert after it had been held and regretted that I had missed it. And I said to myself that I won’t miss the next one. I’m talking about the German Pillow Concert; since then we have been coming every time. I think we haven’t missed a single concert. And each time it’s different, indeed – the instruments, the music, the singing. It’s interesting for us because we hear something new every time, plus it’s really positive for Thea. Because this is the idea, right? To give her the opportunity to listen to good classical music.
MODO: Do you have favourite instruments?
D: I like all the instruments but the keyboard ones are my favourite, especially the piano. I used to play a little when I was a child.
K: We have a piano at home, which is being played all the time.
D: A little by me and a lot by Thea.
K: In fact, Thea plays more often than anyone of us. She can’t really play yet.
D: But she’s very happy to keep trying.
K: The piano is her favourite toy.
D: It’s an electronic piano but a big one. It looks like a normal piano but it has some buttons that light up and she always presses them and changes the rhythm. She really has an ear for music.
MODO: It seems that she enjoys music and it does her good.
D: Definitely! We will see how it will go in the future. We are looking forward for her to grow up.
MODO: Was classical music part of your childhood as well?
D: It was certainly part of my childhood. My father loves classical music, all kinds of it – Bach, Mozart. Growing up, I’ve also listened to recordings. Later on, I kept listening, of course. And I have also played a little. I love classical music.
K: They used to have a piano in their home and both she and her sister used to go to piano lessons. In my family, things were different because…
D: In his family, it used to be rock around the clock.
K: Yes, my parents are into rock music. There were no musical instruments at home. All we listened to was rock bands.
D: But he got to like the Pillow Concerts and classical music in general. We go to different symphony concerts at the Bulgaria Hall.
K: We used to go. We haven’t been recently.
D: But soon we will start going again. Thea has turned one now and we can benefit from the help of her grandmothers. The organisers of the Pillow Concerts really deserve to be congratulated for offering something that both kids and their parents can enjoy. Because it’s no secret that we also get to listen to good music, not only the kids.
K: The concerts really contribute to the kids’ education; they expose them to classical music from an early age and help them develop a taste for it. For some of them, this could provide an incentive and turn into a model of behaviour.
MODO: If you have to organise a Pillow Concert, how would it be?
D: If it’s up to me, I would make it a piano concert. For four hands, for instance. With two grand pianos. This would be great. But the kids would get bored if the programme is monotonous, so I would choose alternating pieces, some of which are more dynamic, others – more relaxed. What you do is actually very close to what I would have done.
K: Yes. I think it would be good to have more diversity.
D: That’s what I meant. Even now the programme usually includes different pieces but it would be nice if they were not all dynamic.
MODO: Unless they are good for dancing.
D: Which kids love to do. I’m also looking forward for Thea to start drawing, so that she could enjoy all the activities you have to offer. But everything in its time.
MODO: Do you like to travel?
D: My husband is very interested in the older history of Bulgaria. We travel to all the places where there are traces of the Thracian civilisation or medieval fortresses. He knows a lot about them and we visit many of them. Now with Thea, it’s more of a hustle but we will continue to make these trips. That’s why I’m glad we’ll have the concert programme in advance. Thus, we can plan our free time better.
K: We love to travel. I love Bulgaria very much; I think it’s among the countries with the richest history and it has many fascinating places people do not know about; there is a lot to see, really. It’s good to know Bulgaria first and then the world. Not that we haven’t travelled outside the country, but here, there are so many things to be proud of.
MODO: What are your favourite activities with the child?
D: She swims. Really!
K: We like to go out on walks, to the swings.
D: Yes, all kinds of baby stuff. We take her to swimming classes for babies and to any other activities that are suitable for her age; we try to keep it interesting and entertaining – for her, for me, for all of us. We also play a lot at home and as her daddy said, one of her favourite toys is the piano.
D: We have a xylophone we bought from MODO. Also maracases. Everything that makes sound is very well accepted. And if she is grumpy, these things are always very helpful.

At the end of the conversation the only thing they asked us for was to keep organising even better concerts. And they wished us much inspiration, of course, because the Pillow Concerts cannot do without it.

Interview by Didi Brankova, Pillow Concerts’ coordinator.
Photography by Minko Minev,

September Family of the month 2015


Family of the month
Visiting the Samarevi’s family with a big smile


A beautiful dress, big smile, few tiny steps and young Nicole is already next to me. She tells me about Modo’s Masterclass she is attending and about all the pieces she has learnt to play on the harp. Her father Peter and her mother, Maria join her and one can immediately feel how proud they are with the little musician.

MODO: Was there classical music in your family?
Maria: I’m not involved in the musical circles, but Nicole sparked my interest and now we educate ourselves together. When I was a young girl we listened to disco music. I haven’t listened much rock music, mostly pop. I remember trying to listen to classical music on the radio but it didn’t capture me. I always turned on the radio as background to everything I was doing. But I’m not musical. When I was young, I played the accordion for three years.
Peter: I’ve played a musical instrument when I was young. In a way, it wasn’t entirely voluntary – my grandfather had insisted I became a violinist. I did it all – lessons, ear training. I was even told that I’m very good at it, but it was never close to my heart.
MODO: How old were you?
Peter: As old as Nicole. Five-seven years old.
MODO: Was your grandfather a musician?
Peter: No, he has just decided that I have to be a violinist. I was taking private lessons and they were expensive back then. Also visiting music centres and so on. But as every child, I was more attracted to the ball and the football, so in first grade, while I was attending at least fifteen more classes, my parents decided it was too much and we dropped out the music.
MODO: How come your grandfather decided to make you a musician?
Peter: I have no idea.
Maria: Didn’t you have musicians in your family?
Peter: Yes, we did, but in this case it was different – he wanted me and my cousin to become musicians. She plays the piano and is currently a musician in Belgium. She graduated from the music school and the Conservatoire. His dream was for her to be on the piano and me – on the violin. He sponsored and encouraged us. It worked for her, but not for me.
Maria: Parents always have ambitions for their children.
MODO: How did you discover Nicole’s interest in music?
Maria: Since she was little people were telling me she has a great sense of rhythm and is very musical. Actually, a friend of mine whose son is a musician sent us an invitation for a Pillow Concert and we started attending. Our first one was the Christmas Pillow Concert “Carnival of the animals” at the Military club. She enjoyed it very much, so we continued visiting. There we learned about Modo. Firstly, we visited the Music Circle group while you had it and in the summer I signed her up for the Summer Music School. It was only for a week, but we gradually found out that it shouldn’t be for only one and there we are.
Peter: At home she is singing, dancing, listening to music, we have microphones, various headphones. Her older sister is a music fan and generally she influences her a lot. When she was her age, she played the piano at her own will. But she, too, just like me, lost her enthusiasm. Now she shows Nicole from time to time that she has played, too. It becomes a little competitive, but Nicole is the more ambitious one.
MODO: Nicole, which one is your favourite musical instrument?
Nicole: The harp.
MODO: Why the harp?
Nicole: Because it has a very beautiful sound.
Maria: Can I add to her answer? Last year, during the summer school, she could choose two musical instruments and she chose the harp and the flute, then from September she started taking piano lessons, too. When we signed up for the Sunday school, again, she had to pick up two instruments and the harp had a priority.
MODO: Do you have a favourite Pillow Concert?
Nicole: Yes. (She pulls out a folder with programmes from all concerts)
Maria: We collect the programmes. Of course, the harp concert – It was so tender and exciting, I truly hope you will repeat it. Back then, I didn’t know much about the harp, so now I want to see it again, from a different point of view.
MODO: What do you actually like about the Pillow Concerts? What is your brightest memory?
Maria: I like that children are free to do what they want: some are dancing, some are drawing, the youngest ones are trying to walk, to touch the instruments and this is a challenge for the organizers. But I think you manage to find the golden mean very well – what is allowed and what is not. This is how children are brought up. Our brightest memory is from the Zoo Pillow Concert with all the stories and tales about the animals and Kosse Bosse. We acted out a scene during the concert, while listening.
MODO: Do you find your child changed in some way since you started attending the concerts?
Maria: Actually, this is what I like, that the Pillow Concert is an entrance ticket to the classical music for Nicole and thanks to her I also meet the classical music and learn about various instruments.
Peter: It is really nice that it uses untraditional approaches and young people participate, because children feel the young people closer to themselves, they are not afraid and stressed out. Because, indeed, there are many good musicians, pedagogues but in the beginning when you need to capture the children’s attention it is better to have young people because of the mentality and understanding. It is easier for the children to feel the musicians in this way. Not to bump on someone that never stops repeating “Study! Stay still! Don’t move! Listen! Remember!”
Maria: You always say: “Now, let the children show their parents what we should do during a concert – keep silent.” The other thing I notice are the scripts you make up. There is always a tale, a story that is connected to the music. And even if it is not directly matched with the piece as they are still too young to understand, you try to include everything in the context of the story. Oh, I want to mention the Zoo Pillow Concert again – everything I like about your concerts was part of it. I really liked the Opera Pillow Concert as well.
Nicole: Me, too. Actually, these two are my favourite ones. (Nicole gives me the programmes from the Pillow Concert for flute, harp and marimba and the Opera Pillow Concert.)
MODO: If you have to make up a Pillow Concert, what would it be?
Maria: It will definitely include marimba, harp and flute. And there will be a dance in the script, a part where the children will be invited to dance together. Now I’m thinking that perhaps the presenter can show certain steps which all children can repeat making a joint dance together.

Our conversation was coming to its end and with his big smile Peter decided to tell us something that he intentionally kept for the final.

Peter: I’ll tell you a nice story to which you greatly contributed. I was recently having an anniversary and Nicole surprised me by playing Happy Birthday. She have been secretly learning it at home while I was not there.
Nicole: I was listening to it on headphones, so you wouldn’t know!
Peter: They performed it with a friend of hers: she was playing, he was singing. They really surprised me and they were so well synchronized that everyone was impressed.
Nicole: We also played the “Ode to Joy”.
Maria: They were really cute.
Peter: I was stunned.
Maria: And they did it without warning us. They were playing together and when I told them it was time for the cake, she went to the piano, sat down, he picked up the microphone and it happened. This is why I want to thank Modo, for giving us the opportunity to feel many things – various musical formats for children – and I wish you inspiration and time for rest. These things need to be alternated, so you can feel great.
Peter:I will only say that when you do something with love, someone up there is watching, helping and everything happens in a better way.

Interview by Didi Brankova, Pillow Concerts’ coordinator.
Photography by Minko Minev,

Family of the month October 2015


Family of the month
“The world is full of magic…”


Modo: How old are you, Pressie?
Preslava: I’m ten, officially now. I celebrated my birthday at the Master Class and had a great time. Initially, I joined the harp class but then I moved to the piano. And at the end we even had some surprises.

Modo Bulgaria organised a two-week summer programme for advanced students at the Children Ecostation on the Vitosha Mountain. The Master Class is one of the many music education programmes of the cultural organisation. .

Modo: How did you learn about the Pillow Concerts?
Preslava: Katia told us.
Valia: Katia is our friend. Her child attends your Music School.
Modo: Which was the first Pillow Concert you attended?
Preslava: The Street Quartet concert in the summer. They played Mozart.
Valia: And since then we basically haven’t missed a concert.
Preslava: No, we did miss the one with the animals!
Valia: Okay, we missed one because we weren’t in Sofia at the time.
Modo: Which is your favourite concert?
Preslava: The first one is my favourite!
Valia: Yes, mine too. I love everything that the Street Quartet does; they are really amazing.
Modo: Which are your favourite instruments, Pressie?
Preslava: The violin and the piano.

Preslava starts talking enthusiastically about her violin lessons and her brand new violin which she has been playing on just recently .

Modo: Why classical music? How did you choose this particular activity for Preslava?
Preslava: Let me answer this! We had a carnival in school and one of my classmates played the violin; that’s how I decided to learn to play myself.
Valia: She used to sing at the Children’s Choir of the Bulgarian National Radio. She was still in pre-school back then. They liked her but she gave it up. She didn’t give up music, just the choir.
Preslava: No, I didn’t give up because of the choir but because of the solfeggio lessons. They were very tough with us there; here it’s different.
Modo: What kind of music do you normally listen to?
Valia: I like all kinds of music; maybe only jazz is something which I would rarely listen to. My favourite style is rhythm-and-blues.
Modo: During your childhood what kind of music you would listen to in your household?
Valia: I have an older brother; he used to be a metal fan. I only liked the ballads though.
Modo: What other concerts you go to?
(They answer simultaneously.)
Valia: We attend different concerts of the Radio Orchestra.
Preslava: We went to the Disney music concert and the Lord of the Rings concert in the Armeec Arena.
Valia: We’ve also been to the Christmas matinee and to many other concerts.
Modo: What is it that you like about the Pillow Concerts?
Preslava: The pillows, the fact that they explain everything very well and also that after the concert we can dig under the pillows with the other kids.
Valia: I like the liberating feeling. There are no strict rules, you’re not forbidden to move around.
Preslava: Mom and I quarrel a lot, all day long, but when we go to the pillow concerts, it all stops. Mom listens to the music; I listen too and there is peace.
Modo: If you had to organise a pillow concert, how would it look like?
Valia: It would be on a meadow, out in the open. I have no particular preference about the instruments – the more, the better.
Preslava: My concert would also be on a meadow; I would play solo violin and I would have magical powers that make all the other instruments play by themselves. No, maybe all the teachers I know would play some of the instruments.

At the end of our conversation, Preslava drifts away to the land where everything is possible. She wished that Modo creates a chain of music candy shops and music clothing shops, moves into its own castle and launch its own TV channel. And most importantly, she sees herself playing a leading role in the future music world. We’re listening to her, taking careful notes, so that we won’t miss anything important. Meanwhile, she’s convinced that everything would happen just like that and she is smiling the whole time.

Interview by Didi Brankova, Pillow Concerts’ coordinator.
Photography by Minko Minev,