It took six years for the tallest tower in Dubai, Burj Khalifa to be built. Well, we don’t need so much time. With the help of the young Svilen and Momchil we made the highest tower…out of pillows and it took us only about ten minutes. While the two kids were putting the finishing touches and checking whether the tower would possibly fall, we met with their parents – Nadezhda and Christo – to talk about music and get to know our family of June.
MODO: How did you find out about the Pillow Concerts?
Nadezhda: Two years ago someone send me a link, I think it was a friend of mine. It came unexpectedly but we went and since then we have been coming to the concerts. Well, we have missed quite a few concerts but we come whenever we can.
MODO: Do you remember the first concert you attended?
Nadezhda: No, I don’t remember it.
Christo: Me neither.
Nadezhda: But we have a lot of favourite ones: the first brass concert (Brass Pillow Concert, on February 23th, 2014 – MODO note), then the Carnival of the Animals, the New Year’s concert at the Military Club in 2013. From the last season I greatly enjoyed the Opera Pillow Concert. It was amazingly staged for children like a fascinating fairy tale.
Christo: I really liked the concert at the Helikon bookstore. It was remarkable and very nice. (We are talking about VIP Pillow Concert – MODO note)
Nadezhda: I also remember the Fairy Pillow Concert.
MODO: What do you like most about us?
Nadezhda: (sighs) many things! The idea itself – Music on Pillows – it offers more casual environment which puts both parents and children at ease, makes them feel more comfortable during the concert, allows them to absorb the music without the need to stand quietly in one place and to stare at the performers. I like that the music is introduced in an attractive way, almost every time it comes with a story and different musical pieces are linked to one another. I also enjoy that you select not only musical hits but also less popular pieces which gives us information about new things. The musicians are always so cheerful. You can tell that they are playing for us with great pleasure. This thrills the children and they are easily immersed into the music.
Svilen: Come to our house!( Svilen and Momchil are heard calling us from somewhere under the pillows)
Christo: I will probably repeat the same things but in other words. First of all, I like that you think about what is typical for the audience: kids cannot stay quietly in one place. So the music is presented in a manner appropriate for young children. Although sometimes it doesn’t seem like kids listen to the music they actually absorb every note. If from early age children begin to go to “serious” concerts, there is a risk that they will start hating the music. With the Pillow Concerts the chance is they would love it.
MODO: How would your own Pillow Concert look like?
Nadezhda: It is very difficult to imagine it differently from what it is now. I’m sorry we missed the concerts with accordion and guitar, so I am curious to hear a concert with combination of those two instruments.
Christo: What you do – in this format and in a hall that big – is something that definitely works. In addition, I would say that you can have some decoration on the walls or the musicians can be dressed in theatrical costumes.
MODO: Do you listen to classical music in your day life?
Nadezhda: I have played piano for ten years at school. But it was long ago. I have no musical education and didn’t go into music professionally but I have definitely kept my fascination for music. I know this is very important for children and if you start introducing them to music at an early age, they will love it. Actually we listen to different styles of music – classical also.
Christo: I admit I don’t listen to classical music. Thanks to my wife I began growing a taste for music and the Pillow Concerts are helping me very much.
MODO: What are your favourite instruments?
Christo: Lately Momchy got fond of the guitar. We even bought one. And I like its sound. So I will point the guitar for the moment.
Nadezhda: We have many. Besides the piano, which is like a second nature to me, I love the organ. In this regard – the harpsichord concert was very interesting. I like harp and woodwinds instruments. Svilen, my youngest son, also has clear preferences. When I tell him we are going to a concert, he asks: “Will there be a drum?”
Christo: Yes, he prefers the percussion instruments.
Nadezhda: His favourite ones are drum and accordion. Everybody has a favourite instrument so at home we make our own concerts.
MODO: Svilen, do you have a favourite instrument?
Svilen: The trumpet.
Christo: Momchy, which is your favourite instrument?
Momchil: (from the top of the tower) Guitar, of course!
MODO: I see that both of them have an interest in music. Have you thought about encouraging them to study a musical instrument?
Nadezhda: This is true, they are very curious about music. Maybe two years ago as a joke I asked Momchy if he wants to play an instrument and since then from time to time I repeat this question. His last answer was: Guitar! This is why he started attending lessons at Modo. It seems like it is a very long-lasting interest for him and I hope it will continue to be such. We have no ambitions, it is just a great treasure.
MODO: Have you heard of any other Modo projects?
Nadezhda: The Pillow Music School is a very interesting project. I want to know if the children will go for it so I can offer them this opportunity too. But for now I have the feeling it is more my aspiration than theirs. We have friends whose children study there, and they are extremely pleased and impressed.
MODO: Talking about interests – do you like to travel?
Nadezhda: We do, but we are not so easy to get off. Overall, we travel more around Bulgaria, to visit relatives.
Christo: When the children grow up we are going to travel around the world.
MODO: Do you have a place that you really want to visit?
Nadezhda: I have a dream: Ireland. Actually, we had organized a trip to Ireland – it was in the first year after we got married, as part of the honeymoon. And then I found out I was pregnant. I was recommended not to fly and we thought that this is a sign that the baby wants to come with us in Ireland, but to have memories from there. Therefore we have decided that we will go there, but after the boy is old enough.
MODO: Do you like our cultural adventures with the Pillow Concerts?
Nadezhda: Yes, very much. We learn a lot of new things, for example in the booklet about Germany I read about the Cologne Cathedral, where we have been and climbed to the top of it. I was pregnant then with Momchil and he travelled by plane without knowing it. But from the booklet I found out how long did it take for the construction of the cathedral to be completed. I like to read interesting facts about countries.
Our family of June is member of Modo’s Membership program, which they said is a further incentive to visit us. It makes them feel part of our big musical family. At the end we said Goodbye with a promise to continue being enthusiastic and to keep the child in us.
MODO: How did you come up with the names of the kids?
Christo: Very difficult.
MODO: With voting?
Christo: There was a voting but it was only between us.
Nadezhda: We were certain that we wanted the names to have a special meaning for us. We were not looking for the approval of other family members. We wanted the names to be Bulgarian, but not the average ones, and to have a meaning. Actually Momchil means “a much desired baby boy” – this is exactly what he was. Svilen is soft as silk but he knows how to wheedle us. I hope they too like their names.
At that very moment the pillow tower falls apart and the boys end up in their parents’ embrace. We all say Goodbye with big smiles on our faces and expectations for new musical adventures.
Interview by Didi Brankova, Pillow Concerts’ coordinator.
Photography by Minko Minev, http://minkominev.com