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, http://minkominev.com