Evgeni Bozhanov

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Evgeni Bozhanov (Bulgarian: Евгени Божанов) (born in Rousse, Bulgaria on 10 March 1984) is a Bulgarian pianist who trained with Evgeny Zhelyazkov at the National School of Arts "Prof. Vesselin Stoyanov" in Rousse (Bulgaria). From 2001 to 2006, he studied with Boris Bloch at the Folkwang Hochschule Essen and from 2006 he continued his studies with Georg Friedrich Schenck [4] at the Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf.


He has garnered worldwide attention after his charismatic performances at the 2009 Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels and the 2010 Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

In 2010, he won the Second Prize at the 16th International Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition, and a few months later was awarded Fourth Prize at the XVI Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition. Whether he refused his prize and the attendant monetary award is a matter of ongoing speculation fueled by the fact that he did not participate in the Prize Winner's concerts "for reasons outside the competition".

The Chopin Competition jury had decided at the time of the final round to suddenly change the rules of judging by discarding the point system, where Bozhanov was consistently in 2nd place through the 3rd round, in favor of a ranking system for the final (concerto) round and competition. The latest published jury voting details on the final round provides proof of the large variation in judgment of Bozhanov's performances, with his being ranked first or second place by some and 9th or 10th place by others. Such a rule change at the last minute of the competition was not explained or given reasons by either the chairman of the jury nor jury members in public, calling the impartiality of the procedure into question.

Comments on Bozhanov's playing[edit]

  • "Bozhanov is a pianist of astonishing originality, imagination and creativity. His style at the piano belongs to a different generation of pianists - the Ignaz Friedman generation..." - Michael Moran, Australian author and classical musician [5]
  • "He plays with his entire body, spirit, mind and heart taken over completely by the music it seems, possessed by it... The jury fell into amazingly animated discussion after that I can tell you. They had been writing furiously or consulting scores and shaking their heads during it - turning pages, looking from one to another. One by one they stopped moving, stopped writing and became absorbed like spectators at a bonfire and simply sat back, watched and listened to this extraordinary outpouring of a supremely individual musical conception. ... In an odd way I believe a few may have felt threatened. Was it because he was a superior pianist to some of them? Certainly they did not react to any other competitor in this manner. However I fear it will work against him - I fear he cannot win - they will punish this brilliance - mere competitions are not for spirits like Bozhanov." - Michael Moran, Australian author and classical musician
  • "I love Bozhanov's playing. I think he is a great artist. There is no greater artist in this Competition. ...I have never heard the Polonaise played in such a great style. That’s the real Chopin. And that’s when I knew that he really lives that music." - Kevin Kenner, a jury member of the Chopin Competition, at an interview [6].
  • "Evgeni Bozhanov...is the most compelling musical personality I've heard in the 3​12 Cliburns I've covered. He can produce more nuances of tone in a measure of music than most pianists find in a lifetime, but everything seems so organic." - Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News

Prizes in International Competitions[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Richter International Piano Competition
  2. ^ [2] Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
  3. ^ [3] Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition.

Performance links[edit]

  • [7] - Final round recital at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
  • [8] - plays Chopin, @ 2010 Chopin competition
  • [9] - plays Schubert, @ 2009 Cliburn competition
  • [10] - plays Beethoven, @ 2010 Queen Elizabeth Competition
  • [11] - plays Tchaikovsky/Plentnev " The Sleeping Beauty "
  • [12] - live encore: Liszt Sonetto 104 del Petrarca
  • [13] - Liszt mephisto waltz
  • [14] - Scarlatti K466 live
  • [15] - Schumann - Davidsbündlertänze op.6 (2017)
  • [16] - Liszt - Après une Lecture du Dante, Fantasia quasi Sonata (2017)

Articles, Blogs and Reviews[edit]

  • [17] Michael Moran: 2010 Chopin Competition blog
  • [18] 2009 Cliburn competition blog
  • [19] Press quotes at cliburn.org
  • [20] Loïc Picaud: critique on Bozhanov Chopin recital CD (French)
  • [21] Concert review (French)
  • [22] M. Moran: blog in August 2011, Warsaw Music Festival concerts.
  • [23] Dave Saemann: Bozhanov Chopin CD review.
  • [24] Lille June 2011 recital review
  • [25] Victoria Okada: Poetic and Powerful Chopin, CD review (French)
  • [26] 2011 Festival de La Roque-d'Anthéron - À chacun son Liszt - Compte-rendu (review in French)
  • [27] Dec 4 2011 London Royal Festival Hall concert review
  • [28] March 2013 Milan concert review (Italian)
  • [29] Feb 7 2018 The Philharmonia concert in Leicester (review)
  • [30] Feb 8 2018 The Philharmonia concert in London (review)
  • [31] Feb 18 2018 Mannheim recital review (German)

Relevant Links[edit]

  • [32] www.evgenibozhanov.com
  • [33] Vermont Classics
  • [34] Facebook: EGM Music Management