London Bulgarian Choir

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London Bulgarian Choir
London Bulgarian Choir at The Anvil, Basingstoke.jpg
Basingstoke leg of the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year competition
Background information
Also known asLBC
OriginLondon, UK
GenresBulgarian folk music
Years active2000–present

The London Bulgarian Choir (LBC) is a London-based amateur choir specialising in Bulgarian folk music. Dessislava Stefanova has led the choir since its formation in 2000.[1] Primarily a performing choir, the LBC perform around twenty concerts a year and have been involved in high-profile collaborations with British Sea Power, Doves, Orlando Gough, and Nigel Kennedy.

History and achievements[edit]


LBC won the Open Choir Category of BBC Radio 3's Choir of the Year 2006 competition.[2]


In the summer of 2005 LBC toured Bulgaria. The tour was covered in a full-page article in the British Songlines magazine[3] and filmed for Bulgarian television. The choir returned to Bulgaria in August 2010, featuring in national press and television, and performing at the Koprivshtitsa folk festival and the Bansko jazz festival.[4] The choir returned to Bulgaria for a third time in 2015, sang in the Netherlands and in Switzerland in 2016, and performed with violinist Nigel Kennedy in Sofia, Plovdiv[5] and London in the autumn of the same year.[6] In 2019, the choir toured in France[7][8] and Poland.[9]


Sections of the choir contributed to the soundtracks for the 2004 Warner Bros. epic Troy,[10] the 2005 BBC miniseries The Virgin Queen,[11] Halo 4 in 2012 and the 2019 BBC World Service podcast Missing Cryptoqueen. The Virgin Queen soundtrack won the 2007 BASCA Ivor Novello award in the Best Television Soundtrack category.[12]


The choir has taken part in London-based events such as the Exhibition Road Music Day,[13] Various Voices,[14] the London Jazz Festival,[15] Daylight Music,[16] Unamplifire[17] and the London Festival of Bulgarian Culture.[18]

Outside London, the choir regularly take part in music and arts festivals, and have performed at the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival,[19] Musicport World Music Festival,[20] Sidmouth Folk Week,[21] the Larmer Tree Festival,[22] Narberth Acapella,[23] the Good Life Festival[24] and Smugglers Festival.[25]


Composer and animateur Orlando Gough used the choir in central roles for the performances Singing River[26] at the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall and Shouting Gallery[27] in the National Portrait Gallery.

Part of the choir sang with British Sea Power on BBC Two's music television program Later... with Jools Holland[28] in January 2008 and joined them again for the Mercury Music Awards later that year. The full choir joined British Sea Power for concerts in the Roundhouse[29] in 2008 and Regent's Park[30] in 2009.

The choir collaborated and performed with Doves as part of the BBC Electric Proms in October 2009.[31]

In 2012, the choir performed with Cerys Matthews,[32] adjusting two songs from their repertoire to fit with two from Cerys' album Tir. 10 singers from the choir worked with Neil Davidge on the soundtrack to Halo 4.[33] In 2013, the choir worked with Sophie Ellis-Bextor on the recording of the track Cry to the Beat of the Band for her album Wanderlust.[34]

In 2016, the choir performed a series of three concerts in the UK and Bulgaria with Nigel Kennedy and Georgi Andreev (Bulgarian: Георги Андреев).[35]

The choir were featured on the Turbans eponymous album,[36] and sang in the National Theatre's 2018 Public Acts production of Pericles.[37]


Dessislava Stefanova was the featured guest on Radio 3's The Choir[38] with Aled Jones in February 2007, and presented Bulgaria's Voice[39] on Radio 3 in 2005. Both programs included recordings of the choir in performance. The choir was featured in an episode of Joan Armatrading's Favourite Choirs on BBC Radio 4 in 2008,[40] and in The Choral History of Britain: Singing for Everyone[41] in 2017.

In 2019, the choir produced original music for the BBC Sounds podcast series The Missing Cryptoqueen.[42][43]


  • Alyana Galyana, 2008 [44]
  • Christmas Concert (DVD), 2009
  • Goro Le Goro, 2012 [45]
  • Songs of Forbidden Love, 2019 [46]


  1. ^ Renton, Jamie (May 2009). "Local Bulgarians". fRoots (311). pp. 29–30.
  2. ^ BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year - 2006 Results
  3. ^ Simpson, Veronica (November–December 2005). "Postcard from Bulgaria". Songlines (33). p. 61.
  4. ^ Jackson, Tanya (January 2011). "Choral Tributes". fRoots (Issue 331). pp. 51–53.
  5. ^ Bezovska, Albena (14 September 2016). "Bulgarian participants in Nigel Kennedy's Bulgaria concerts: "It will be provocative, interesting and festive"". Bulgarian National Radio.
  6. ^ Kimberley, Nick (26 October 2016). "Nigel Kennedy, classical music review: Fiddles at dawn in fiery opener". Evening Standard.
  7. ^ "le chant du voisin". (in French). February 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2020. Le Chant du Voisin invite le London Bulgarian Choir et vous offre une occasion unique de l'entendre pour la première fois en France.
  8. ^ "Chœur Bulgare de Londres | Eveil Artistique, Scène conventionnée jeunes publics | Avignon". Le Totem - Scène conventionnée Art, enfance, jeunesse - Avignon (in French). Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Londyński Bułgarski Chór w Bierzwniku!". (in Polish). Bierzwnik Cultural Centre. 27 August 2019.
  10. ^ Recording the Score for Troy Archived 2008-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Bithell, Caroline (2014). A Different Voice, A Different Song : Reclaiming Community through the Natural Voice and World Song. Oxford University Press. p. 98. ISBN 019935457X.
  12. ^ The Ivor Novello Awards - Nominees
  13. ^ Exhibition Road Music Day: London's home of Fete de la Musique
  14. ^ Various Voices London 2009 brochure
  15. ^ London Jazz Festival - Radio Gagarin
  16. ^ London Bulgarian Choir at Daylight Music, retrieved 25 September 2019
  17. ^ folkradiouk (29 October 2018). "UnampliFire: Winter 2018 (Saturday 24th November 2018) | Folk Radio". Folk Radio UK - Folk Music Magazine. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  18. ^ "London Festival of Bulgarian Culture Programme 2016" (PDF).
  19. ^ Article: Organisers look back on 'fabulous' festival - Hebden Bridge Times (Hebden Bridge, England); HighBeam Research
  20. ^ Musicport Festival, 21 October 2008
  21. ^ Sidmouth FolkWeek Lineup (2009), archived December 2009
  22. ^ Larmer Tree Festival 2009 Line-Up Archive
  23. ^ "A special 10th anniversary performance from festival favourites London Bulgarian Choir". Span Arts. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  24. ^ "Cerys Matthews' The Good Life Experience festival hailed as 'massive success' - Midas PR Agency London". Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  25. ^ London Bulgarian Choir at Smugglers Festival 2019, retrieved 25 September 2019
  26. ^ YouTube - Bulgarian Choir
  27. ^ The Shouting Gallery: 6 Frisky Choirs at National Portrait Gallery (Friday, 12 May 2006) - Upcoming Archived 12 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "British Sea Power to headline 2000trees festival". RTV Channel. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010.
  29. ^ Hazel Sheffield - Freelance Journalist: Live Review: British Sea Power @ Roundhouse, 17/10/08
  30. ^ British Sea Power, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London, Simon Price, The Independent, 23 August 2009
  31. ^ BBC - Electric Proms - Doves
  32. ^ "BBC Radio 6 Music - Profile - Cerys Matthews". BBC. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  33. ^ Hart, Tina (23 August 2012). "Halo 4 official soundtrack announced". Music Week.
  34. ^ Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Biography 2013 Archived 2014-01-16 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Maddocks, Fiona (30 October 2016). "Nigel Kennedy; Oxford lieder festival; London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Vänskä – review". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  36. ^ "The Turbans: The Turbans - album review". Louder Than War. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  37. ^ Gillinson, Miriam (30 August 2018). "Pericles review – musical Shakespeare adaptation is a joy". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  38. ^ BBC Radio 3 - The Choir - 18 February 2007
  39. ^ BBC Radio 3 - Feature - Bulgaria's Voice - 23 August 2006
  40. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Joan Armatrading's Favourite Choirs - London Bulgarian Choir". 21 May 2008.
  41. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Choral History of Britain, Series 1, Singing for Everyone, "Feels like a vibration through the body...we all vibrate together!"". BBC. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  42. ^ Runcie, Charlotte (9 October 2019). "Why The Missing Cryptoqueen podcast is as gripping as Serial". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  43. ^ Heathman, Amelia (31 October 2019). "Best scary podcasts: audio tales for the brave". Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  44. ^ "BBC - World on 3 with Mary Ann Kennedy - Playlist". 19 May 2008.
  45. ^ Burton, Kim (April–May 2012). "Europe Reviews - The London Bulgarian Choir : Goro le Goro". Songlines Magazine. pp. 84–85. Le mystère des voix Anglais
  46. ^ Cartwright, Garth (April 2020). "Europe Reviews - The London Bulgarian Choir : Songs of Forbidden Love". Songlines Magazine (156). p. 57. Epic Bulgarian choral music

External links[edit]