Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type

Major Paper


Petar Christoskov, born in 1917 in Sofia, is among the most prolific of Bulgarian violinists, pedagogues and composers of the twentieth century. Christoskov’s Suites and Rhapsodies for solo violin represent both an internal evolution of Bulgarian music and an incorporation of the Bulgarian musical tradition into the larger world music scene. Bulgaria’s folk musical tradition was routinely infused and enriched over the course of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Christoskov’s efforts were presaged and made possible by a host of earlier composers and performers. But the evolution of the Bulgarian style was also shaped by larger historical trends and regional dynamics. During the period between 1396 and 1878, the Ottoman Empire allowed the Bulgarian folk tradition to be preserved and even continue to develop without external influence. Following the liberation of Bulgaria in the late 19th century, Bulgaria’s classical musicians were exposed to Russian and Western European stylistic methodologies. With the onset of the Cold War and Soviet ascendancy in the Balkans, the forces influencing Bulgarian music shifted yet again. The Communist ideology of the Bulgarian government discouraged Western influences and promoted the use of Bulgarian folk “Primitivism” as a means to make music more accessible to “the People.” Christoskov began composing under this musical paradigm. The folk structures, melodies, ornamentations, rhythms, and performance practice of the Bulgarian countryside were employed by Petar Christoskov to bring a new level of originality and expressiveness to Bulgarian professional violin literature and performance. By incorporating Bulgarian folk technique with the Western and Russian professional music traditions, Petar Christoskov created an original, distinctive violin style. His efforts enriched the Bulgarian violin professional music with a new virtuosity, sound, and timbre. His Suites and Rhapsodies for solo violin are among the most important compositions in the Bulgarian violin repertoire because they embody the distinct historical evolution of contemporary Bulgarian professional music.



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Committee Chair

Kevork Mardirossian

Included in

Music Commons