About

Petko Staynov, blind since the age of 11, was a legendary, preeminent Bulgarian composer, musician, educator, and public figure, who shaped the course of classical music.

“Petko Staynov had a vision that found its impetus in personal tragedy…”

— Isabel Stainow Wilcox (grand-daughter of Petko Staynov)

No doubt the name of academician Petko Staynov will remain written in gold letters among the grand masters of Bulgarian composer’s art. In 1926 he created his celebrated symphonic suite, Thracian Dances. Later it was followed by Legend and Fairy Tale. Petko Staynov’s art is inseparably connected with the folk song, its richness and profundity of expressive and rhythmical variety. One cannot stay unmoved by the passion and intensity of emotions imbued in Petko Staynov’s music. Words are helpless as it goes to this great composer’s deeds: the ones connected with music as well as the ones related to social activities.’ — Classics of Bulgarian Music

Isabel Wilcox, the grand daughter of the illustrious composer Petko Staynov, made the concerts in New York and Washington possible. She contributed her time, money and attention to rehabilitate her ancestor, cut off from her family for political reasons. He lived in Eastern Europe and Isabel’s father and family lived in Western Europe, during the “Cold War” period. For many, the only way to survive expatriation was to sever all ties. “Most of my life I felt cut off from this legacy, because of the political divide. I never heard his music played as a child and discovered it only well into my adult life. My father found it too painful to listen to. He had left Bulgaria as a young man in 1947, never to return. Today I am detached from the personal political drama of the previous generation, and the timing is right. It is finally time for Petko Staynov’s music to find its rightful place in the rest of the world of music. His sons are now old and it would be wonderful for them to see this happen before they pass away. It is also a good example of how music can play a central role in the individualization process of an emerging nation. Staynov’s music deserves to be heard, studied and its role understood’, adds Isabel Wilcox.