Sunday, June 25, 2017

Vanya Milanova

Vanya Milanova is a Bulgarian violinist, teacher, painter, and author born on January 12, 1954.  According to at least one source, she was the first female violinist to record, in 1985, at age 31, the complete (24) Caprices for solo violin by Nicolo Paganini.  That sounds rather unusual but it just might be true.  I didn’t bother to confirm it by checking further.  Surprisingly, she is the first Bulgarian violinist about whom I have written and that is highly unusual too.  Milanova is also known for having a huge repertoire.  Her career has taken her around the world several times and she has performed with most of the world’s great orchestras and with some of the leading conductors of her generation in over fifty countries.  Although her discography is not extensive, there are quite a few YouTube files of her live performances.  Milanova took third prize in the 1973 Paganini Violin Competition (in Genoa, Italy) and third prize in the 1974 Tchaikovsky Competition (the same one where the late Eugene Fodor took second prize.)  She was known as a child prodigy - her main teachers were Peter Arnaudov (State Music Academy) in Bulgaria and Yfrah Neaman (Guildhall School of Music) in England.  Her 2016 autobiography is titled Wit and Wisdom of a Violinist but is presently out of print.  Many of her abstract paintings can be seen on her Facebook page.  Milanova has taught at Bilkent University in Turkey, among other schools.  Here are two YouTube files of her performances, including the complete recording of the Paganini Caprices.