Has this happened to you? You’re out driving or maybe at work and there’s music in the background. You’re not really listening: it’s just atmospheric, providing a pleasing ambiance, creating a soothing mood. Then, something pierces your consciousness and draws your attention away from whatever’s on your mind. You begin to listen. This is not music you ever recall hearing before. There’s something about it—it’s speaking to you. And as you continue to listen, you feel it filling your senses, unleashing your emotions, maybe touching something inside you on a deep spiritual level. Curiosity takes over. You ask yourself, “Who is this?”
I’ll share with you one recent such discovery of mine, and it just so happens to be in sync with Women’s History Month. What I heard was the Modetudes for solo piano by Dobrinka Tabakova. She was talking to me.
Dobrinka, which she says means “someone who does good,” was born in 1980 to a family of doctors and scientists in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. She says there was always music at home, recalling her grandfather had a large LP collection that she used to listen to. That’s where she says she discovered Beethoven, Schubert, and Bach and how she inherited her love of music. Around the age of seven, she asked if she could start piano lessons, and as soon as she started to learn to play, she says she began improvising—using music to express herself. That led to composing, writing her ideas down, thinking more deeply about how to say what she wanted to say.
In 1991, after the fall of communism, Dobrinka and her parents moved to London where she still lives today.
Now you might be interested to read about her musical training and awards and other accomplishments. She has an impressive resume. The short version is she graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and holds a PhD in composition from King’s College London. But, I knew none of that when I first encountered her. She’ll share with you ideas that are important to her through her music.
I look forward to playing for you some of the choral works of Dobrinka Tabakova on Sacred Classics, Sunday mornings in March, and throughout the year. They’re radiant, colorful, and sophisticated, with beautiful harmonies and textures. I expect they may pierce your consciousness as well.