"Bulgarian composer Gheorghi Arnaoudov has forged a profound body of work deeply rooted in minimalism and, at the same time, creating an intensely imaginative, vibrating sound world that constantly defies convention. His vital use of a variety of literary sources, aesthetic ideas, and collaborations with other art forms distinguish his music in today’s European concert culture..." -Eric Salzman, "A genuinely surprising and beautiful disc..." –Barnaby Rayfield, Fanfare, New York "...Stillness and medieval-tinged mystery..." Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International


This event has now been postponed to Saturday, October 30, 2021.

SECT Iana Boukova - Gheorghi Arnaoudov - Vessela Dantcheva - Ivan Bogdanov

Notes of the Phantom Woman is a chamber opera-monodrama based on the poetry of author Iana Boukova. Her book, Notes of the Phantom Woman, astonishes the reader with its fantastic imagery that reveals itself between the lines of the text. In the composer’s words: “This book had a profound influence on me and on my compositional thinking, so much so that it changed the direction of my musical style. It has shaken me from the ground up and has led me to the uncharted shores of experimentation.” The monodrama is based on the English translation by John O ' Kane.

The book was published in 2018 both in Bulgarian and Greek. On December 11th, 2019, Iana Boukova's poetry book "Notes of the Phantom Woman" won the 2019 National Poetry Award "Ivan Nikolov" during the Sofia International Book Fair.

The music of this surreal, otherworldly Monodrama is scored for female voice, prepared piano, percussion, and pre-recorded concrete sounds. The pre-recorded sounds are produced at the Research Center for Computer Music and Sound Design at New Bulgarian University. This work is the result of my many years of collaboration with the Soprano Heather Pawsey, the Pianist Anna Levy and the Percussionist, Jonathan Bernard."

The world premiere of this chamber opera will take place in the Orpheum Annex Theatre, Vancouver in collaboration with the Astrolabe Musik Theatre and the Yarilo Contemporary Music Society. Both composer and poet will be present for the premiere in Vancouver. A second performance will be presented in April 2021 during the ppIANISSIMO International Festival of Contemporary Piano Music in Sofia. Next performances will be in New York and Rome.

According to the greek poet, artist and translator Katerina Iliopoulou "The Phantom-woman orchestrating the book is the invisibly present witness-poet, the one who has been turned into a ghost across the entire spectrum of the totalitarianism of merchandise, disguised as a cartoon-like superhero, showcasing the incredible transforming powers of poetry. Because the poetry at hand is not one of defeat but, rather, a battle-ready poetry, the poetry of the present coming-to-be, which declares: we' re perfectly able to use your own weapons!"

Heather Pawsey

Acclaimed for her “stylistic versatility, clarity, range” (Halifax Chronicle Herald) and “gorgeous operatic power” (Vancouver Sun) , soprano HEATHER Pawsey’s career encompasses opera, oratorio, chamber, symphonic, and con-temporary music. First Prize winner of the Eckhardt-Gramatt? National Music Competition, she has per-formed across North America, Europe and Japan. In 2009, Pawsey was honoured by being named an Ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre — one of only 50 per-formers and conductors "who have played exceptional roles in shaping the Canadian music scene and raising the profile of Canadian music”. She has premiered over 40 works, many of them written specifically for her. Known for her creation of roles in new Canadian operas—most recently the title role in Farshid Samandari’s Kayoi Ko-machi / Komachi Visited (Tomoe Arts); three roles in Neil Weisensel’s Stickboy (Vancouver Opera); Jennifer in Rita Ueda’s One Thousand White Paper Cranes for Japan (Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra; Prague Modern Orchestra, Czech Re-public; UA Ensemble, Amsterdam, Netherlands and West Coast International New Mu-sic Festival, Fukuoka, Japan); Susan Allison in Barbara Pentland’s The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk (Astrolabe Musik Theatre/Turning Point Ensemble); and The Daughter in Leslie Uyeda’s Your Breath My Breath (Saskatchewan Festival of Words)—Heather is featured in CMC BC / Opus 59 Films’ short documentary film profiling Ca-nadian composer Barbara Pentland. As soloist, Heather has appeared with the Van-couver Symphony Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, Aventa Ensemble (Victoria), Vancouver Island Symphony, Land’s End Ensemble (Calgary), Emily Carr String Quar-tet (Victoria), Music on Main, Sonic Boom Festival, The Little Chamber Music Series That Could, Indian Summer Music Festival, Sonic Boom Festival, Music in the Morn-ing, Golden Apple Theatre (Regina), and CBC Radio, among others. She was Guest Artist at the Scotia Festival of Music and (as a native of Saskatchewan) performed a solo recital in honour of the province’s centenary for the Lieutenant-Governor at Gov-ernment House (Regina). The Founding Artistic Director and General Manager of Astrolabe Musik Theatre, Heather is the producer and featured performer of the upcom-ing feature-length opera documentary The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk — the first and only Canadian opera to be made into a film — with John Bolton of Opus 59 Films. She is currently on faculty at Capilano University in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

Anna Levy

ANNA Levy, Piano. Anna received her Doctor of Musical Arts from theMoscow Conservatory in 1990. She has appeared both as a soloist and chamber musician championing contemporary music on the concert stage and Universities: St. John’s University (MN), Princeton University, Ohio State University, the University of Illinois, University of British Columbia, andSimon Fraser University, in performances of the music of Scriabin, Schnittke, Korndorf, and numerous Canadian composers.

In 2001 she formed the Yarilo Music Ensemble in collaboration with fellow pianist Jane Hayes; the ensemble has been featured in CBC broadcasts and abroad at the International music festivals. Yarilo Music Ensemble has commissioned numerous Canadian composers for two pianos. Anna has presented programs of exclusively Canadian music, including "Nikolai Korndorf at 60” (UBC); Michael Conway Baker at 75. As a piano duo with Jane Hayes, she has performed an all Canadian Music concert at the Union of Composers in Sofia, Bulgaria and at the Sofia Music Weeks with program Canada at 150. Anna is the pianist for Colin MacDonald’s Pocket Orchestra.

Iana Boukova

IANA Boukova (born 1968) is a Bulgarian poet, novelist, essayist, and translator. Considered one of the most significant Bulgarian authors of the 21st century, she won the National Poetry Award "Ivan Nikolov" in 2019 for her poetry book "Notes of the Phantom Woman" and the 2012 Hristo G. Danov National prize for her eminent literary translations of the Pindar's Pythian Odes.

In Bulgarian, she has published three books of poetry: Diocletian’s Palaces (1995) Boat in the Eye (2000), Notes of the Phantom Woman (2018), the short stories collections: A As Anything (2006), 4 Tales With no Return (2016) and the Borgesian novel: Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow (2009, rev. 2014), as well as translations of more than fifteen books of modern Greek and ancient poetry — among them: Sappho, Pindar, the poetry of Catullus, Maximus the Confessor, Costas Montis.

Iana Boukova is a member of the editorial board of Athens “FRMK” biannual journal on poetry, theory, and the visual arts. Her poems and short stories were translated into more than ten languages. In English, her work has appeared in various anthologies and journals in the USA and the UK: e.g. Absinthe. World Literature in Translation: Hellenisms (Michigan Publishing Services), Austerity Measures (Penguin UK), Best European Fiction 2017 (Dalkey Archive Press), Two Lines 25 - Fall 2016 (Two Lines Press, San Francisco), Drunken Boat, Zoland Poetry, Take Five, etc.

Notes of the Phantom Woman - Janet45, 2018

"Boukova is a Borgesian type of author. She favors play, references, riddles unexpected twists, ironies, and the dramaturgy of verse. She possesses deep knowledge not just in the sphere of the humanities, in which she specialized, but she is also enticed by science, she knows a lot, and all of this is reflected in Notes of the Phantom Woman"
A ruthless game, by Silvia Cholevà, Ê – The journal of criticism, debate and cultural pleasures, Iss. 8, 23.11.2018

"A pointed intellect is in charge: a restless, ironic intelligence is given utterance in a style that’s meant to smart, to cause abrasions, unburdened by the delusion of prophetic speech and the concomitant assurance of high discourse."
Fertile migration to Greek letters, by Maria Topali, poet, critic, newspaper “Kathimerini”, Biblio, 08.04.2019

"This book brings in contact the essay form (the philosophic, metaphysical “tendency”) and poetry (poetic excess), like two ever-moving, rotating grindstones that hone one another. Boukova formulates conclusions which appear scientific yet bear a poetic charge, one usually expressed in terms of terror at the metaphysical void. The book’s second, central section is titled “Tractatus”. It is a treatise on the revulsion an observer feels towards city pigeons. Like Wittgenstein meeting Kafka, you might say. This Tractatus could well be taught at schools as an example of the difference between poetry and “poeticality”."
The poem as a field of action, by Orfeas Apergis, poet, critic, newspaper “Ta Nea”, Poetry, 03.08.2019

© 2020, Gheorghi Arnaoudov
© 2020, Paintings by Yassen Panov
Contact e-mail: garnaoudov(at)gmail.com