The Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra was founded in the autumn of 1969 following the initiative of the composer, musicologist and conductor Hristo Pitev, as well as ambitious graduates of higher musical schools in Bulgaria. The first creative period of the Orchestra is from 1969 till 1974. It is characterized with daring repertoire searchings in the world of music vanguard during the 50s – 70s of the 20th century and pieces of the Baroque, Viennese classic and Romanticism, played occasionally and hardly known to the public at large.
From 1974 till 1990 Milko Kolarov, a professed Bulgarian composer and conductor, was the musical director of the Orchestra. His name is associated with the first initiatives and achievements of the Ensemble: the establishing of the international festival Days of Chamber Music whose artistic director at the beginning was Pancho Vladigerov, the patriarch of Bulgarian music culture, and visits of Gabrovo of famous native and foreign composers, conductors and instrumentalists. This period is known with the great number of tours of the Orchestra in Western, Central and Eastern European countries. Regular performances in the most prestigious Bulgarian concert halls and international festivals win the Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra the fame of being among the best Bulgarian chamber orchestras.
Since 1992 Ivan Stoyanov has been the musical director of the Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra. He aims at preserving the Ensemble as an authoritative musical institute along with developing the established traditions in the concert and festival life of Gabrovo.
For its 40 years of history, the Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra has been a guest performer in almost all European countries, Russia, Belorus and Ukraine. Its presence is invariable on the posters of the most prestigious Bulgarian international festivals, such as Varna Summer, March Musical Days – Rousse,New Bulgarian Music – Sofia, Parlour of Atrs – Sofia, International Festival of Chamber Music – Plovdiv, Apoloniya – Sozopol, as well as in many foreign festivals in Germany, Spain, France and Greece – Music in Versailles / France /, Haldiki, Katerini / Greece /, etc.
The repertoire of the Orchestra includes 700 compositions from all genres and epochs. Along with traditional pieces composed for chamber orchestra in the period 16th-20th centuries, the Orchestra offers the Bulgarian and international audience masterpieces of quartet literature orchestrated by Ivan Stoyanov. An essential part of the repertoire is music of Slav composers.
The Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra performs Baroque music imitating the sound derived from ancient instruments and its stylistic versatility makes it unique within the limits of Bulgaria.
The Orchestra is also the organizer of the annual international music festival Days of Chamber Music, which takes place in the first half of September.
Ivan Stoyanov was born in 1964 in Gabrovo. In 1983 he graduates from the Secondary Music School ‘Prof. Veselin Stoyanov’ in Rousse with major in violin performance. He continues his education at the State Academy of Music ‘Pancho Vladigerov’ in Sofia where he studies conductorship with prof. Anna Belcheva and Dimitar Manolov. In 1991 he specializes orchestra conductorship with prof. Konstantin Bugiano at the Yehudi Menuhin Academy ‘Pierre Derveau’ in France. He has participated in master classes of prof. Ilya Musin /Russia/ and Karl Osterreicher /Austria/. Ivan Stoyanov is an author of chamber music and many an arrangement for chamber, symphonic and brass orchestras. He has given concerts in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Greece. Along with his work as a conductor and arranger, Ivan Stoyanov participates as a violinist in different chamber ensembles. He is a music director of the international festival ‘Days of Chamber Music’ in Gabrovo. He has a CD issued with Bulgarian music, as well as records in the Bulgarian National Radio and Television.