“Bodra Smyana” is the first Bulgarian children’s choir, which gained worldwide fame, and marked the beginning of Bulgarian children’s choral singing.
The creator of “Bodra Smyana” is the famous conductor and music teacher Boncho Bochev (1899-1975). The first ensemble, created in the Sofia district “Sugar Factory” gradually reached 130 singers and since 1947 has been called the “Bodra Smyana” choir, also working as a State Children’s Music School.
His daughter Liliana Bocheva became a full collaborator of the choir, in 1952 she was appointed as an accompanist, in 1954 as a solfège teacher, and later as a pedagogue-leader.
Boncho Bochev led the group almost until his death in 1975. Under his leadership, the choir received worldwide recognition. Numerous concert tours and prestigious world awards are only a material expression of the audience’s admiration. Under the direction of Boncho Bochev, “Bodra Smyana” performs for the first time works by world authors such as Zoltan Kodai, Dmitri Kabalevsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, etc. However, the emphasis is placed on the work of Bulgarian composers – Georgi Dimitrov, Svetoslav Obretenov, Filip Kutev, Lyubomir Pipkov, Todor Popov and others, many of whom wrote musical works especially for “Bodra Smyana”.
Liliana Bocheva continues her father’s case. Under her leadership, “Bodra Smyana” established itself as one of the best children’s choirs in Bulgaria and in the world. The works of classical and modern authors occupy an increasingly large place in the choir’s repertoire, with the emphasis, as always, being Bulgarian composers.
In the 70s of the 20th century, the collaboration between “Bodra Smyana” and the chamber ensemble “Sofia Soloists” was particularly productive. Under the leadership of the conductor Vasil Kazandzhiev, the two ensembles reap brilliant successes at home and abroad.
After the death of Liliana Bocheva on September 20, 2005, the conductorship was taken over by her longtime collaborator and choir accompanist Svetla Beshovishka, who worthily continued the tradition of Boncho and Liliana Bochevi – a tradition of love for choral singing and of preserving and developing the unique singing and repertoire style of “Bodra Smyana” choir.
Since September 2010, the conductor of the choir is Alexander Kochkov. Under his direction, the choir participated in the staging of “Bohemia” at the Sofia Opera House, concerts of the NDD together with the “Pioner” Philharmonic, Orthodox music festivals, the “New Bulgarian Music” review of the Union of Bulgarian Composers’ 2012. In the same year, the choir invited to participate in the performance of “Carmina Burana” by Karl Orff together with the Symphony Orchestra of the BNR conducted by Emil Tabakov, which was a spectacular success.
More than 10,000 choristers have been trained in the “Bodra Smyana” choir, with an average training course of 8 years. There are hundreds of well-known and established Bulgarians in music and other areas of life who have passed through the unique school of “Bodra Smyana”. There is hardly a capital or a large city in Europe where there is not at least one cheerleader – singer, instrumentalist, conductor. More than 40 gramophone records and CDs have been released in Bulgaria and abroad.
47 overseas tours were carried out in Europe, Asia and Africa. The choir is a regular collaborator of the Symphony Orchestra of the Bulgarian National Radio, of many orchestras in the country and of the National Opera, where it participates in 26 opera productions in over 3,000 performances.
Won numerous national and international awards, the most prestigious of which is the award from the anonymous competition of the BBC – London, since 1974.
More than 2,500 concerts were given, in which more than 7,000 children participated.
More than 1,000 works by over 300 authors have been performed. The choir performs works by the world’s greatest composers of all times and movements – Monteverdi, Handel, Brittan, Béla Bartók, Zoltai Kodai, Kabalevsky, Velo Trolis, Aram Khachaturian, Radion Shchedrin, Bach, Pergolesi.