Victoria Vassilenko is the first holder of the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Prize in support of young talent in contemporary arts and science

All six nominees are enjoying outstanding international success. NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ declassified the members of the jury.

Text: Magdalena Gigova

Video: Tsvetan Ignatovski

On 1 October 2020, the first ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Prize in support of young talent in contemporary arts and science, initiated by NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, was awarded in the Ballroom of the National Gallery.


The six nominees, an entire constellation of professors and associate professors—representatives of the academic community—and HE the Ambassador of Slovakia Manuel Korčеk, as well as the limited number of people present (owing to the anti-epidemiological measures), applauded the historic moment. Because the awarding of the prize will certainly become a tradition.


The Executive Director of the Fund, Slava Ivanova, stressed the need for an award to show the young, talented and creative people in Bulgaria that there is care and thought for them, that everything they do for their native country is valued. Ms Ivanova announced for the first time the names of the jury composed of renowned scientists and teachers, on the recommendation of educational and cultural institutions, to which NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ turned for advice. Until now, they were kept secret to avoid pressure on them.


And they are: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ventsislav Velev, Associate of the National Commission of UNESCO and the Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe under the auspices of UNESCO, Adviser to the Minister of Culture; Assoc. Prof. Dr Penko Gospodinov, Lecturer in Acting and the Fundamentals of Acting at NATFA; Prof. Dr Sava Dimitrov, Rector of NAM ‘Prof. Pancho Vladigerov’; Prof. Dr Nikolay Yordanov from the Theatre Studies Department at NATFA, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Art Studies at BAS; Prof. Dr Fantina Rangelova, MEng, with scientific speciality of ‘Construction Organisation and Management’ at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy; and Prof. Valeri Stefanov, lecturer in the History of Bulgarian Literature at St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University (СУ „Св. Климент Охридски“), President of the Union of Collectors in Bulgaria (Съюза на колекционерите в България).


The distinguished jury found it extremely difficult to choose: firstly, among the numerous and worthy contenders, and then among the six nominees, each of whom shines with a unique light in his or her field.


They received honorary diplomas, award-winning drawings from the ‘Together in Art for a Better Future’ National Youth Competition, launched by NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ jointly with UNICEF and, last but not least, financial support.


Deputy Minister of Education Petar Nikolov bestowed an honorary diploma on Ivalina Trendafilova, who develops innovative systems for therapy and diagnostics in nanomedicine and was chosen to be among the few scientists specialising at the Marie Curie Institute in Paris.


Rosen Georgiev, who is involved in scientific research in the field of atomic layer deposition and its applications, recently attended a meeting of young scientists with Nobel laureates in Germany. He received his diploma from Ventsislav Velev, Advisor to the Minister of Culture and member of the Management Council of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’.


Denitsa Todorova, who completed her doctorate in hot processing of artistic glass, specialised in Barbara Zehner’s Glass Studio, Fürstenzell, Germany. The prize was presented by Assoc. Prof. Georgi Lozanov, Member of the Management Council of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’.


Rashko Mladenov, also a member of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ Management Council, delighted Liliya Pangelova, who is engaged in glass design. She is to present a report to UNESCO on glass artefacts discovered in Ancient Serdika and on Ancient Roman Furnaces for Glassmaking restored with her participation.


Percussionist Viviane Vassileva, although born and raised in Germany, always weaves Bulgarian music into her concerts. She was unable to attend because of an upcoming concert in Vienna but sent a video message. The nomination on her behalf was received by the music editor of BNR’s Allegro Vivace programme, Tatiana Ivanova.


The first holder of the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Prize in support of young talent in contemporary arts and science is the pianist Victoria Vassilenko. She received her diploma from the envoy of and Advisor to the Minister of Culture, Ventsislav Velev. And the Executive Director of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, Slava Ivanova, stressed that, so far, the Fund’s Honorary Crest has been received only by people with special merit for their donation activity, but the members of the Fund’s Council unanimously decided to bestow it to Victoria. The material expression of the award—BGN 5,000—will be transferred to her bank account to support her education at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium. By the way, the young musician personally knows Queen Mathilde of Belgium and has given concerts at her villa. Apart from the fact that, at the tender age of 27, Vassilenko is a Doctor of Sciences, she is also a part-time lecturer at the Prof. Pancho Vladigerov National Academy of Music.


Excited, with tears in her eyes, the first winner of the national prize thanked for the honour and respect of the young talents from NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’. She was at the party with her husband, the famous Russian pianist Sergei Redkin, with whom she often gives concerts for two pianos.


After the traditional group photos with the jury, the nominees and the winner thanked NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ for continuing to keep alive the flame of donation, to support young and gifted people and to encourage creativity.


The next edition of the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Prize in support of young talent in contemporary arts and science will be in two years. God grant that the jury will still find it as difficult in choosing among such intelligent, talented and worthy contenders.

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