On May 6, the world will be glued to their televisions to watch the historic event live coronation of King Charles III. Such an event has not happened in the last 70 years.
The crowns have already been prepared, and the throne, on which the kings and queens of the kingdom have sat for 1000 years, is being restored. But a big role in the glamorous ceremony is given to the music that the new king adores. And here a Bulgarian trace appears. Vasko Vassilev will be the concertmaster of the orchestras that will perform the music in Westminster Abbey.
The Coronation Orchestra is the name of the special orchestra that will bring together elite performers from all the orchestras in the Kingdom. The musicians will play conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano, but the first violin will be in the hands of the virtuoso concertmaster Vasko Vasilev.
“I was somewhere on tour and suddenly I got an email, I didn’t get a call from the king personally, but I got an email asking if I wanted to be the concertmaster of all the orchestras of England that are associated with the king for his coronation. And I had to move several concerts and tours to Poland. They didn’t take offense to me, they understood. Whereupon I said, yes, it would be an honor for me to be the concertmaster of all the bands of England that would be assembled at the back of the Abbey. And so. After which suddenly came a firman – a contract that was between His Majesty and me, that I have no right to talk about anything until they announce everything,” said the violinist Vasko Vasilev.
The coronation music will pay tribute to heritage while blending tradition and “voices of the present”, reflecting the King’s love of music and art. Performances by a gospel choir and Greek Orthodox music are planned in memory of Charles’ late father, Prince Philip, who is of Greek descent.
Commissioned works include Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new Coronation Hymn, Patrick Doyle’s Coronation March, and new works by dozens of composers, including Ian Farrington, whose piece will recreate Commonwealth musical themes for solo organ.
“I think part of the reason that I was chosen is also that I don’t just play classical music, but I play film music and pop music and all kinds of music. I think that was very important to them. The King has commissioned 12 new works from a variety of composers that are brand new and he personally, as far as I know, absolutely personally directs the choice of music, the choice of musicians, the choice of singers, so he will be very excited. We start the rehearsals at the Westminster school, from the first of May, every day, for 7-8 hours, then at 6 it’s the coronation, and then we’re in Vratsa,” explained our violinist.
I guess with you excite from each meeting with the audience, but now is a little by–different. A lot responsibly and a lot important an event. Equally do is the excitement for the concert in Vratsa and for the performance in Westminster an abbey?
To tell you honestly, as I think, so far my biggest excitement has been for the 12th Congress of the BKP, when I was little, the opening of the National Palace of Culture. Yes, it is responsible, yes, but at the end of the day we are professionals, it’s a job and whether it’s Vratsa, whether it’s Sofia, whether it’s the abbey, we always give ourselves away. I will always give away. The only thing I am afraid of is that I have hitherto been known as the Concertmaster of Covent Garden. Now I’m going to be concertmaster at the coronation. Nobody cares about Covent Garden anymore.
The work on the Coronation cannot tear Vasko Vassilev from his busy schedule as a world star.
“Until May I actually have concerts in Milan, concerts in Spain, in between the Royal Opera House, where we’re doing ‘Mermaid’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Turandot’, then a week of hard work on the coronation. Immediately after the coronation I come on tour in Bulgaria, starting from Vratsa, so from Westminster Abbey to Vratsa, on the 30th is the first concert, we start a very heavy tour. It will consist of 14 concerts in Bulgaria, every day, which ends with a concert in the National Palace of Culture on June 13. After that, I am in Japan with the Royal Ballet, where we will play Saint-Saëns, explained Vasko Vasilev.
Why this an event, which will everything happened on 6 May, is important, historical and why must and us like Bulgarians? In fact there is do this meaning for us?
I think it matters a lot. What I love about the event is that it is a 1000 year old tradition. 1066 I think this tradition started and this is something we have to learn, not to hide the past but to be proud of our past and to remember and keep such traditions.
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