Pleven Guitar Festival 2016

Guitarists from Bulgaria, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, Macedonia and Serbia

The second edition of the International guitar competition “Pleven Guitar Festival” took place in the Bulgarian town of Pleven between 30th November and 4th December 2016. Special guests were guitarists from Bulgaria, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, Macedonia and Serbia. The event included five concert evenings, competition divided in 12 categories, master classes, showrooms of music products, presentation of musical instruments and luthiers.

Pleven Guitar Festival
Flyer of Pleven Guitar Festival 2016


What makes this festival so important to me is that it is held in the town where I was born. Coming back there after studying abroad is always a very emotional moment for me. As a winner of the first edition I had the opportunity to play at the opening ceremony of the festival. It was an indescribable feeling to play in front of an audience full of friends, relatives, teachers and colleagues. On one hand one feels their great support in the hall every second and on the other hand the responsibility is also enormous, willing to give your best during the performance. The concert at the first evening was amazing, various and fun. Competitors, jury members and guitar admirers met all together and became a part of this young festival, which promises to start a tradition in the guitar art at an international level.

Opening ceremony
Bozhana performing at the opening ceremony. Photo: Pleven Guitar Festival


The competition for the youth categories in which I was a jury member started in the following morning. The competitors presented themselves at a very high level, showing musical understanding and deep emotionality at such a young age while still studying at music schools. I was impressed by their professionalism and admire the devotion and the hard work of their teachers who prepared the pupils for the stage. The prize winners were exquisite talents and I am sure they will have a very successful future. There is a full list of the winners  (unfortunately only in Bulgarian).

Something which is worth mentioning was the innovative application and scoring system at the Festival, which started just this year. It is called zCore and it allows the competitors to apply for the competition, check the schedule and receive their scores online. It has been developed by the organizing committee and presents a great opportunity to deal with great amounts of information faster and easier than before. Thumbs up and good luck to this idea!

The program of the festival was pretty tight. On Saturday I presented the new instruments of the luthiers Rumen Todorov, Hristo Georgiev and Slavko Mrdalj. It was a pleasure for me to play on these fine guitars. Without time for a rest we moved on to the next day of the competition… the final round of the professional category without age limit. But who is the winner? Soon you will see 🙂

Bozhana with colleagues
Bozhana with Hristo Georgiev (left) and Rumen Todorov (right). Photo: Peter Valchev


Before that, I would like to say a couple of words about the artistic side of the event. Along with the classical concerts of Georgi Vasilev, Stela Dinkova and Boyan Doychev with the Pleven Philharmonic Orchestra, Gerhard Raichenbach and Darko Bageski as solo guitarists, there was also an evening devoted to the acoustic guitar, represented by “Acoustic Trio 3000”, whose members were Tzvetan Nedyalkov, Ivan Lechev and Veselin Koychev. Of course, after each concert we organized jam sessions, which sometimes continued till the morning, playing and singing songs all night long. These were maybe the best parts of the event, where everyone came together after the busy days and had fun.

Going back to the main part of the festival – the competition. The winner in the no age limit category this year was the Italian guitarist Nicola Montella. After his brilliant performances in the two rounds he was awarded with a guitar made by the guitar maker Hristo Georgiev. Congratulations!

Nicola Montella
Nicola Montella, Photo: Pleven Guitar Festival


The young organizers are very devoted to the cause and determined to develop the event during the next years. Always searching for new horizonts, being up to date and broadening their knowledge in the field of music together with their strong belief that music can make the world a better place are their greatest advantages, which guide them through their way. I am positive that this project will have even bigger success in the following years.


For more information visit the website:


Read about Bozhana’s studies and life as a guitar artist here:


Watch a video recording of mdw’s International Guitar Festival Vienna in the media centre:

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