The King’s concertmaster will be Bulgarian

The King’s concertmaster will be Bulgarian


norman lebrecht

March 20, 2023

Amid the welter of big names who have been commanded to attend the coronation of King Charles III, one participant has  slipped beneath the mass-media radar.

We  can confirm that the concertmaster of the King’s orchestra will  be Vasko Vassilev, leader of the Royal Opera House orchestra for the past three decades.

The Bulgarian born violinist, 53, is also known as teacher and mentor of the pop performer Vanessa Mae and as artistic director of the Covent Garden Soloists ensemble.




  • Pat says:

    …. but he is better known as being a superb violinist.

  • Frequent guest says:

    If he has been residing in London for the past three decades, I wouldn’t necessarily refer to him as Bulgarian in the headline. Wouldn’t 30 years be enough for someone to earn the right to be called British?

    • a Londoner of Bulgarian heritage says:

      Bulgaria has a population smaller than London, so please do not erase our national identity nor begrudge us wanting to highlight it among leading musicians in distinguished orchestras such as Covent Garden (Vasko Vassilev) or the Vienna Philharmonic (Albena Danailova, the first Konzertmeisterin). If you travel to Bulgaria and speak to people there, I can guarantee that these two distinguished violinists (who are well known even among non-musicians) are regarded as Bulgarian.

      • Don Ciccio says:

        Don’t forget Vesko Eschkenazy, concertamester of the Royal Concertgebouw orchestra (the other concertmaster of the orchestra is Romanian. Take that, Geert Wilders). Also, another violinist of the Vienna Philharmonic, Daniela Ivanova is Bulgarian.

        Keep the good work.

    • Herr Forkenspoon says:

      only if he’s a British citizen.

  • MacroV says:

    “Commanded?” This isn’t Henry VIII we’re talking about here.

  • Simon Scott says:

    King Charles’ opinion of Brexit seems pretty obvious!
    Give him a chance, he may well be the right man in the right place at the right time.

  • Save the MET says:

    Lots of British conducting talent steeped in Handel and capable of conducting modern music as well. Frankly, I don’t understand this.

  • Yaroslav says:

    If he was French then it wouldn’t t be a news for you I assume. Stupid UK mentality