Off The Beaten Path

2023 Edition Recap


The Fifth Anniversary edition of the Off the Beaten Path Festival was our most memorable yet, and we are thrilled to share some photos and memories from our Bulgarian summer.

Stone Trail World Premiere and our Plovdiv debut

At the heart of the 2023 Festival was the world premiere of Stone Trail for piano quintet by Dobrinka Tabakova, which we performed three times, culminating with our debut in Plovdiv at the magnificent Bishop's Basilica of Philippopolis, surrounded by the ancient mosaics which inspired the work.

The concerts were sold out, and audiences and critics greeted the quintet enthusiastically. Our next goal is to share it with the rest of the world via recordings and performances in the United States and Europe in the coming season. Also on the program were two songs by Tabakova, Strum by Jesse Montgomery, Vaghe luci by Antonio Caldara, and Schumann's beloved piano quintet. The event was attended by many dignitaries, including Deputy Minister of Culture Victor Stoyanov, Ms. Nancy Schiller, President and CEO of America for Bulgaria Foundation, Ms. Nadia Zaharieva, Program Director of the Foundation, representatives of the Plovdiv Municipality, and many notable public figures from Plovdiv and beyond.

Randall Scarlata and Max Baillie perform in Bulgaria for the first time.

Our special guests this year were the world-renowned artists Randall Scarlata (baritone) and Max Baillie (violin/viola), who, like all of our special guests over the years, fell in love with Kovachevitsa and Bulgarian village life and eagerly took part in our festival rehearsals, performances and outreach activities. This year, our "regular" team of musicians was expanded to eleven artists, and we are happy to have had the opportunity to work with Bulgarian colleagues Dora Dimitrova (violin) and Vyara Shuperlieva (piano).

The programs included many Bulgarian premieres as well as performances of rarely heard works from the chamber music repertoire, including Folk Songs by Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Quintet by Ernst von Dohnányi, and Quartet for Four Violins by Grażyna Bacewicz. The events were attended by the Mayor of Gotse Delchev, representatives of the United States Embassy, the American Foundation for Bulgaria, the National Assembly of Bulgaria, and numerous local residents.

All performances were video-recorded and will be available on our YouTube channel in the Spring.

The Path is Yours

An exciting new program of our Fifth Edition was our composers’ residency, part of the initiative The Path is Yours. It was launched this summer with the Bulgarian composers Svetlin Hristov, Lora Al Ahmad, and Peter Kerkelov with funding from the European Union via its program MusicAIRE, an innovative recovery for Europe.

The composers spent a week with us in the village, got to know our team of musicians, and began planning new works, which will be premiered in our next edition. We can't wait to share the stories of each piece and the different approaches the composers take in music composition. Our 2024 edition will be about new paths, and all the programs will be carefully curated around the works currently being composed. Stay tuned for more news from our expanded team of artistic minds!

Beyond the Music

As it has been our practice recently, our Festival's musicians and composers dedicate significant time and energy to promoting important causes. This year was no exception, and we are glad to have worked with Bulecopack on recycling and responsible garbage disposal. This was the theme of our summer vocal camp, Singing Hearts, in Gotse Delchev, led by Mariana Karpatova. The children sang songs about nature, ecology, and recycling and took part in cleaning the park of Gotse Delchev – a campaign organized by Clean and Green Bulgaria.

Inspired by the young campers, the musicians and audience members of the Festival took part in a cleaning action of their own in Kovachevitsa and the surrounding area on the Festival's last day. We also donated a portion of all festival ticket sales to the organization, which will go towards planting 3,000 trees.

News from Dar Svetlina

Our favorite Bulgarian community center, Chitalishte Svetlina, has a renovated terrace!

Thanks to the charitable society we established in 2022 with the help of the Agora platform and funding from America for Bulgaria Foundation, we also raised additional funds for other repairs and upkeep of Chitalishte Svetlina. Our work continues as we await offers for further renovations and restorations.

To learn more about this initiative, please visit

Festival Team Spotlight
Mariana Todorova, Event Manager and PR

Mariana Todorova is an experienced professional in planning, organizing, and hosting large sports and entertainment events, practicing in Bulgaria, Serbia, and the United States.

She has been the Events and PR Manager of the Off the Beaten Path Festival since 2019.

Thank you, Mariana!

In the Works

Even though our Festival takes place in the summer, our work continues year-round. Here is a peek at what you can expect from us in the coming months:

Art Video of Stone Trail by Dobrinka Tabakova,
filmed at the Bishop's Basilica of Philippopolis, Plovdiv

Behind-the-scenes video
about our special team of experts who help make the Festival successful

More artists, composers, and concert locations in 2024

To stay in the loop, please follow us on social media and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

See you in Bulgaria!

To join our efforts and make this upcoming journey a reality, please consider donating to our foundation in Bulgaria or, if you are in the United States, make a tax-deductible contribution to our 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization,
Friends of the Off the Beaten Path Festival.



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