Bulgarian Boy Choir Costumes

Figure 1.--The Bulgarian Plovdiv choir has a costume of Burgandy velvet suits with short pants. All of the boys wear the costume, imcluding boys of 15 and 16 years of age. Older teenagers participating in the choir wear long white pants.

Bulgaria has some notable boys and childrens choirs. They were supported during the communist era by the goivernment and continue to perform today. Unfortunately we have been able to find relatively little information about the choral tradition in Bulgaria or about the individual choirs. We do know that some of the Bulagraian choirs have maintained very high standards and performed with great success at international events. Some have destinctive costumes for their performances.


Many countries of Western and Central Europe have a long tradition of church boys' choirs dating back to the midevil era. The choirs were primarily associated with the Roman Catholic Church and offshoots like the Anglican Church in England. The dominate Church in Bulgaria is the Greek Orthadox Church. Although dominated by the Ottoman Turks for 500 years, their rule was relatively tolerant--much more so than Christian regimes were tolerant of Islam. The Orthadox Church was thus allowed to survive under the Turks. Bulgaria as a nation appeared in the 1870s after a series of wars with the Turks and neighboring states. The first Prince of Bulgaria was elected by a popular assembly in 1879. As an nominally independent country, the Bulgarian Church declared its independence from the Patriarch of Constantinople. After only about 70 turbulent years as an independent nation, the Bulgarians were "liberated" by the Red Army and the Orthadox Church once again found itself under a hostile regime. The Bulgarian Church returned to the Orthadox Communion in 1945.

Choral Tadition

We know very little about the Bulgarian choral tradition. I believe that the Roman Catholic Church had a much stronger choral traditiion than the Greek Orthadox churches. The Bulgarian choirs, however, seem mostly secular choirs. Here the attention given to music during the Communist era was a factor.


We are not sure about the history of the Bulgarian choirs or their association with churches. These choirs operated during Bulgaria's communist period. This was not unusual as boy choirs also functioned in other communist countries such as Germany and Poland. There probably were also boy choirs in Czecheslovakia, Hungary, and Romania as well as the Baltic Republics, but I have no information on those countries at this time. Presumably they received financial support from the communist authorities. Such support is no longer avilable and some of the choirs are npe struggling financially. One older Belgian chorister is concerned about the difficulties that his and other Belgian choirs face. He writes HBC, "You know, nowadays, it's getting harder and harder to maintain a choir. This is the sad truth in Bulgaria. But even after all the difficulties, Varna boys choir has always kept its high level. Please, note that in Bulgaria, unfortunately, NOBODY gives money for choir music. My opinion is that this is a culture ignorence."

Figure 2.--This is the Bulgarian National Radio Childen's Choir. It is mostly composed of teenage girls, but a few younger boys also participate. The girls wear white dresses with a red folk motif front pannel. The boys wear similar white tunics wuth short pants. They all wear red patterned knee socks.

Individual Bulgarian Choirs

We have only limited information about specific Bulgarian choirs, but we have found a few specific choirs. . We only know specifically of a few Bulgarian choirs. Hopefully our Bulgarian readers will tell us about other chours are more details about the choirs we have found. Some of these choirs have disappeared, but there are still several active choirs. The repitoouires commonly include both classical music and folk pieces. They also do special concernts for Christmas, especially since the fall of Communism (1989). Many of hese choirs have destinctive uniforms, commonly employing Bulgarian folk costumes themes. .


We notice both boy choirs and childen's choirs in Bulgaria. Most of the children's choirs, however, seem mostly composed of girls. And we note older teenage girls in these choir, something that is not possible with the boy choir. This means that after training that the girls can stay with the choir for a longer period than the boys.


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Created: November 2, 1998
Last updated: 6:59 PM 2/11/2013