Known for his unique artistry, musical approach and instrumental mastery, guitarist George Vassilev (www.george-vassilev.com) was born in Varna, Bulgaria. He began guitar studies with Lijuben Haralambiev in his home town. In 1987, thanks to a grant from the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, he continued his education at the Kiev Conservatory with N. Mikhailenko. Later, he studied with Maria Livia São Marcos at the Geneva Conservatory of Music, and graduated with the “Premier Prix de Virtuosité”, and received the “Master concert diploma” from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, having studied there with Ingolf Olsen.
George Vassilev has been awarded first prizes in several prestigious international competitions, including:
1995 – First prize at the International Competition for Musical Performers (CIEM), Geneva, Switzerland
1995 – Second prize at the International Guitar Competition “Jacinto e Inocencio Guerrero” in Madrid, Spain (First prize not awarded)
1992/1994 – Second prize and the prize of the audience (1992) at the International Guitar Competition “Francisco Tàrrega”, Benicasim, Spain
1992 – First prize at the International Competition for Musical Performers “Maria Canals de Barcelona”, Spain
1991 – First prize at the International Guitar Competition “Città di Alessandria”, Italy
1988 – First prize at the International Guitar Competition “Silesian Guitar Autumn”, Tychy, Poland
1985 – First prize and Special prize at the National Music Competition for Young Artists, Tchirpan, Bulgaria
George Vassilev has performed in prestigious music venues worldwide, including St-Peterburg’s Hermitage; Sydney Opera House; Melbourne Arts Centre; Royal Festival Hall, London; Victoria Hall, Geneva; New Opera House, Copenhagen; and the Waterfront Hall, Belfast. He has collaborated with concerts managers such as The Springboard Concert Trust, LACCS and IMG Artists in U.K. and “Georg Horthagel’s Konzertdirektion” in Germany. As a soloist, he has performed with conductors including Saulius Sondeckis, Thierry Fischer, Emil Tabakov, Richard Tognetti; and orchestras such as the St. Petersburg’ s Hermitage Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Italy, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Sofia State Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Danish Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
While pursuing his solo activities, he has always been inspired by all genres of chamber music: from renaissance and baroque to tango, jazz and electroacoustic music. His eclectic personality and cosmopolitan artistic interests have led to involvement in experimental music projects, which constantly cross stylistic borders, and explore new horizons and relationships between different art forms
George Vassilev is also very active as a chamber musician and has given concerts throughout Europe, Brazil, the United States and Australia with a number of worldrenowned musicians, such as James Crabb (accordionist and conductor), Richard Toghetti (violinist and conductor), Brigitte Fournier (mezzo-soprano), Stéphane Chappuis (accordion and bandoneon), André Ducret (conductor), Irina-Kalina Goudeva (double bass), Elmira Darvarova (violin), Lionel Monnet (piano), Ejnar Kanding (composition), Christophe Fellay (percussions), Jörg Lingenberg (flute), Hristo Yotzov (percussions), Michel Tirabosco (pan flute), Antonio Dominguez (guitar), Boris Berezovski (piano), Ute Lemper (voice), Angel Zaberski (jazz piano), and Emmanuel Pahud (flute).
In addition to his work as a concertist, George Vassilev is often invited to conduct masterclasses in various guitar forums and music festivals around the world,
In addition to radio and television broadcasts, he has released 15 CDs (2 solo), distributed by companies such as Fidesson, Artlab, Swiss Radio International in Switzerland; Mega Sofia in Bulgaria; IMUK and DACAPO in Denmark; MHR in Australia, or by his own label GVRecords (www.gvrecords.info).
His solo guitar album “George Vassilev, guitar recital” as well as Piazzolla’s quintets “Tango Jam”, recorded with James Crabb, Richard Tognetti and the members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra received high critical acclaim.
George Vassilev is additionally involved in audio recording as a sound engineer and producer. His activities are focused on acoustic projects, putting the most advanced recording technology at the service of the music, to optimally capture the emotion and magic of live sound.
This comprehensive approach, combined with state-ofthe-art equipment, which is often hand-crafted or built upon custom specifications, allows him to obtain an authentic sound with the highest resolution, clarity and transparency.
George Vassilev is a co-founder and artistic director of the guitar festival “Les journées internationales de la guitare à Sion” (www.sionguitare.ch). Since 2001, he teaches undergraduate and post-graduate guitar classes at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne (HEMU, University of Music (www.hemu.ch), Sion Site in Switzerland.