April 10, 2018 | Tuesday

Panel discussion regarding orchestra management and state funding effect in orchestras in Bulgaria, Canada and Kosovo

EUICC together with DAM Festival welcomed three professional panelists to be part of the opening event of this year’s edition of DAM Festival.

At the EUICC premises in Pristina, PhD Momchill Georgiev – Secretary General of the Association of Employees of Culture from Sofia / Bulgaria, Paul McEwen – Director of the “West Coast Symphony Orchestra” from Vancouver / Canada and Baki Jashari – Director of the Kosovo Philharmonic from Pristina joined together on 29 March, in a panel discussion regarding orchestra management and the impact of state funding in orchestras and philharmonic groups.


Moderated by Dardan Selimaj, the discussion pinpointed on different issues, considering that Bulgaria, Canada and Kosovo have different experiences in orchestras.

Georgiev started the discussion by analyzing the cultural scene in Bulgaria, stating that it’s very centralized and it is mainly Sofia, the capital city, where industries are focused and advancing. It was 1999 when orchestras were founded in Plovdiv, Varna, Rousse and other big cities in Bulgaria.

Mentioning that there is a culture of orchestras in Bulgaria, he pointed out the problems of the nowadays classical music life in Bulgaria.

“There are low salaries for musician members of the orchestras, and there is also low interest in instruments like trombone and oboe. The isolation of the artistic products is another problem, meaning that musicians are not touring inside of Bulgaria but rather leaving for other countries, so they cannot expand their scope of work within the state” adds Georgiev.


McEwen told the audience that West Coeast Symphony Orchestra asks for donations from the audience, so the latter can participate in financing a good orchestra. The orchestra system in Canada is different, and funds from the government and corporate donations find its way into the cultural life scene, especially within orchestra management.

“If you want money from the government or corporates, you need to be relevant. You need to show your quality and they need to see that you are relevant in your community. Overall, in Canada we expect money from the government and without that support we wouldn’t be where we stand” says McEwen.


Following the discussion, Baki Jashari from Kosovo Philharmonic stated problems in the orchestra sector in Kosovo. According to him, the pressure to give donations to classic music and initiatives in Kosovo should come from the lower structure, which means civil society and musicians themselves. As of salaries, they vary from 300-400 Euros, which is utterly low in comparison with the payment musicians from Bulgaria or Canada receive.

The panel discussion of more than an hour preceded the opening night of the DAM Festival. After the discussion, a small cocktail followed at the EUICC in Prishtina. This is not the first time EUICC collaborates with DAM Festival, to help the cultural life in Kosovo and make room for debates and panels. On the 3rd of April, the EU Information and Cultural Centre in cooperation with DAM Festival organized a masterclass with Gregory Charette, composer and conductor from the Netherlands, who presented the music of a renowned US musician and composer Philip Glass, in a retrospective illustration from Einstein to etudes.