Ivan Varimezov Bio
Adjunct Associate Professor
Music of the Balkans ensemble
Ivan Varimezov was born in Bulgaria and received a B.A. degree in folk instrument performance and ensemble conducting from the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv. Raised in the traditions of his native region of Strandzha, he is one of the most outstanding gaida (bagpipe) players of his generation, and he has many solo recordings and awards to his name. During the 1980s he was the director of the instrumental ensemble of a regional professional ensemble of folk song and dance in the town of Pazardzhik. During the 1990s he moved to Sofia to become the soloist with the orchestra of folk instruments at Radio and Television Sofia, a position occupied for twenty-five years by his famous uncle, Kostadin Varimezov. He came to the U.S. in 2001 to teach at UCLA.
During the last six years, Ivan and and Tzvetanka Varimezovi have organized many concerts in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities. In the summer of 2005, Ivan and Tzvetanka organized the first international tour for the UCLA Balkan Ensemble, which included concerts throughout Bulgaria and a performance in the International Folk Festival in Bourgas.