Professor Atanas Kourtev, MusD grew up in a family of rich musical traditions. He began his university education in “Pancho Vladigerov State Academy of Music” in Sofia, graduated at Conservatoire in St. Petersburg “N. Rimski-Korsakov” (1969, Pavel Serebryakov class) and Brussels Conservatoire “Queen Elizabeth” (1973, Eduardo del Pueyo class). Specialize in Hungary at George Sebok and Pal Kadosha class and in France at Ivonne Lefebure class.
For his artistic contribution the pianist has been awarded with national and international awards, the Crystal Lyre of the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers, the Golden Muse prize for the promotion of Russian art, the Golden Quill, Honorary Medal of the Hungarian Ministry of Culture, the Merits to Polish Culture order.
He took his doctors degree and defended a dissertation on the interpretation in Scriabin’s piano works (1977). He is an associate professor at “Pancho Vladigerov State Academy of Music” in Sofia from 1989, Professor of Piano from 1993. He has read lectures in Styles of Piano Interpretation at “Konstantin Preslavski” University in Shumen, Bulgaria.
Kourtev’s concert activities cover 17 countries in Europe, Middle East and Japan, with over 800 stage appearances both at home and abroad, including the Grand Hall of the Berliner Philharmoniker. He has released 3 Lp’s, 3 Cd’s and has recorded over 70 works for the Bulgarian National Radio and 7 recital programs for the Bulgarian National Television, including more than 20 first performances as well as recordings for other countries.
Among multitude of piano recital programs, the pianist has made over 30 completely different monographic mono-style programs ranging from Beethoven and Schubert to Scriabin and Bartok (played on stage form 1975 to 2002) and the concert cycle “The piano fantasia throughout the Centuries”, including piano fantasias by 27 composers (1986).
Parallel with his artistic performances Atanas Kourtev is attended to musical enlightening, research-work and textological editing. He is the initiator of “Musical society of Fr.Chopin in Bulgaria”, co-founder of “Fr. Schubert”, “R. Wagner” and “For French Music”. He has taken part in juries of more than 10 national and 5 international piano competitions. He has held numerous master classes in Bulgaria and 7 European countries.
Prof. Kourtev’s piano class at the State Academy of Music in Sofia has given over 67 completely different monographic concerts – from pre-classical to modern music, among which is the performance of Scriabin’s complete piano works in ten concerts and series of piano genre integrals.
Many students of his class have won as many as 70 awards at home and abroad. Some enjoy successful concert and teaching careers in 12 countries in four continents. Among them are Georgi Cherkin, Petar Petrov, Rostislav Yovchev, Martin Bachvarov, Jordan Goshev, Yavor Konov, Radoslav Nikolov, Svetoslav Lazarov, Andrei Angelov, Georgi Gadjev, Hristo Rachev, Aleksander Lialios, Elena Velcheva, Snejana Simeonova, Galina Vracheva, Evgeniq Simeonova, Svetlana Koicheva, Elena Nemtsova, Bogomila Nyagolova, Marina Savova, Emiliya Tasheva, Tsvetana Rangelova, Georgiya Petrova, Nona Krincheva and others.
On the initiative and idea of Prof. Kourtev 6 periodically held competitions for young pianists with international appearance have been established in Bulgaria since 1981: “Fr.Chopin” (Varna), “Fr. Schubert” (Ruse), “Viennese classic” (St.Zagora), “List-Bartok” (Sofia), “Russian music” (Pleven), “Schuman-Brams” (Plovdiv) and other competitions for pianists.