Razgrad, in north-eastern Bulgaria, close to the border with Romania, is the birthplace of the pianist and composer Dimiter Nenov (1902-53). The house, in a quiet, tree-lined street, where he lived with his parents and sisters until he was seven, was opened to the public as a municipal museum 40 years after his death. Collecting had begun in 1980, and the museum holds and exhibits documents and objects directly related to Nenov; there is a longer-term intention also to collect and interpret the wider history of music in Razgrad.

NENOV MUSEUM Photo Gallery

Nenov studied in Dresden to be an architect as well as a musician, but abandoned architecture in 1931 after a period of work in Sofia in the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport, designing railway stations. Following further musical studies in Zakopane and Bologna, he took up a post at the Sofia Music Academy, where in 1943 he became professor of piano; after his death the academy concert hall was named after him. Architecture continued to play a role in his compositions, for which he also gathered inspiration from the music of Skryabin and Bulgarian folk music.

Visitors to the museum can at present see three rooms: the room in which he was born – now almost a shrine – is simply furnished with bronze casts of his hands, his mother’s upright piano and a quotation from his memoirs in bronze lettering. The museum owns his manuscript autobiography along with his music (manuscript and printed), his concert clothes and furniture he designed. These are displayed in the adjoining room, along with photographs, his architectural designs, correspondence and music and books from his library. Across the foyer is a room seating 30 which is sometimes used for chamber concerts; the house is surrounded by a lovingly tended garden. Every two years Razgrad plays host to a national piano competition in Nenov’s honour.

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