With a broad activity as a conductor, violinist and teacher, Nikolay Lalov stands out for his large experience in his different fields of activity. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Lalov began his studies on the violin at six years old, graduating at the National Music School “L. Pipkov” with a gold medal for his very high performance throughout his academic path. He later graduated from the National Academy of Bulgaria as a violinist, followed by a course in Conducting.
During this period he worked with one of the most prominent Bulgarian violinists of all time and student of the legendary David Oistrakh, the winner of the Queen Elizabeth Competition Prof. Stoilka Milanova. Lalov participated in several master classes with musicians such as Janos Starker (chamber music), Ifra Nyman (violin) and Dimo Dimov (Bulgarian Quartet), among others. As a conductor, he studied with the great pedagogue and conductor Lilia Giuleva. Demonstrating notable teaching qualities, he became the youngest violin teacher at the most prestigious music school in Bulgaria,the same he attended years earlier, “L. Pipkov”. Thus from the very beginning of his artistic career he showed versatility as a solo violinist, conductor and teacher.
Lalov’s organizational skills and enthusiasm impelled him to start orchestras and ensembles both in Bulgaria and Portugal, to where he moved with his family in 1989 when he was 29. The Orchestra of Music Teachers (1987-88) in Sofia, the Ensemble Concertino (1992), the Youth Orchestra of the City of Évora (1992) and finally the Cascais and Oeiras Chamber Orchestra (1996) are the fruits of his constant effort to create pioneering cultural infrastructures in both countries. He participated in the foundation of the first professional school of music in Portugal in Évora, and performed with the Cascais Chamber Orchestra at the General Assembly of European Festivals (Estoril 1998). He also represented Portugal at EXPO 2000 Hannover with the Youth Orchestra of the City of Évora. The Cascais and Oeiras Chamber Orchestra quickly became a project of great cultural impact under his direction: concerts in Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria and the participation in national and international festivals are the proof of the orchestra’s high standards.
Lalov is a true ambassador of music and culture, investing within his activity on the musical exchange between different European cultures. His effort towards presenting unknown works and composers, and to promote a cultural dialogue between countries brought new works to Portugal. Through his work across the globe, he introduced music from Bulgaria and Portugal to the world. He organized the first Portuguese Cultural Week in Sofia in 1994, promoting visits by artists from both countries and exchanges between Sofia and Évora music schools.
As a violinist, Lalov recorded for the Bulgarian National Radio and the Portuguese National Radio. He has played in many European countries and has conducted orchestras such as the New Portuguese Philharmonic, the Bulgarian National Orchestra, the Roma Symphony Orchestra, the Greek State Orchestra, the Regional Orchestra of Bari, the London Chamber Orchestra, the New Mexico University Orchestra, the Ensemble of Contemporary Music (Germany) and the Chamber Orchestra of Florence, among others.
Lalov still works with young musicians and is regularly invited to conduct master classes of chamber music and violin. He is a great supporter of young artists at the beginning of their career and among his students there are winners of prestigious competitions. He is a regular jury member on national competitions in Portugal and Bulgaria. Together with his wife Stela Lalova, he is the author of the first children’s opera composed in Portugal, “A Magic Dream”.
Lalov has been awarded the Medal of Cultural Merit (2003, Oeiras – Portugal) and the Diploma of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria (2003). In 2004 he was awarded with academic title from Valencia Academy of Music. In 2009 he was awarded the title “Professional of the Year” by the Rotary Club – Portugal.