31 Mar 2018

Academician Nikolai Kaufman Has Died

Nikolai Kaufman (b. 23 September 1925 – d. 26 March 2018) was a figure in folk music studies whose contribution is impossible to sum up in a few words. His career of a researcher began and developed for a long time at the Institute of Music (1952–1989), now Department of Music, Institute of Art Studies, BAS. He joined the Department of Folk Music immediately after it was founded to be at the helm of the department’s in the period 1966–1989.
His work of a recorder on a grand scale and his strong affinity for music-cantered fieldwork, his brilliant ear for music, his unrestrained aspiration for covering the whole gamut of the folk music of both the Bulgarians and the various ethnic groups in this country, he was perhaps the best expert in traditional music in Bulgaria. He has contributed a great deal to recording and publishing both country and urban folk music. The Music Folk Archives of IAS keeps just part of his recordings and score sheets and the published collections of Bulgarian folk songs form various parts of Bulgaria such as the Rhodopes or Bulgaria’s southwest, urban folk songs or songs of the Bulgarian communities in Moldova, Ukraine and Banat.
He delved deep in previously less researched fields of Bulgarian folk studies found in his monographs Bulgarian Polyphonic Folk Song (1968), Some Common Traits of the Songs of the Bulgarians and the East Slavs  (1968), Bulgarian Wedding Songs (1976), Funeral Songs in Bulgaria (1988), Bulgarian Folk Songs about Farm Work (2003). A recorder, researcher, active and authoritative participant in the social activities in all fields of the contemporary existence of folk music, a prolific author of arrangements and a composer, a teacher of long standing, Nikolai Kaufman combined all theses in him, shaping and embodying the social idea of the mission and tasks of a Bulgarian folklorist.
May he rest in Peace!
Department of Music, IAS