Nickolai Kolarov

From: Sofia, Bulgaria  Current City: St. Paul, MN
"When Americans know about different cultures, they will have a new perspective of their own culture. That’s the beauty of a country that is combined of so many different cultures."
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Throughout his life, Nickolai Kolarov has devoted much of his time sharing his love for Balkan chamber and folk music. After immigrating to the United States, he views himself as an ambassador to Balkan culture.

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Mr. Kolarov developed a love for music at an early age. As a cellist with the Bulgarian Youth Orchestra, he performed in venues around the world including the UN and the National Palace of Culture, Bulgaria’s largest performance hall.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nickolai looked for better educational and economic opportunities abroad. He was offered a scholarship to the University of Missouri, Kansas City to complete a master’s degree and temporarily left his wife and infant daughter to pursue his dream. Four years later, he was reunited with his family and, they moved to Minnesota where Nickolai completed a doctorate in cello performance.

Mr. Kolarov is the artistic director for Balkanicus—a contemporary Balkan chamber music ensemble. He has received countless awards, including four grants from the Minnesota Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.  Additionally, he taught music at the University of St. Thomas and has given lectures at several institutions, including the University of Iowa and the Julliard School. He continues to conduct, teach, and perform across the country.

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