The history of the Varna Philharmonic Orchestra began in 1913, when an amateur symphony orchestra was founded. The cast participated in the First Summer Musical Celebrations in Varna in 1926 under the conductorship of Asen Naydenov.
In 1946 the creation of the Varna State Symphony Orchestra was initiated by conductor and violinist Prof. Sasha Popov, which in 1968 became a State Philharmonic Orchestra. In the first years of its development its artistic managers were conductors Ruslan Raychev, Vasil Stefanov, Yosko Yosifov and Konstantin Iliev consecutively. Conductors Emil Glavandkov, Ivan Marinov and Yordan Dafov contributed greatly to the professional growth of the ensemble.
The Orchestra has a rich repertoire of symphonic music, cantata and oratorio works by different composers, as well as many works created by different generations of Bulgarian composers. The events held by the Orchestra are associated with the names of a number of famous instrumentalists – Ifra Nieman, Leonid Kogan, David Eustrah, Alexis Weissenberg, Pablo Kazalz, Yuri Bukov, Ruggiero Ricci, Victor Tretyakov, Yanos Starker, Mikhail Pletnyov, Vera Gornostaeva, Mincho Minchev, Vanya Milanova, Georgi Badev and many others.
Traditionally the Orchestra takes part in the opening ceremony of the Varna Summer International Music Festival. The Symphony Orchestra has participated in all prestigious Bulgarian festivals and has guest-performed in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Russia, France, Austria, Spain and Italy.
It has had numerous recordings with the Bulgarian National Radio and the Bulgarian National Television.
The Mixed Choir was formed simultaneously with the creation of the Varna Opera in 1947.
The first choirmasters were Dimitar Mladenov and Yakim Popiliev. Later, conductors Petko Mechkov, Nikola Bochev, Krastan Misirkov, Elena Pushkova and Lyubomira Aleksandrova, and Sunay Muratov worked with the ensemble.
Along with opera performances, the Choir of the Varna Opera and Philharmonic Society participates in operettas, musicals and musical spectacles for children. The cantata and oratorio genre is also part of its repertoire. After Malina Hubcheva (1998 – 2013), conductor of the choir has been Stefan Boyadzhiev.
The Varna Ballet was established simultaneously with the creation of the Varna Opera.
The first ballet master was Asen Manolov. Other ballet masters who worked with the ballet troupe are Zhivko Biserov, Penka Stoycheva, Anastas Petrov and others.
Galina Yordanova and Stefan Yordanov, who worked with the troupe from 1960 to 1985, significantly contributed to the development of the Varna Ballet. Besides the regular participations in opera, operetta and musical spectacles for children, the ballet troupe has had independent ballet productions.
The ones which stand out are Raymonda by A. Glazunov, Romeo and Juliet by S. Prokofiev, The Nutcracker by P. I. Tchaikovsky, Spartacus and Cipollino by A Khachaturian, Giselle and Le Corsaire by A. Adam, La fille mal gardee by P. Hertel, Coppelia by L. Delibes, Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov,
A csodalatos mandarin by L. Bartok, El amor brujo by Manuel de Falla, Les Sylphides by F. Chopin, Bolero by M. Ravel, La boheme bi G. Puccini, The Wall by R. Waters and Doctor Zhivago by K. Volkov.
The most famous Bulgarian ballet artists and choreographers have worked with the ballet troupe of the Varna Opera – Asen Gavrilov, Kalina Bogoeva, Margarita Arnaudova, Zhelka Tabakova, Boryana Sechanova, Konstantin Uralski and Prof. Petar Lukanov, as well as ballet masters from abroad – Renato Greco, Tarek Assam, Konstantin Uralski and Servey Bobrov.
The ballet troupe of the Varna Opera has had independent events and participations in opera spectacles in Greece, Russia, India, Egypt, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Finland and Abu Dhabi. Ekaterina Cheshmedzheva has been the artistic manager of the ballet troupe for the period 1999-2014.
Since 2014 Svetlana Tonsheva is an artistic manager of the ballet troupe; the repetior of the troupe is Gergana Karaatanasova.
Svetlana Tonsheva - Artistic Manager
Gergana Karaivanova - Repetitor
Iliana Bozhkova - Ballet dancer
Galina Velcheva - Ballet dancer
Galina Velikova - Ballet dancer
Eugenia Minkova - Ballet dancer
Iliana Slavova - Ballet dancer
Sandra Dotova - Ballet dancer
Lilyana Georgieva - Ballet dancer
Vesselina Ivanova - Ballet dancer
Renetta Mihailov - Ballet dancer
Sylvia Hristova - Ballet dancer
Anna Andreeva - Ballet dancer
Adelina Boyadjieva - Ballet dancer
Elena Dimitrova - Ballet dancer
Mona Hristova - Ballet dancer
Denko Ivanov - Ballet dancer
Rumen Stefanov - Ballet dancer
Nikolay Yordanov - Ballet dancer
Pavel Kirchev - Ballet dancer
Martin Chikalov - Ballet dancer
Salvatore Lauda - Ballet dancer
Daniel Hristov - Ballet dancer
Owen Matisse - Ballet dancer