Elitsa Desseva

Elitsa Desseva

Pianist & Collaborative Artist

“When I play, you are the co-autor. You listen to the music, but in fact you are hearing your own voice, feelings and experiences. You are the protagonist and I am the mediator between the dream world and reality.“


Recognised for the intensity and originality of her interpretations, Elitsa Desseva ranks among the most promising and sought after musicians of her generation.

She is the first bulgarian pianist to win the "Wigmore Hall/Independant Opera Song Competition" in London, the Hugo Wolf Academys "International Competition for Art-Song" in Stuttgart, the "International Chamber Music Competition Franz Schubert and Modern Music" in Graz, in a duo with Mikhail Timoshenko, bass-baritone and the "International Lied-Duo Competition" in Groningen and the "International Karl-Adler Music Competition" in Stuttgart, in a duo with Polina Artsis, mezzo-soprano. The Duo Timoshenko-Desseva has also received the Second Prize and the Audience Prize at the "International Schubert Lied-Duo Competition" in Dortmund, the Nordfriesischen Liedpreis, the Freundeskreis-Liedpreis and the Audience Award at the "Liedkunst Meisterklass" in Husum and the Third Prize and the Yamaha Audience Prize at the "International Chamber Music Competition" in Lyon. Elitsa Desseva was awarded the Bela Bartok Prize at the 19th International Piano Competition "Ille de France" in Paris as well as the First Prize at the 6th Piano Competition "Liszt-Bartok" in Sofia. She is an Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now Artist and a four-time recipient of a Deutschland Stipendium.

Being the first musician in her family, she started to play the piano at the age of six in her native Sofia and made her orchestral debut at the age of ten with the Sofia Sinfonietta Orchestra. Elitsa Desseva has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and Lied-accompanist in Musikverein (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Konzerthaus (Berlin), Stefaniensaal (Graz), Liszt Ferenc Hall (Budapest), Bulgaria Hall (Sofia) and has recorded for Dutch Radio, Südtirol Radio and Bulgarian National Radio.

On her way, Elitsa found inspiration, wisdom and a teacher in a lot of acclaimed musicians such as Piotr Anderszewski, Dalton Baldwin, Brigitte Fassbaender, Susan Manoff, Graham Johnson, Helmut Deutsch, Anne le Bozec, Nataliya Trull, Véronique Gens. After finishing her Master’s Degree in piano performance and chamber music with Balazs Szokolay and Thomas Steinhöfel at the University of Music Franz Liszt in Weimar, her curious nature and passion for the art-song led her to Vienna. Currently she is finishing her Master’s in song accompaniment under the tutelege of Charles Spencer at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts.

This season Elitsa is invited to perform at Academy Orsay-Royaumont, Heidelberger Frühling Festival and Wigmore Hall Lunchtime Concerts. She takes part in several fundraising events in Russia organised by the non-profit organisation "Touch". Through those concerts, Elitsa wants to rise money for the Diaconal Center in Orenbung and other boarding-schools for mentally handicapped children.

Elitsa Desseva
“I am constantly turning life into music“
Brigitte Fassbaender, mezzo-soprano opera singer and a stage director

“Eine Bombenbegabung! Sowas habe ich lange nicht gehört!”

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