The prominent Bulgarian pianist, Anton Dikov, grew up in an old family of musicians. His grandmother was among the inaugurators of the Plovdiv Opera House. His mother was a professional pianist, too, who graduated in Munich and with a degree from Vienna. His talent shone at 15. Later he graduated the Sofia music academy in the class of Professor Lyuba Encheva, then specialized in France with famous Nadya Boulanger, Arthur Rubinstein and Robert Casadesus. He was first discovered abroad. At the age of 18, in 1956, he became laureate at the international “Franz Liszt” contest, to be followed by Bach-1960, Rio de Janeiro-1962, and Marguerite Long-1963 to start with..
Anton Dikov has performed as soloist with all Bulgarian orchestras. As to the foreign orchestras he has worked with - he wasn’t able to remember them all without resorting to his rich personal archives. He has interpreted some of the best-loved concertos for piano and orchestra and his repertoire was a symbol of the efforts for our becoming part of an old and great world tradition. Anton Dikov had his record-high achievements. He has performed L.v. Beethoven’s 5th concerto over 300 times with different orchestras. With the 3rd and 4th, he has appeared on stage more than 60 times. His Integral of L.v. Beethoven’s piano concertos is selling all over the world. One more Integral adds up to his world fame - in 1973 Balkanton and Harmonia Mundi released all works for piano and orchestra by Béla Bartók, which Dikov performs with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the great Dimitar Manolov. In the jubilee edition for Bartok’s 100th anniversary in 1981 the French Diapason Magazine wrote: “The Bulgarian integral is an example of how performers of the highest class can render Bartok’s music in a virtuoso style. Especially so with the performance of soloist Anton Dikov.”
Anton Dikov has performed a great many pieces by Bulgarian composers, as well as less popular works by modern classics. Among his favorites is the Second Concerto by Vesselin Stoyanov. According to Dikov that concerto “is as good as any of the masterpieces of famous Pancho Vladigerov. There are however three composers who have never left me”, he further explains. “These are Bach, Beethoven and Bartok. I also greatly enjoy performing Pancho Vladigerov, for whom one needs a very special kind of piano culture.”
Being an exceptional interpreter, acknowledged as one of the world’s music elite, Anton Dikov has performed in the world’s most famous concert halls. As of 1974 he was a professor at the national music academy in Sofia named after Pancho Vladigerov. He has conducted regular master-classes in Korea and has taught in France and Japan. He has been member of the jury at some of the most prominent piano contests of the world like Chopin in Warsaw, Liszt-Bartok in Budapest, Marguerite Long in Paris, Tchaikovski in Moscow, L.v. Beethoven in Vienna and Pancho Vladigerov in Shumen. “I think that music continues to be studied as it was in the 19th century”, Anton Dikov goes on to say. “Our clavier education system is not bad at all. It is based on the best of the Russian, French and German schools of music. I believe that the piano is the most difficult, the most significant and most complex instrument after the orchestra. It requires, besides the very active implementation of one’s talent, also the exploitation of the entire intellectual potential of the performer. The development of a school of music is connected with the tradition of a country. We, too, have contributed to this world tradition. It may not be much, but we have! Keeping in mind that in the years of the Late Period of Brahms, we, Bulgarians, were emerging from 5 centuries of Ottoman domination and the predominant part of the population had no concern about world civilization and its values, we have greatly evolved. The foundations of professional music-making were laid within two generations only – immediately after the country’s liberation. These two generations imbibed European values and returned to spread them home – just like my music teacher at the academy Professor Lyuba Encheva.”
Professionalism and love of music - that is what Anton Dikov taught his students in his turn. Recognition in our sphere of art comes in one’s ripe age - the Maestro used to say. You need tons of optimism and courage, but it is well worth devoting your life to music, Anton Dikov believed. Prominent Bulgarian pianist Professor Anton Dikov died in a car accident on October 16, 2004.