The Bulgarian composer, Nikolai Badinski, began violin lessons at the age of five. His attempts at composition also date from an early age (including an opera in which the orchestra consists of violins and percussion). He completed the Academy of Music, Sofia in 1961. From 1962 until 1976 he lived in East-Berlin, where he attended Master-class for Composition at the Academy of Arts (1967-1970). He also Also Master-classes at the Accademia Musicale, Siena, Italy in 1975 and 1976. Badinski founded and directed the Chamber Ensemble „G.F.Haendel“ and a String Quartet in East Germany and worked as composer, docent, soloist, concertmaster, special advisor for musical education.
In 1976 Nikolai Badinski escaped to the West. Participated actively in the Darmstadt International Courses for New Music (working with Ligeti, Halffter, Stockhausen, Xenakis and Mauricio Kagel) also giving lectures and several of his compositions were performed there. He has been guest professor at the Universities of Stockholm and Copenhagen , and lectured in several European countries, also visiting professor in Stanford University, USA . For many years he has worked intensively with various groups, seeking new ways to activate music listeners. He is a member of International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) German Section, German Composer's Union, International Haendel Society, International Richard Wagner Union and since 1983 Member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (Paris). Performances of his works and composer portraits of him had been broadcasts throughout Europe, the USA and Asia . Some of his works have been performed by ensembles such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Berlin, SWF Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden, Adritti String Quartet London, Philharmonic Octet Berlin, Ensemble of the Dresden Staatskapelle, Choir of Radio France, Nederland Vocaal Ensemble in Hilversum, Camerata Academica Salzburg. He is author of articles, chiefly in contemporary music.
Nikolai Badinski uses a richly varied palette of compositional devices in his music, without associating himself with any particular school, method or trend in composition. Among others in his works he stylises or changes ( verfremdet) elements or micro-elements from Bulgarian and other Balkan folk music from various historical strata. He sees in every folk music a rich source for research and inspiration. The composer's musical aesthetics and creative work - above 140 works - also embraces new sound possibilities and their apperception, as seen for example, in his electroacoustic work H 2 O (Water) Music. Among his compositions are ballets, three violin concertos, Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Concerto for Harpsichord Omaggio a Bach, Klavieriada - Concerto for Piano and Piano-orchestra, First Amekdil (Symphony) with Soprano, Second Amekdil (Symphony) AaAaN, Reflections of the Wisdom for Soprano, Baritone, Choir and Orcheestra., The Intoxicated Bat, Seven Memorial Stones (Requiem), Homage to Stravinsky for Strings, and further music for orchestra, Meditations on Words and Songs of Solomon, Imaginary Relation to the Saga of Orpheus, The Ruins under Sofia - Octet, Silenzio Disturbato - Sextet, three String Quartets, Wind Quintet and other chamber music for different groups as well as for solo instruments, the “Album for Organists (and…)” – Mannigfaltigkeiten (Diversities) , the Decipio series, Choral-Cycles Martialphonien for 12 Voices (Martialis) and Le Bestiaire ou Cortège d'Orphée (Apollinaire), vocal, electroacoustic - Rotation ( “In Memory of a Cosmonaut”), Homage to Kafka, Dostoevsky Reflections, Phoenixe, Sevtopolis - and experimental music.
Honours and prizes include First Place at the 28th International Competition for Composition, Viotti, Italy 1977, at the International Competition for Composers, Stockhausen, Italy 1978 and at the 29th International Competition for Composers, Viotti, Italy 1978, International Trieste Prize for Symphonique Music, Italy 1979, and Prix du Rome (Villa Massimo) 1979/1980, Prix de Paris 1982; invitations from the Electr. Studio Utrecht/NL (1983 and 1984). In 1985/1986 invitation from the French government (scholarship) to Paris. Composer-in-Residence at the Djerassi Foundation, California in 1987. In 1997 he was selected from “The International Board of Research in The American Biographical Institute” for “Man of the Year”.
Prominent personalities of the international music life value his music. György Ligeti characterizes it as “very refined, very highly rated in its quality.” The ‘musical Pope' H.H. Stuckenschmidt praised in the ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung' the “unmistakable personal language” of his music and wrote : “one is captivated until the end” . The notable musicologist, Carl Dahlhaus, has written that “Badinski combines a well- founded and many-sided musical education with an acute sense for contemporary tendencies; there is a balance between the inclination towards the experimental and an aesthetic conscience dedicated to structural unity.”
Painters in several countries - for instance J.C. Friedrich, Enzo Santini, I. Pavlov - have painted pictures based of his music. Art-films were created presenting the composer and his music (for example, TV of SWF Baden-Baden, Germany). Numerous CD’s (and LP’s) appear with his music.