Bulgarian Choir

Private Choirs

Kate directs several small ensembles which integrate Balkan repertoire, Balkan vocal technique, and The Alexander Technique. These groups are comprised of serious and professional singers who receive individual work as well functioning as a performance ensemble. The emphasis of these ensembles are to develop greater ease in singing, intricate ornamentation and performance.


Kate has directed a Bulgarian choir for the California State Summer School for the Arts since 2001. Each year a new group of talented high school students come to study for four weeks in residence at CalArts. The choir performs at least twice during the summer program.


Kate Conklin was founder and director of the Bulgarian Vocal Ensemble at The California Institute of the Arts from 2006-2010. The ensemble gave a large annual performance each December as well as smaller engagements throughout the year. Comprised of graduate and undergraduate music students as well as students from the theater and other schools, each concert presented a unique theme and combination of singers and players. Integrating the artistic vision of the CalArts community, the ensemble explored modern arrangements and the re-contextualization of Bulgarian folk music featuring soloists, small ensembles, collaborations and guest artists.

About The Music

Ensembles perform the rich and complex polyphonic choral arrangements by composers Filip Kutev, Nikolai Kaufman, Krassimir Kyurkchiyski, Ivan Spassov and others. Individuals and groups receive specific instruction and repertoire from all regions of Bulgaria, as well as diaphonic songs from Macedonia and Turkey and all material from all over the Balkans. Pronunciation, musical and pedagogical issues such as asymmetrical meters, idiomatic ornamentation and regional dialects are addressed. Singers learn to appropriate highly specific vocal production, ensemble work and dynamics.

Kate has founded and directed Bulgarian ensembles for:

- California Institute of the Arts
- CSSSA Innerspark
- Community Arts Partnership
- The Oakwood School
- Private patrons

Past workshops have included:

Bulgarian Vocal Music Demonstration/Workshop
LA Music Academy

“Screaming on the Boat: An Aerialist's Guide to Ululation and Exclamation”
Cirque du Soleil's 'O', Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

“Ornamented Singing Styles: Turkey, Bulgaria and Macedonia”
California Institute of the Arts: Voice Forum

Bulgarian Music Lecture/Demonstrations
CSU San Marcos and CSU Fullerton