Vocal ensemble Cantanti DAI MONTI VERDI was founded in 2017 by Severin Vasilev and specialises in the performance of early music, mainly from the XVI and XVII centuries, with a particular focus on the madrigal. The young singers of the ensemble have rich and varied experience as soloists, chamber musicians and choristers both at home and abroad. The ensemble regularly collaborates with eminent Bulgarian early music instrumentalists and experts.

Throughout the 2017/2018 concert season, supported by the National Culture Fund of Bulgaria, as well as the Danish embassy and the National Academy of Music in Sofia, the ensemble celebrated the 450 anniversary of the birth of Claudio Monteverdi with concert programmes and recordings of madrigals and motets by the eminent composer and his contemporaries.

In 2019, as part of the ppIANISSIMO festival, Cantanti DAI MONTI VERDI made their first foray in contemporary music by performing works by Japanese composers and premiering the madrigal Hakucho no uta by Somei Satoh /b. 1947/ commissioned for the ensemble by Severin Vasilev.

Following a lull in the ensemble’s activities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, Cantanti DAI MONTI VERDI experienced a ‘renaissance’ of their own returning to the stage reborn in a new line-up and at the same time retracing their roots in early music with two distinct programmes. The first revolved around the chromatic music of Carlo Gesualdo and Michelangelo Rossi presented at a concert in the Aula of the Sofia University on 23 May 2022, celebrating 80 years since the founding of Italian Philology at the university, while the second programme is devoted exclusively to the Oltremontani, the composers ‘from over the Alps’ of the Franco-Flemish School, focusing on Belgian-born Giaches de Wert, his colleagues, predecessors and successors. Concerts took place once more in the Aula of the Sofia University on 29 October and 8 November as part of the Sofia Baroque Arts Festival.

The year 2023 saw a flurry of activities, beginning with the Cantanti DAI MONTI VERDI hosting an international masterclass in early music ensemble conducting and singing led by internationally acclaimed countertenor and conductor Jean-Sébastien Beauvais. An event made possible with the support of the European Choral Association and the IGNITE programme, the Pancho Vladigerov House Museum in Sofia and the French Institute in Bulgaria. Having added French language chansons (with respective period pronunciation) to its repertoire, the ensemble concluded the season with concerts marking the centenary of French Studies at Sofia Univerity in collaboration with the university’s  Department of Romance Studies and Francophone Centre, a concert within the prestigious Sofia Music Weeks festival, as well as a workshop and a concert with world-renowned Belgian countertenor Marnix De Cat with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Bulgaria, the Belgium Bulgaria Luxembourg Business Club and Solvay Sodi, as part of the Belgian Days in Bulgaria.

In the second half of 2023, Cantanti DAI MONTI VERDI were invited by the Bulgarian National Radio to give a Christmas concert. With the title De este a oeste (‘From East to West’) the ensemble encompassed a wide-ranging repertoire, adding for the first time Spanish villancicos and early Orthodox polyphony to its core repertoire of Franco-Flemish madrigals, canzonettas and chansons. The concert was selected as part of Euroradio Christmas Music Day and was broadcast on 17 December to listeners in Europe, North America and Australia.

Finally, the fruitful collaboration with the Belgian Embassy saw its continuation and culmination in a gala concert in early January 2024, celebrating the opening of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union for a select audience of diplomats, state dignitaries, media and musicians. In this concert, the ensemble had the pleasure to share the stage and be accompanied by renowned Belgian lutenist Jurgen De bruyn. The event was made possible with the generous financial support of the Sofia Municipality and the Sofia Culture Programme.  Before going on a short and well-earned mid-season break, the ensemble recorded some of the repertoire.

Cantanti DAI MONTI VERDI now look forward to the rest of 2024 and to revisiting French repertoire in upcoming concerts in the spring and early summer, as well as a wholly new German direction come autumn, alongside their continued exploration of the music of the Oltremontani.

‘Their balance subtly fuses a sparingly used vibrato, flexible singing of the counterpoint, skilful and varied agogics, and poetically sculpted phrasing with a stylistically precise ending that fades into silence.’ – (Ekaterina Docheva, DECRESCENDO, 29.05.2022)