How did you come to play the trumpet?

I chose the trumpet because I subconsciously really liked the sound. While watching cartoons like Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes (the old classics with real orchestras playing on the soundtracks), I was fascinated by the music and loved the trumpet sound. I was 11 when I decided to pick it up.

Miroslav PetkovMiroslav Petkov. Photo courtesy of Southern Cross Soloists

Who were your biggest musical influences as a young musician?

I was lucky as a kid to be the youngest in a very active musical environment, so I was influenced by older musicians who were very actively exploring music. I was exposed to a lot of genres and learnt to listen to the music. I was able to constantly improvise and play with the local musicians in my city since a young age.

Were there any recordings or live performances that particularly inspired you?

Before and during playing trumpet as a kid, I listened to a lot of Queen. But I also listened to a lot of folklore and classical music. I had a few cassettes of Maurice André and Timofei Dokschitzer, who were the biggest trumpet inspirations for me.

How important were competitions for you in building a career?

Competitions were an important part of my life, I took part in them from an early age. They helped me to learn how to be professional and to get to know myself as a performer. I believe in competitions to compete against oneself – putting art in First, Second, Third place can be dangerous, especially for young artists.

You joined the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2016 – what have been the highlights of your career with the orchestra so far?

One of the moments I won’t forget is my first week with the orchestra, where I played Petrushka for the first time live on TV. Other highlights for me are always playing under the Maestros Haitink or Gergiev and the late Maestro Jansons. I am lucky to have been able to have recorded some great works with the orchestra.

I understand you also play folk music – what do you enjoy about performing in that style?

Folk music is deeply connected with me, because it resonates with where I come from [Bulgaria] and who I am. Now I enjoy playing it with people with different backgrounds and incorporating it in new styles, for example with electronica and jazz.

You’re playing Vivaldi, Rachmaninov and Méndez with Southern Cross Soloists – what’s special about this program?

The interesting thing about the program we prepared is that most of it is not written for the trumpet. We like to show some new colours that the trumpet can paint with this program.

You’re also playing Stravinsky’s Petrushka with Southern Cross Soloists – what are the challenges and pleasures of the trumpet part in this music?

The challenge is to forget about the trumpet and make it sound really easy and playful. That is also the pleasure! It’s great music.

Miroslav Petkov performs with Southern Cross Soloists in The Trumpet Unleashed at QPAC on February 23