BassoonValentin Martchev


Valentin Martchev was born in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, and started playing the bassoon at age ten. He went to the State Academy of Music in Sofia and Duquesne University, studying with Yordan Metodiev, Tony Komitoff and Nancy Goeres. During his student years in the states he attended the Aspen, Tanglewood, Music Academy of the West and Marlboro Music Festivals. Mr. Martchev was a tenured member of the Bulgarian State Radio Orchestra and the Charlottesville Symphony in Virginia, where he was also on the university faculty.

In 2001 Mr. Martchev joined the San Diego Symphony Orchestra as their principal bassoonist. U-T San Diego said his 2007 performance of John Williams’ bassoon concerto Five Sacred Trees“….made this bassoonist a star.” He has performed multiple times with the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, the Mainly Mozart Festival and La Jolla SummerFest. In 2008 he was Guest Principal Bassoon with the LA Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen, and in 2010 he was Guest Associate Principal Bassoon with the Cincinnati Symphony under Paavo Järvi. He has performed chamber music concerts at SDSU, Riverside Community College, Lake Mammoth and at UCSD, and he has participated in music series such as Jacaranda, Art of Élan, Luscious Noise and Le Salon de Musique. He is on the faculty of Cal State Fullerton and San Diego State University. 

Valentin Martchev plays on a 1985 Heckel Biebrich. He was recently profiled in the San Diego Union-Tribune


Q: How did you choose your instrument? 

A: When I was a young boy in Bulgaria, I was studying accordion. One day, my accordion teacher ran into my bassoon teacher on the street and was told they were looking for a new student for the bassoon studio. My accordion teacher thought I might be perfect for the bassoon, and I switched over – it was fate! 

Q: What is your favorite travel destination? 

A: Hawaii

Q: What are some favorite composers and/or musical periods? 

A: Mozart, Mahler, and Strauss

Q: What good book have you read most recently? 

A: Pod Igoto by Ivan Vazov

Q: What is your favorite San Diego Symphony Orchestra memory? 

A: My favorite SD Symphony memory was playing John Williams' bassoon concerto in 2007 and the next night playing a program of his music under his baton. It was a very inspiring weekend! 

Q: The San Diego Symphony Orchestra is essential to San Diego because...? 

A: Because the symphony brings culture to the community, and adds a dimension of enrichment to people's lives.