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 Lea Koen

Lea Koen

Nationality: Bulgarian

Lea Cohen was born in Sofia in the family of lawyers. Notwithstanding her parents' wish that she study the law, she has dedicated herself to music and has graduated from a masters' class, MA, in piano playing and musicology from the Bulgarian State Conservatoire in Sofia. Then, in the course of four years, she continued to study History of Music at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands, getting a doctor's degree. In the 1976-1989 period she was in succession editor of the Balgarska muzika [Bulgarian Music] journal, lecturer at the Higher Institute of Music in the city of Plovdiv, musicologist, and then also Director of the Sofia Philharmonic, head repertory director and executive director of the Sofia Music Weeks Music Festival. Over this period she wrote five books on music, chiefly dealing with the music vanguard of the early 20th century, among which monographic pieces about Paul Hindemith and Lyubomir Pipkov, whereby one of the books was banned, and another one - suspended. She is the author of hundreds of articles in the sphere of culture, policy and art; of scores of radio and TV broadcasts. When she could no longer publish her books, she reverted to translation: she translated French essays, drama and fiction. Among the authors she translated are Debussy and Satie (the critical heritage), as well as Meterlinck among others. In the wake of the changes of 1989 she has turned back to writing. In 1999 she completed her first play Bitter Cherries, produced in 2000 at the Apollonia Festival. She has worked as: Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union (1991-1993)and NATO (1993-1996); Advisor and Ambassador with special assignments in the cabinet of the minister of foreign affairs (March-September 1997); Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein (November 1997 - July 2001). Since 2002 she has been heading the Ardente Agency of Cultural Exchange.