Aleksandr Sasho Iliev Eppler kaval maker Александър Еплер-майстор на кавали

Home Background part 1 Background Part 2 Photographs Part 1 Photographs Part 2 Photographs Part 3 Photographs Part 4 Photographs, 5 Photographs, 6 Links Button

11. Bulgarian instruments
12. Contact

Background on Aleksandr Eppler (part 2)

Aleksandr Iliev Eppler is the only performer of the Bulgarian kaval to play exclusively on the larger, lower-pitched instrument in C, instead of the usual D kaval. He preferred the C kaval because of its greater depth of tone and richness of timbre compared to that of the kaval in D. It should be noted that the higher-pitched D kaval was almost unknown in Thrace before the Soviet arrival in 1944 («9th of September») and the ensuing proliferation of state ensembles.  The C kaval was the highest-pitched instrument in use before that time, so that its use by Aleksandr Eppler was a natural, but highly individual decision reflecting his deep love of the old Thracian folklore repertoire. He abandoned the D kaval in his first year in the conservatory for the C kaval, playing everything in transposition, reverting to the D kaval only in certain orchestral or small group settings. All of his concerts since 1971 have been exclusively on the C kaval.

During the past four decades Aleksandr Eppler has devoted his time and talents to the radical re-thinking, redesign, and reconstruction of the Bulgarian Thracian kaval. As a virtuoso performer and exponent of Thracian folklore on the Bulgarian kaval, as well as a professional flutemaker, he is in a unique position to approach the instrument's design with a blank slate: keeping all the active, necessary elements of the kaval's character and tone, but greatly improving scale, response, and range.

Wedding style kavals. Бай Слави Иванов (Тонев), майстор на кавали и гайда и Еплер, кавалджия. с. Камено, Бургаски окръг. 1971 г.
Aleksandr Eppler receiving his first «wedding style» kavals (decorated with pewter («kalai») inlay)
from the renowned Thracian kaval maker, Slavi Ivanov (Tonev),
in the village of Kameno, Bourgas District, Bulgaria. 1971

Slavanov's workshop. Александър Еплер в работилницата на бай Слави Иванов. 1971 г.
playing with kaval maker Константин Зидаров, майстор на кавали и гайда и Александър Еплер. Бургас. 1972 г.
Aleksandr Eppler in bai Slavi Ivanov's (Tonev) workshop,
in the village of Kameno, Bourgas District, Bulgaria. 1971
Aleksandr Eppler playing music with a fellow
kaval maker, the late Konstantin Zidarov
in Bourgas, Bulgaria. 1972

1. Home page | 2. Background (part 1) | 3. Background (part 2)
4. Photographs | 5. Photographs | 6. Photographs | 7. Photographs | 8. Photographs (other instruments)
9. Photographs (personal) | 10. Links| 11. Contact

Text by Nikolai Diamandiev

© 2005 Aleksandr Eppler

Webpage last updated:
November 4, 2011
Webmaster: Helena Lenore Hietkamp (lhietkamp at