Otets Paissii Ensemble

The BMNECC’s Bulgarian Folk Ensemble “Otets Paissii” has been delighting local and international audiences for many years. The group was started in 1955 commensurate with the First Annual Pittsburgh Folk Festival by Nicholas Jordanoff. This talented group of singers, dancers and musicians presents its annual concert each spring at the West Mifflin Area Middle School and performs regularly at venues in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania. The ensemble is also an annual participant in the BMNECC’s “Na Megdana” Bulgarian Festival, as well as the “Verea” Bulgarian Festival in Chicago, Illinois. In 1990 the ensemble appeared at numerous venues in Bulgaria.


Joy Holden is the ensemble’s Managing Director and Bilyana Stoyanova Stafura is the Artistic Director. Guest choreographers, such as the acclaimed Hristo and Kaya Ivanov, have contributed to the group’s performances.


The ensemble is named for Otets Paissii, the monk who wrote the first comprehensive history of the Bulgarian people.


If you are interested in performing with the ensemble, or having them perform at your event, you may contact Joy at bmnecc.dance@gmail.com or the Center at 412.461.6188.