The name of the patron of the Chamber Ensemble – the Reverend Yoan Kukuzel shines with particular brightness among the constellation of great artists of medieval Bulgarian culture. His numerous works, scattered in monasteries, churches, libraries and depositories are in original and copied collections of different ages.
He was born in Dirahion /Dratch/ in 1280 on the western outskirts of the Bulgarian state at that time. After learning to perfection church chanting in Constantinople, who witnessed his first worldly fame as a singer and composer, he subsequently went to Athos Monastery – Great Lavra, where he stayed and worked for the rest of his life as an inspired singer and vocal pedagogue, a great theorist, a reformer of Byzantine neumatic letter and a deep heartfelt composer.

The Reverend Yoan Kukuzel was the creator of Papadic /extensive/ singing in which complex melodic figurations, saturated with many ornaments, are performed in one vocal. His works are full of melisms and rich ornamentation, so later theorists and specialists consider his style as one type of church “bel canto”, while others define it as “canto lyric” and in many of his works they behold the beginnings of modulations, cadences and polyphony.

The complex structure of his musical pieces required also the introduction of new characters, indicating the way of performing of his works. The neume-writing enriched by Yoan Kukuzel and approved later as “Koukouzeles Notation” lasted until the beginning of the XIX century, when the reform of Hrisant-Hormuziy introduced the modern neume notation.

For his exceptional voice capabilities Reverend Yoan Kukuzel was called “Angel-Voiced” and as a renowned authority in Byzantine music he was named “Grand Master”, “Teacher of Teachers”.