Pancho Vladigerov was born on 13 March 1899 in Zurich. He spent his childhood in Shumen. He demonstrated his musical talents at an early age – his first concert performance was at 7 years of age, and he made his first attempts at composing when he was 10. In 1912, Pancho and his twin brother Lyuben were awarded a scholarship to study abroad. They left for Berlin with their mother, Dr Eliza Pasternak. He created his first significant works there. His gift was highly praised and in 1918 and 1920 he was awarded twice the prestigious Mendelssohn Scholarship of the Berlin Academy of Music.
He lived and worked in Germany by 1932 and, far from home, he created memorable national works, which attracted the attention of the European music community with their quality, melody and modern expression. Vardar Rhapsody, Bulgarian Suite, Violin Concerto No 1, Piano Concerto No 2, Scandinavian Suite, etc. have been performed at concert stages worldwide. He demonstrated his talent in the area of theatre music as well, as a composer and music director at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. After his final return in Bulgaria, he enriched his repertoire in terms of genre with works such as the opera Tsar Kaloyan, the ballet Legend of the Lake, String Quartet No 1, Symphony No 1, etc.
Pancho Vladigerov organised numerous concerts in many European cities. In the period 1936 – 1942 Vladigerov was representative of Bulgaria in the Permanent Council for International Cooperation between Composers. He was a delegate of the World Peace Council in 1949, member of the jury of renowned international music competitions.
In 1968, Pancho Vladigerov won the prestigious award of the Gottfried von Herder University of Vienna for his contribution to European cultural heritage.
He dedicated decades of his life to teaching as a Composition and Piano Professor at the Music Academy in Sofia. He taught an entire generation of young composers.
He was decorated with all the highest state honours as a recognition of his exceptional role in the development of Bulgarian music culture.
Pancho Vladigerov worked actively up to his final days. He died on 8 September 1978 in Sofia.
On 21 October 2013, in memory of Pancho Vladigerov, a passage in Antarctica was named after him. The Vladigerov Passage is situated between the Lavoisier Island and Krogh Island, part of the Biscoe Islands. It is about 6 kilometres long. In the tightest part of the passage there is a small island, which also bears the name of Vladigerov, its area being about 750 sq.m.