The history of the Varna Philharmonic Orchestra began in 1913, when an amateur symphony orchestra was founded. The cast participated in the First Summer Musical Celebrations in Varna in 1926 under the conductorship of Asen Naydenov.
In 1946 the creation of the Varna State Symphony Orchestra was initiated by conductor and violinist Prof. Sasha Popov, which in 1968 became a State Philharmonic Orchestra. In the first years of its development its artistic managers were conductors Ruslan Raychev, Vasil Stefanov, Yosko Yosifov and Konstantin Iliev consecutively. Conductors Emil Glavandkov, Ivan Marinov and Yordan Dafov contributed greatly to the professional growth of the ensemble.
The Orchestra has a rich repertoire of symphonic music, cantata and oratorio works by different composers, as well as many works created by different generations of Bulgarian composers. The events held by the Orchestra are associated with the names of a number of famous instrumentalists – Ifra Nieman, Leonid Kogan, David Eustrah, Alexis Weissenberg, Pablo Kazalz, Yuri Bukov, Ruggiero Ricci, Victor Tretyakov, Yanos Starker, Mikhail Pletnyov, Vera Gornostaeva, Mincho Minchev, Vanya Milanova, Georgi Badev and many others.
Traditionally the Orchestra takes part in the opening ceremony of the Varna Summer International Music Festival. The Symphony Orchestra has participated in all prestigious Bulgarian festivals and has guest-performed in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Russia, France, Austria, Spain and Italy.
It has had numerous recordings with the Bulgarian National Radio and the Bulgarian National Television.