Ivo Varbanov studied in Milan with the Hungarian pianist Ylonka Deckers from 1988 to 1993. After his graduation he came to England to work with Sulamita Aronowsky and Frank Wibaut at the Royal Academy of Music, completing his postgraduate studies in 1998. At present his mentor is Dennis Lee, who was also a pupil of Ylonka Deckers. He has participated in masterclasses with Lev Naumov, Alexander Lonquich, Barry Douglas, Jean-Bernard Pommier, and Peter Katin.

Ivo Varbanov and Finnish cellist Seeli Toivio won 1st Prize and also a Special Prize in the XXV International Chamber Music Competition in Finale Ligure (Italy) in 1998.

His first CD of piano works by Musorgsky (Gega New label) had excellent reviews in BBC Music Magazine, Suono, HFN&RR, In Tune, and Kultura. His second CD with Seeli Toivio (Gega New) of the world première recording of works for cello and piano by Ildebrando Pizzetti was released in 2004 and received critical acclaim.

In 2001 with Michal Drewnowski (piano), Christo Yotzov and Eti Kukudov (percussion), Ivo Varbanov created the Voland Quartet, a two pianos and percussion ensemble dedicated to 20th and 21st century music. Their first CD, with works by Béla Bartók, Aleksandr Arutiunian, Gheorghi Arnaoudov, Ari Ben-Shabetai, Christo Yotzov and Jerzy Bauer was released in December 2006 on the Gega New label.

His live performances, studio recordings and interviews have been broadcast on Bulgarian National Radio, BBC Radio, RAI3, Classic FM+, Bulgarian National TV, NovaTV, BTV, and TV Bulgaria.

Ivo Varbanov’s performances include concertos, recitals and chamber music in Bulgaria, Italy, the UK, France, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Poland, Russia, and the USA. Career highlights include the South Bank Centre (London), Carnegie Recital Hall (New York), Bulgaria Hall (Sofia), Philharmonic Hall (St Petersburg). His festival appearances include Hoffman & Paderewsky, Apollonia, Sofia Music Weeks, Piemonte In Musica, and performances with St Petersburg State Symphony, Sofia Symphony Orchestra (with whom he has made two tours of Italy), and with regional orchestras in the UK, Italy and Bulgaria.

His engagements in the period 2005 - 2009 seasons include appearances with the Sofia Philharmonic, the Sofia Soloists, the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony, all the regional orchestras in Bulgaria; performances at prestigious venues such as the Wigmore Hall (4 concerts) in London, St. John’s Smith Square in London, St. George’s Brandon Hill in Bristol, Haden Freeman Hall in Manchester, Salle Gaveau in Paris, Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Philharmonic Hall in Katowice, Bulgaria Concert Hall in Sofia, and concerts in Bulgaria, Italy, the UK, Poland, Spain, and France.

His fourth CD with piano works by Johannes Brahms was released in May 2007 by Gega New.

Ivo is the Artistic Director of Bulgarian Creative Arts, which has been promoting Bulgarian Art and Culture in the UK since 2002. He has organised the first, second, third, and fourth Bulgarian Arts Festivals in London in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007