Biographical details


Vania Vatralova – Stankov – Soprano
The Bulgarian Soprano is a recipient of numerous awards, including an Award from the Spanish Ministry of Education and the Donizetti Award from the Welsh National Opera School for two consecutive years.
She graduated in Bulgaria and Spain in both violin and singing with the highest qualifications, was appointed co-principal violin at the City of Elche Chamber Orchestra where she played as soloist on many occasions, but relinquished her position in the orchestra in order to fully pursue her singing career. Vania has done Master Classes with Renata Scotto, Montserrat Caballé and Mirella Freni, amongst others.
She has performed recitals at many International Festivals, including Belcanto Dordrecht (Holland), Varna Summer, Sofia New Year’s, Sofia Music Weeks, and Peralada, Barcelona. Vania has performed the mainstream oratorio repertoire with orchestras such as the Sofia Philharmonic, London Gala and Valencia Baroque, and has worked under the baton of Alexander Kantorov, Alex Ingram and Georgio Leardini, to name but a few.
On the opera stage she has appeared in the title roles as Traviata, Rusalka and Ana Bolena with WNOS, Royal Opera School, Madrid and also took part in the Tower of London Festival’s production of Ana Bolena (in the title role), with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Vania has recorded for the major Bulgarian and Spanish Television and Radio Channels (BNR, RTVE, Antena 3, Canal 9, TV3). As well as her numerous recordings for TV and Radio Vania recorded a CD entitled Misterio de Elche (Mystery of Elche) with early music, declared by UNESCO as Patrimony of the Humanity Treasure. She also recently recorded her debut CD of “Operatic Favorites”, with the Sofia Symphony Orchestra. MORE INFO/WEB

Press reviews:

"...On the compelling evidence of this debut recording, there may indeed be some seductive delights to anticipate from this comely young soprano in the very near future..." 

Mark Thomas Ketterson, Concertonet, review of CD "Operatic Favourites" (January, 2009)

"...She seems to have a lyric voice, but one which has a richness and depth to it... Possibly the best overall piece of singing on the CD is in the opening of Signore ascolta from Turandot. Here Vatralova-Stankov sounds a little like Caballé in the role."

Robert Hugill, Music and Vision, review of CD "Operatic Favourites" (January, 2009)

Ivo Stankov – Violin
Described as a “Stunning virtuoso…” (Evening Herald), Ivo has established himself as one of Bulgaria’s leading artists of his generation. He has performed extensively as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader through the UK, Europe and Canada, in venues such as Royal Albert Hall (where he made his concerto debut with fourteen years of age with the New English Orchestra), Bridgewater Hall, Glasgow Concert Hall, the RAI Congress Centre, Amsterdam, to name a few. He has performed in Bulgaria National Hall under the patronage of the Bulgarian president, with a subsequent broadcast on the national TV and Radio, and made his debut under the critics acclaim at the Wigmore Hall. As a recitalist, he also has performed at all the major London venues. Ivo completed his Postgraduate studies with Erich Gruenberg at the Royal Academy of Music where he was awarded a full scholarship from Flame Trust. Since settling in the UK, he has recorded for television and on CD. He has appeared at International Festivals, including Varna Summer, Sofia Music Weeks, Flanders Festival Ghent and Milano-Torino (MITO). He is the leader of a number of chamber ensembles, including Schomberg String Quartet (featured in TV Channel 4 “Operatunity – The Winners” Nationwide tour), London Schubert Players and London String Quartet. Ivo has also collaborated with artists such as Sir Cliff Richard and Mark Knopfler. He is Artistic Director of the London Festival of Bulgarian Culture, which first edition will be held in 2010. He plays on 1787 Gagliano violin, kindly lent to him by the Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells. MORE INFO/WEB

“I had the pleasure of playing with Ivo at a charity event in September 2009. Ivo's playing was excellent and he was a pleasure to work with…” Mark Knopfler 

Press reviews:

“...Exceptionally interesting programme...a really good performance... Bulgarian Rhapsody Vardar brought the recital to a close in commanding style...” 

Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion, Wigmore Hall Recital Debut, 2/06/06

“...the performance of Janacek's violin sonata excellently reflected the music's restless and wayward moods...Falla's Spanish dance was spirited...the long unaccompanied solo of Ravel's Tzigane was Stankov's best playing of the evening, projecting considerable intensity whilst also suggesting something of Gypsy spontaneity.” 

Max Harrison, Musical Opinion, Wigmore Hall Recital, 19/12/07

Lachezar Stankov – Piano
Lachezar was born in Varna (Bulgaria). He started to learn piano at the age of nine. He showed a very rapid progress and one year later he was accepted at the Dobri Hristov College of Music and Arts, where he completed his high school education with specialist music curriculum.
He is a winner of many national and international prizes and awards. He won the Second Prize in the National Competition Dimitar Nenov in Bulgaria (1999), Third Prize in the International Competition Pro Arte in Bucharest, Romania (2000), the Grand Prix of the Competition for Czech and Slovak Music in Prague (2003) and the Presto National Scholarship Award (2002).
Lachezar made his concert debut at the age of twelve in Holland, where he played in Utrecht and at the RAI Centre in Amsterdam. Since then he has played in many venues in Bulgaria and in Europe, including the Varna Festival Hall and the Bulgarian Embassy Hall in Prague and participated at the Varna Summer International Music Festival. At sixteen years of age he was selected to participate in series of concerts with the Varna Philharmonic Orchestra, and performed the Grieg piano concerto No.1, under the critics acclaim. This led to a subsequent invitation the following year to perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, with the Varna and the Shumen Philharmonic Orchestras.
In 2005, Lachezar was awarded the ABRSM Full Scholarship for overseas students, to study at the Royal College of Music with Professor Andrew Ball, where he recently completed his Undergraduate Course. Since settling in London, he has played many solo and chamber music recitals in the UK and abroad and recently performed Rachmaninov’s “Variations on a theme of Paganini”, with the North London Orchestra. MORE INFO/WEB