Reviews

"Ivajla Kirova is of an exceptionally high artistic level. In my opinion, her Debut - CD with Bach, Beethoven and Brahms is excellent!"
Prof. Gerhard Oppitz

"Five stars: Musicianship and artistry of the hightest caliber"
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Music Magazine USA

"Perfect" was the first word of Maestro Alexis Weissenberg when he heard Ivajla's performance of Schubert 3 Piano Pieces D 946 in Switzerland.

"The young Bulgarian pianist Ivajla Kirova is a good example of how Bulgarian art can be developed and supported outside Bulgaria."
A. Dimitrova, Deutsche Welle

"I am very pleased that IFO Classics has published this exceptionally beautiful CD-recording of Ivajla Kirova. The sound is fantastic - very vivid and powerful at Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Liszt, brilliant and very transparent at Mozart and partly impressionistic soft or fresh-lucid at the own compositions of Ivajla Kirova - always connected to the special spirit of a live recording. Bravissimo!!!"
W. Adolph, Musikwissenschaftler & Chefredakteur der Musikzeitschrift Organ (Schott Music)

Solo CD 2020 - Review, Con Brio Recordings 22091

MY FAVORITE ENCORES 2020 - Ivajla Kirova, Piano (61:19)

As with her previous albums reviewed in Fanfare, Bulgarian-born pianist Ivajla Kirova, who now calls Munich, Germany home, here presents another album of her favorite pieces. Unlike those previous albums, however, in this case all but one of the numbers are sure to be familiar to every music-loving reader of this journal - a redundancy, no doubt. The one exception is the Elegy-Nocturne by Romanian-born composer Marius Herea. The piece is dedicated to Kirova, who performs it here in its first-even recording.

In a 2017 interview, composer Herea was asked by Julia Berry, “Who are you and where do you come from?” Herea replied, “No idea who I am, no idea where I come from. I have been trying to find out through my music.”

Let me try to help him out by describing his three-and-a-half-minute Elegy-Nocturne. First, Herea is a time-traveler who has come to visit our century from the time of Chopin and Liszt. Second, the piece is in the best style and tradition of the 19th-century salon. Third, due to the preceding first and second points, the piece can come across to our ears and time as just a bit cloying or sentimental, the sort of music one might hear in a piano bar, cocktail lounge, or lobby of a hotel seeking to earn its Forbes four-star rating.

Fourth, that said, if you don’t love Herea’s Elegy-Nocturne, you hate music; it’s as simple as that. The piece is of such an exquisite beauty that resistance is futile. Close your eyes, and you will see Chopin sitting at the keyboard.

Listeners’ familiarity with the remaining items on Kirova’s program, renders descriptions of them unnecessary. Not unnecessary, however, is an account of Kirova’s playing which, in a word, is SPECTACULAR. In Rachmaninoff’s C-Sharp Minor Prelude, Kirova is a veritable roto rooter that drills deep into the piano’s guts to free the last remnants of tone it may try to withhold from her. The Chopin Nocturne sheds its tears in a solitude too painful for words to express. The first of the three Schubert pieces from D 946 gallops from the gate like the composer’s Der Erlkönig, but ends on an equivocal note, as do other works from his last year.

Kirova saves what is possibly the most technically challenging piece for the end, Liszt’s Concert Etude No.2 in F Minor, dubbed Gnomenreigen, which literally translates as “rage of the gnomes,” rather than “dance of the gnomes.” Kirova’s gnomes alternately dance and rage across the keyboard, skittering mischievously and fulminating malevolently.

In every number - from Beethoven’s charming Für Elise to Chopin’s Nocturne, to the pieces by Rachmaninoff, Schubert, and Liszt, and to the memorable Elegy-Nocturne by Herea, Ivajla Kirova is a pianist in whose hands the story that each piece has to tell, however brief, comes vividly to life. Her technique is in her fingers, but the music is in her heart and soul. A beautiful recital, and very strongly recommended.
Five Stars: Musicianship and Artistry of the hightest calber!
Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Music Magazine USA

Solo CD 2020 - Review, Con Brio Recordings 22091

MY FAVORITE ENCORES 2020 - Ivajla Kirova, Piano (61:19)

At first glance a typical disc of piano favorites, this fine recital holds a jewel at its heart, a masterly complete performance of Schubert’s late Klavierstücke, D 946. The road to Schubert is a varied one, and a rewarding one. Two Rachmaninoff Preludes, the infamous op. 3/2 and the G-Minor, op. 23/5 are given strong readings, the only lacking element being a depth to the piano recording in the louder passages; Chopin’s C sharp-Minor is a dream, beautifully shaped and judged.

These three pieces form one group, prefacing the Schubert section of the recital. What seems at first a fourth “short,” Schubert’s Moment musical in F-Minor, actually acts as prefatory to the magical Klavierstücke, D 946 and it is here that Kirova’s true talent shines. The catalog is hardly short of great Schubert playing, and performances of D 946 that spring immediately to mind are Pollini, Brendel and Sokolov; but Kirova’s reading is not far off this exalted company. She exhibits a full appreciation of Schubert’s writing and harmonic processes. Mature and often tender, this is a reading of real stature. Kirova has a gentle way with Schubert that melts the heart, but complementing that her sense of rhythm is rock solid, which avoids any sense of the sentimental. Her way with the syncopations of the third piece breathes it full of life. Her pedigree comes as no surprise: she studied in Bulgaria with a student of Heinrich Neuhaus - Dora Lasarova, no less, then with Gerhard Oppitz before participating in masterclasses with Alexis Weissenberg. There is a Schubertian postlude, too: a gloriously voiced Schubert/Liszt “Ständchen” (Schwanengesang), including a perfectly graded diminuendo that threatens to whisper its way into silence.

In its own way, Beethoven’s famous “Für Elise” Bagatelle prolongs the atmosphere of the Schubert/Liszt before the Chopinesque opening of Marius Herea’s Elegy-Nocturne takes over. Dedicated to Kirova, Herea’s piece is full of Romantic echoes, perhaps most notably to Schumann (I kept hearing “Im wunderschönen Mai” in the background) and Chopin. It ends most hauntingly, leaving the Liszt “Gnomenreigen,” perhaps, to act as a playful encore to a disc of encores.

Whilst I enjoyed Kirova’s previous disc, In Memoriam Maestro Alexis Weissenberg on the IFO label, this is an even finer example of her musicianship.

This fine recital holds a jewel at its heart, a masterly performance of Schubert’s late Klavierstücke.
Colin Clarke, Fanfare Music Magazine USA

Ivajla Kirova's CD 2016 has been selected as "Recording of the Year 2016" by Musicweb International - CBR 21653

CD Reviews 2016 - Bulgarian Musical Evenings in Munich

"…an audience-friendly aesthetic."
"…the recorded works are all tremendous fun, …a very attractive disc."
Peter J. Rabinowitz, Fanfare Music Magazine

"This CD is a surprise."
"It captivates through its direct style, an original nature and, without a doubt, craftsmanship."
"In any case, this recording is a repertoire extension and indeed a worthwhile one."
Guido Krawinkel, Klassik heute

"Recorded in Munich, this fascinating CD presents chamber music from a mix of better-known, and less familiar Bulgarian composers – Vladigerov in the former, and Raichev and Krushev in the second camp. If you’re not familiar with Bulgarian music, or some of its chamber music, then this CD could be an ideal way to get started. The recording and performances are all first rate, and Vladigerov’s Violin Sonata could hold its own against many others."
Philip R. Buttall, Musicweb International

Solo CD 2014 - Review, IFO Classics 00221

IN MEMORIAM MAESTRO ALEXIS WEISSENBERG - Ivajla Kirova, Piano (64:22)
Having picked up Ivajla Kirova’s CD at the post office, I got in my car and put the disc in the player, thinking I would sample a bit of iten route before listening on more substantial equipment at home. I never started up the engine because the playing was so well articulated that I wanted to concentrate on it. Kirova’s focus, clarity, and sense of presence took this listener’s breath away and I expect that her career will be expanding in the near future. Although Sergei Rachmaninof wrote his Étude in C♯ Minor at a time when Scriabin’s ideas were beginning to take hold of Russian piano music, he still had much to say in the rich language of the Romantic period. With the fast runs and stately playing of Chopin’s Romantic Étude in C Minor, IFO Classics’ sound gives the impression of listening in Munich’s glorious Nymphenburg Palace concert hall where the recording was made. Kirova showed her control of dynamics by playing both fast and slow passages while at the same time increasing and decreasing the level of sound. Mozart’s Nine Variations on a Minuet by Jean-Pierre Duport, K 573, offer a complete change of pace. Kirova plays in the Decca release now available on mp3; Clara Haskil plays them faster but with less intellectual content.
Kirova then presents us with two pieces in Spanish style: Franz Liszt’s Spanish Rhapsody and Enrique Granados’s “Los Requiebros” (Compliments) from Goyescas. The Liszt piece builds to a dramatic crescendo that was engineered to show the composer’s imposing keyboard skills. Kirova, whose skills are most impressive, uses it to show her virtuosity and her understanding of the composer’s style. In a comparative Eclipse release, Emil Gilels makes a strong impression but lacks Kirova’s lyricism. “Los Requiebros” is a jota from northern Spain. After a slow beginning, the piece goes through variations in tempo that underscore intricacies and vibrant changes of musical color. Critic Ernest Newman once described the work as “a gorgeous treat for the fingers.” If a reader would like to hear the entire work, Alicia de Larrocha recorded it definitively for RCA Red Seal in 2004.
For tracks six through 12 Kirova takes us to her own world and introduces us to her simple and complex compositions. Written in 1995, the miniatures are easily understood even if the booklet does not give us English translations of the poems which inspired them. The 11 variations on the Bulgarian folk tune Hoisata are recent compositions based on a fast, energetic 19th-century round dance that involves jumping and shaking by pairs of dancers. Written in the year the recording was released, the nocturne is a mature work by the pianist and composer that she dedicated to her late sister. She dedicated the entire recording to her teacher and mentor, Bulgarian pianist Alexis Weissenberg. If he were alive he would be enormously proud of her.
Maria Nockin, Fanfare Music Magazine

Solo CD 2014 - Review, IFO Classics 00221

This wide-ranging recital by the accomplished pianist Ivajla Kirova spans the two musical worlds she inhabits. She moved to Germany after early training in her native Bulgaria, and having completed several diplomas, including masterclasses with Gerhard Oppitz and Alexis Weissenberg, her immersion in the virtuosic tradition of Liszt and Rachmaninov is impressive. But Kirova’s ties to Bulgaria remain strong, and the program on this CD includes several of her own compositions based on Bulgarian folk materials as well as her original poems (I wish the booklet had included some of them as background.)
Among her teachers, Weissenberg, who was also Bulgarian, seems to have deeply touched Kirova-she dedicates the album to his memory-and her delivery of Liszt’s Spanish Rhapsody is in the Weissenberg mold in its sweep, scale, and boldness. The same holds true for her reading of the other virtuoso material here, by Rachmaninoff, Chopin, and Granados. The pianist explains that she enjoys filling her programs with nationalistic variety, especially a touch of Spain, hence the juxtaposition of the Liszt and the Goyescas excerpt. Her rhythmic sense is assured and vital. No matter how lavish the piano writing becomes, you continue to feel the underlying dances.
The Mozart “Duport” Variations at first glance don’t seem to belong in this company, but they allow the pianist to show that her playing isn’t all about fingers. Her interpretation is very sensitive. On the basis of the five composers heard up to this point, I’d say Kirova does her esteemed teachers proud.
The Bulgarian pieces are exotic by comparison. Born in 1975, Kirova feels passionately connected to the researches into native Bulgarian “asymmetrical rhythms” that intrigued musicologists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Bartók. The asymmetry is quite radical, as exemplified by the hoisata, a dance in 9/16 meter (2+2+2+3/16), which would be very hard to internalize unless you’re Bulgarian, or a Bartók. Kirova is a major figure representing the music of her homeland in Germany, and she obviously has thorough mastery and love of its legacy. Her accessible, enjoyable compositions sound quite a bit like Bartok in places, not just his repetitive percussive keyboard writing but the rippling, glittering Impressionism from his Debussy-influenced early years.
As composer and performer Kirova displays impressive talents, and this recital serves both sides of her artistic personality well. What remains memorable for me in particular are the Bulgarian pieces for their glimpse into another musical world and the Liszt, for its bravura panache.
Huntley Dent, New York Arts

Interview for “Fanfare Music Magazine” in USA

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, and I began to study piano there when I was seven years old. Having attended the State Music School in Sofia, I did my graduate study at the State Music Academy in the same city. Although my parents are not musicians, they supported me in my eventual decision to become a pianist. In 1997, I came to the University for Music and Performing Arts in Munich, Germany, where I studied piano with Gerhard Oppitz, collaborative piano including song accompaniment with Helmut Deutsch, and chamber music with Reiner Ginzel and the German String Trio.
Who were your most important teachers and what did you learn from each of them? I had three great piano teachers in my life and I am very grateful to them. Dora Lasarova, who studied in Moscow with Heinrich Neuhaus, was my first piano professor in Bulgaria. Gerhard Oppitz, a student of Wilhelm Kempff, was the youngest professor ever appointed at the Munich Musikhochschule. I think the two years that I studied with him formed the most important period of my education. In 2003, I attended a master course in Engelberg Switzerland taught by the famous Bulgarian pianist Alexis Weissenberg, and he has had a great influence on my playing. Because Weissenberg was one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century, my master class with him gave me memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Although he had a great personality, he was very modest. He was a kind and uplifting teacher with all his students. He said that he was not a Chopin or Bach specialist and he simply wanted to help us to find our own interpretations. In his master classes he made sure to use the individual talents of each student. He did not want us to begin a piece with a preconceived interpretation, because in his opinion it should not exist.
I have learned so much from all three. They had much in common, even though they were all very different people. They have always encouraged me to play my own interpretation and not the one that they play. They gave me valuable advice, but they also gave me enough freedom to develop. In any art it is very important to have your own individual skills so that you do not imitate other artists. Most importantly, a performer must have a thorough understanding of the composer and his or her music. The composer’s music must be foremost in the performer’s mind, not personal emotions.
What is your educational philosophy? The teacher is like a gardener. He can help the growth of all the flowers in his garden, but cannot modify their roots or what they have been given by nature itself. Talent plays a very large role in the development of a musician. The teacher can only help each student find the right way. No teacher can change the talent.
Did you also teach at the Munich Hochschule? Yes, from 1999 to 2006, I was Associate Professor of Piano there. Since then, I mainly perform and give master classes in Europe and Asia.
How is living and performing in Germany different from doing the same things in Bulgaria? Making a living as a musician in Bulgaria is certainly difficult. Because of the financial crisis, the arts are not getting the support they need to function. Germany has had great musical traditions for centuries and is much more able to support the arts at this time.
Please tell us something about each composer whose music you play on the CD. The composers whose music I recorded come from very different eras. Russian pianist, conductor and composer Sergei Rachmaninov lived from 1873 to 1943. During his lifetime he was widely considered one of the finest pianists of the era. Looking back on his compositions, we see that he was one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music. Polish virtuoso pianist Frédéric Chopin, who lived from 1810 to 1849, was a composer who wrote primarily for the solo piano in a highly individual and often technically demanding style. His innovations in musical form and harmony were extremely influential.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who lived from 1756 to 1791, was a versatile composer of the Classical era who wrote in every major genre, including symphony, opera, concerto, chamber music, and the piano sonata. These forms were not new, but Mozart advanced their technical sophistication and brought them to new emotional heights. In his works I find clarity and balance as well as infinite beauty. I really love playing Rachmaninov, Chopin, and Mozart. I love Spanish music, too, so I have always taken great pleasure in playing Liszt’s Spanish Rhapsody and Granados’ Goyescas. For a long time I have wanted to record my own compositions and I am glad that I had the opportunity to play them on my new CD.
How do you make time to compose? I write very fast and do not need a lot of time. I actually hear the music in my head and then just have to write down the notes. As a Bulgarian I want to connect the unique irregular rhythms of Bulgarian music with classical music and compose new and original pieces.
Do you write for both children and adult players and listeners? Yes, I have composed a children’s songbook to lyrics of famous Bulgarian poets and I have also written virtuosic piano compositions for master pianists.
Do you expect downloads to soon do away with CDs? I really do not. Each CD has something personal, it’s like a personal autograph from the artist with a lot of interesting information about the artist and the recorded program. Downloads cannot replace this.
Can you tell us a little about your family? Do you have any hobbies? Yes, my husband is not a musician. He is a computer scientist and we have two daughters. I try to spend as much time as I possibly can with my family. I also love flying and am interested in everything that has to do with flight. My childhood dream was to be a pilot, but eventually I decided to become a pianist and to fly with music. When I have the time, I like to write poems, learn new languages and listen to beautiful recordings.
Maria Nockin

Interview for "Bulgaria now", Bulgarian newspaper in USA and Canada

At school “Sunflowers” we got a wonderful surprise – “Children’s songbook” with great poems from Bulgarian poets and music by Ivajla Kirova, our compatriot, concert pianist and musician, currently living in Munich. When we took more interest in her wonderful gesture, we learned a lot about the life and the work of a talent Bulgarian woman combining her love to the piano and the music with the love to the children and Bulgaria. We contacted Ivajla Kirova and she was kind enough to answer our questions. We suggest to the attention of the readers of newspaper “Bulgaria now” this interview.

Tell us something about yourself: I have graduated a piano master class in Munich at the famous German pianist Gerhard Oppitz, after that I had the chance to work as Associate Professor in piano at the Music Academy in Munich. I have also graduated the piano master class of Alexis Weissenberg in Engelberg, Switzerland. I have recorded two CDs in Germany and Switzerland. In my free time I write poetry with great pleasure. I am also a mother of two little children. Currently I am working on recording my third CD in Munich, which will also include my own compositions for piano (Miniatures and Variations on Bulgarian folk themes). On my initiative we established in January this year “Association for promotion of Bulgarian music” in Munich due to which we will organize new concert cycle “Bulgarian musical evenings” at the Nymphenburg Palace. As an Artistic Director of this concert cycle (which will be held every year) I set a goal to popularize in Germany the works of Bulgarian Composers such as Pancho Vladigerov, Dimitar Nenov, Svetoslav Obretenov, Aleksander Raychev, Georgi Zlatev-Cherkin and many others, as well as to encourage young Bulgarian talents. The first concert will be held on 22.11.2014 as well as the grand opening.
How did you get started with music? What was your first music instrument? At 7 years I started to play piano. My parents are not musicians, but we had a piano at home (my sister had studied piano for several months, then gave up). One of my girl-friends studied to be a pianist and she did not have a piano at home. Therefore, she was every day in our home to play piano. I will never forget my enthusiasm at the piano playing of my girl friend. At that time I urged my mother on starting to study piano.
What is your most sweetheart music memory of the childhood? Yes, I really have one. On one of my concerts as a child at the music school (maybe I was about 10-11 years old), when I appeared on the stage and began to play suddenly in the middle of the music work the electricity has stopped! Confusion fell, all the people rushed to look for candles, matches but I continued to play. Even my teachers and friends still remember that I finished my sonata without interruption and error-free. The electricity came again when I was at the end. Then all the people were amazed and asked me how I could continue in the darkness without problems. But it is not necessary to watch the piano keys constantly, they are also felt intuitively.
Which Bulgarian children songs should be not forgotten? Do you have your sweetheart children songs? There are many children songs which should be not forgotten! However, there are poems and songs which succeed to touch a thin string of the soul as “Oblache le byalo”, “Visoki sini planini – High blue mountains”, “Rodna stryaha – Eaves home”.
What is common between music and flying? You mentioned in an interview that you would like to be a pilot because the flying is also your dream. Thank you for this good question. By chance after I was admitted to study in Germany it turned out that my piano professor, whom I knew as a world-famous pianist, is also a pilot. We like to talk about common between music and flying. Sometimes in music as in flying can occur a feeling of weightlessness and delight. On the other hand flying is based on the relationship between the single and the common that is so important for music. For me, a successful performed concert is like a beautiful flight. There is required a lot of concentration and certainty at the beginning and in the finale and during the real interpretation the player must achieve such heights to open new horizons not only for him but also for all listeners. Only then the concert becomes an unforgettable flight of the soul!
Do you have a favorite composer, music work? Yes, I have favorite music works – List’s Spanish Rhapsody, the Variations on “Dilmano, Dilbero” of Aleksander Vladigerov, the Rahmaninov’s concerts, the Shubert’s songs revised from List for piano. I would not say I have a favorite composer. It is hard for me to be limited by selecting only one of all I like.
What is it for that is worth to dedicate your life to the music? How do you manage to combine your recitals, teaching, working for popularization of the Bulgarian music, preparation of publications, CD records and not at least – the role of mother? It is not always easy but the base is the good organization and to a certain extent the selection of priorities. Often I have to work up too late but working is a pleasure for me. It is worth to dedicate the life to the music, when you are ready to create not for yourself, but for the good of the others or for ideas loftier than a personal glory and career.
What most does you make glad and worry as a parent of children living out of Bulgaria? What is the most important for them? What would you like to tell the other Bulgarian parents? My children are born in Germany and the most disturbing thought for me was how they would learn well the Bulgarian language because the German language always gets the upper hand in the daily round. But thanks to long persistent effort this could be also achieved. It is very unfortunate when for some reason Bulgarians do not want to talk to each other in their native language or if they do not teach their children in Bulgarian language. I can only wish to everyone to esteem his native land regardless of any difficulties and discomforts, and not to despise it because without our love to the native land we are like a tree without roots, which dries quickly and becomes useless to anyone.
To what extent is the Bulgarian language important for preservation of the Bulgarian spirit? What must be the role of the Bulgarian music? Still Vazov has said it “Sacred language of my forefathers”… The native language is a sacred thing, an intransient value, without which each nation would have been lost. Maybe we do not realize it but the literary and the word are a very power weapon. They have helped us to endure the Turkish yoke, to keep our Bulgarian spirit during this long and hard time period. And the music is the language of the soul. Various arts are very tightly bound and when they are jointed the power of their impact is indisputable.
What caused you to prepare “Children’s songbook”? It happened spontaneously, when they asked me to take the music lessons at the newly opened Bulgarian school “Dora Gabe” in Munich. There were some poems that for my generation are indisputably among the best known and favorite, but it was very difficult for the children to learn the lyrics entirely. On the other hand the children have learned with great ease and joy those lyrics on which there were already written songs. I like to write poems, to compose. So spontaneously I came to the idea to write some new songs by well-known poems, which later were published in “Children’s songbook”. I thank to the great Bulgarian poetess Angelina Zhekova as well as to the heirs of Asen Bosev, Leda Mileva, Dora Gabe, Elisaveta Bagryana, Ran Bosilek and Mladen Isaev for the gratuitously provided copyrights in favor of the Bulgarian children!
What would you like to tell our readers? Not to loose their faith, to be strong ant to know that after rain and storm the long awaited ark is coming. We just must have a patience to wait for it ant to open our eyes to see it.
On behalf of the whole team of school “Sunflowers” I would like to thank you for your noble gesture, for the wonderful idea and for all you are doing for the children of Bulgaria wherever they are. We wish you success as a creator, performer and teacher and not at least as a parent, a lot of inspiration, sensitivity and energy to be able to realize your ideas and dreams.
Milena Nikolova

Interview for "Mouvement Nouveau"

The romantic notion of great musicians growing up in an artistic world full of music is hardly ever true - Ivajla Kirova was the child of an engineering family. This, however, didn't keep her from wanting to play the piano from a young age and it didn't keep her parents from nurturing her talents. Masterclasses with Gerhard Oppitz in Munich led to several succesful concerts in Germany and Europa. She is now an active live artist, playing the traditional repertoire, modern music and her own compositions.
Hi! How are you? What’s on your schedule right now? Hi! I’m fine, thank you. I’m teaching a master course and I’m giving a concert in Bulgaria in May, after my jury membership in the International Piano Competition "Classical and Contemporary".
If you hadn’t chosen music, what do you think you would do right now? My two great passions are music and flying. I’ve been fascinated by flying since earliest childhood, but I wanted to be a musician more. If I hadn’t, I’d certainly be a pilot. That’s my unfulfilled dream.
What or who was your biggest influence as an artist? Gerhard Oppitz, my piano professor. I had the big chance to take his master class in Munich and that was the most important period of my musical education.
What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best? The hardest and the best is the development as a musician... Until a concert pianist receives his master degree, he takes 18-20 years of piano lessons. In other occupations only 4-5 years are necessary. However, to receive recognition and to be successful as a musician is a great and indescribable feeling.
What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis? No, I don’t think that there is a crisis. Classical music was always for a selected, intelligent circle of people and not for the crowd.
Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them? People have listened to classical music for centuries and enjoy it over and over again. In fact, you can never play one piece in the same way twice, but not many people understand this. Nowadays there are many pop song releases every day which get forgotten by the next week. Is there really any need to record them?
What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage? Charisma is very important during a live performance, in addition to all other qualitites. My approach to performing on stage is to be concentrated, to forget the public and to be free. I believe this is necessary for success.
What does the word “interpretation” mean to you? To present as precisely and faithfully as possible the composer’s conception, not one’s own. The classical performers are like interior designers - they furnish a house, but they don’t build it. It’s a pity that over and over again even well-known performers interpret some composers so that you can barely recognize them...
True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays. True, but this is not the most important thing. As I said before, the performer must above all understand the composer as well as possible. The personal emotions must not predominate.
True or false: “Music is my first love”. True, but it isn’t only love, it’s much more...
True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it. False. Either you feel love for classical music in your heart or not. Of course the influence by the family or education can contribute to this, but that isn’t decisive. You cannot educate feelings or love for music into someone.
You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season? In my opinion, the people in Europe know not nearly enough about bulgarian music and I have always tried to popularize it more. My program will certainly include composers like Vladigerov, Nenov, Pipkov and other. In Germany you find the names on the concert programs only rarely...
What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment? I listen to the 24 Preludes and the 2-nd Sonata of Rachmaninov with Vladimir Ashkenazy now. It is an exceptionally beautiful CD!
Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it? Yes, I tried several as a child, just out of curiosity. However, I always only took piano lessons. I know exactly what I wanted.
Tobias Fischer

International jury has awarded the prices at the piano competition "Classic and contemporary" in Bulgaria

"In der Jury des Internationalen Klavierwettbewerbs "Klassik und Moderne" waren in den letzten Jahren nicht nur die Gründer des Wettbewerbs Prof. Dr. Atanas Kurtev und Mariana Marincheva, sondern auch berühmte bulgarische Pianisten wie Prof. Viktor Tschutschkov, Prof. Krasimir Gatev, Prof. Dimo Dimov oder der Komponist Peter Petrov.
"Jury members of the International Piano Competition „Classical and Contemporary“ were the founder of the Competition Prof. Dr. Atanas Kurtev and Mariana Marincheva as well as famous Bulgarian pianists like Prof. Viktor Chuchkov, Prof. Krasimir Gatev, Prof. Dimo Dimov or the composer Peter Petrov. Ivajla Kirova, Maria-Elena Fernandes and Maria Prinz have an undisputed authority in Austria and Germany and their jury membership was always highly appreciated – not only by the organizers, but also by all the participants at this prestigious piano competition…“
Classical Bg – the Bulgarian website for classical music by Prof. Rostislav Jovtschev

StZ Nachrichten, Bulgarien

"The 4. International Piano Competition "Classical and Contemporary" takes place again in this autumn. The Jury includes 5 members prominent musicians, players and pedagogues: Prof. Dr. Kurtev, Prof. Dimov, Doz. Gatev, Doz. Kirova from Germany, graduate from the Special Music School in St. Zagora and the Music Academies in Sofia and Munich, as well as Ms. Marincheva, Artistic Menager ot the Competition..."

StZ Nachrichten, Bulgarien

"The Jury awarded the prizes to the laureates of the 4. International Piano Competition "Classical and Contemporary". The winners were selected from all candidates in four age groups. The Special Prize of Dozent Ivajla Kirova received Deniza Dobreva from the National School of Arts "Vesselin Stojanov" in Rousse..."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The talented Bulgarian pianist Ivajla Kirova played with immense success Chopin-Sonata op.35, Liszt-Spanish Rhapsody, Nenov-Toccata, Bartok-Suite within the "Young Artists" concert series in Munich..."

Classical Online Magazine

"A seriously, exceptionally beautiful CD! Brilliantly compelling and with enormous expressive power. At the end one puts the record immediately on again just to be able to listen to itone more time..." Prof. Dr. Hofmann