Irina Georgieva – and her way to the artist she is today

Irina Georgieva was born in Sofia in 1978. It is also the capital of Bulgaria where she takes her first steps as a pianist: At the age of 6, she gives her first public concert. Two years later, she enters stage for her first solo concert and wins her first international prize. Another year later, she plays Beethoven’s 1st Piano Concerto as a soloist with orchestra.

In 1997, Irina Georgieva is admitted to the Sofia Conservatory. For the first time, she works with Prof. Marina Kapazinskaya, who will accompany her years later in her master’s studies. Already during her studies, Irina Georgieva performs as a solo pianist with all major orchestras in Bulgaria. Apart from that, she works unwaveringly on her artistic development and takes part in numerous master classes, amongst others with piano luminaries such as Lazar Berman and Dmitry Bashkirov.

In 2001, she leaves Bulgaria. A scholarship from the “Gerber-ten Bosch” foundation takes her to the Basel Music Academy and into Rudolf Buchbinder’s master class. Looking back, the time with Buchbinder is probably the most important step in Irina Georgieva’s career. For she not only completes her concert and soloist diploma with distinction. In addition, she develops decisively and gradually becomes the artist she is today.

From Basel onto the stages of this world

Irina Georgieva was awarded at numerous international competitions. She performs regularly in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, South America, and the Balkan countries. Furthermore, her concerts have taken her to England, Morocco, France, and Asia.

Her most important stopovers are the concerts at Wigmore Hall London (2010), Musikverein Vienna (2015), and Tonhalle Zurich (2015). In April 2019, Irina Georgieva made her debut at the KKL Lucerne with the Basel Symphony Orchestra. Another debut had to be postponed due to the Corona pandemic: her concert with the World Civic Orchestra in New York, in which she was to play Béla Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2. However, this performance will take place as soon it is possible again.

Her repertoire: from the Baroque to the present

Whether Stefan Lano, Michal Nesterowicz, Pablo Gonzàlez or Sascha Goetzel – the list of conductors Irina Georgieva has worked with is impressive. Just as impressive is her repertoire, which comprises classical music from the Baroque to the present. She loves the virtuoso piano music of the late 19th and 20th century, which is characterized by an expressive tonal language, special moods, and differentiated timbres.

Competitions & Awards

1st prize in a regional competition in Bulgaria.
3rd prizeInternational Piano Competition in ÚstÍnad Labem, Czech Republic.
1st prize International Steinway Piano Competition in Berlin.
2nd prize National Piano Competition for Russian Music, Bulgaria.
A scholarship of the “Gerber-ten Bosch” foundation. The beginning of her studies at the Basel Music Academy in the master class of concert pianist Rudolf Buchbinder.
2nd prize and Audience Award at the International Piano Competition, Mallorca.
Diploma and Medal at the Maria Canals Piano Competition, Barcelona.
3rd prize and Interpretation Prize for Contemporary Music at the International Piano Competition Son Altesse Royal, Morocco.
1st prize at the renowned piano competition “Kurt Leimer” in Zurich.

My piano and me

An almost impossible love story

I was only 5 when I discovered my love for the piano. My mother used to go a lot to the opera and concerts back then. One day, she decided that I was old enough to accompany her. I enthusiastically agreed, and a few hours later, I was sitting in a concert hall. I will never forget the moment when the pianist struck the first keys. Because that was the moment when I knew what I wanted to become: a pianist. This wish was almost unreachable, though. In the 1980s, there didn’t exist many pianos in Bulgaria. And the few that did exist were incredibly expensive. The situation seemed hopeless to me. Although I couldn't stop dreaming about a future as a pianist, Ididn't tell anyone about it – until that night: Once again, my thoughts about playing the piano kept me awake.But unlike the weeks and months before, I suddenly realized that things couldn’t go on like this.So, I gathered all my courage, woke up my mother, and told her about my most ardent desire. When I remember my home in Sofia, I always hear the sound of women’s voices: both grandmas, my mother, my sister, me – we used to sing all the time. My sister was even in the radio choir, what, in those days, was an incredible honor.Still, we were not a family of musicians.The only instrument we had in our house was my grandfather’s violin. Maybe that’s the reason why my parents considered my nocturnal eruption as something special. They seemed to sense how incredibly important it was for me to learn to play the piano. Therefore, they tried the seemingly impossible: They did everything they could to get me a piano, even one of the German brand “Zimmermann”. In the end, it was my grandfather who, for a week, stood in line in front of a music store that only sold Russian pianos.Nonetheless, at the end of that week, he came home with a “Zimmermann”. Of course, my family paid way too much for it. For me, however, my greatest wish became true, and even today I’m incredibly grateful for it. When, thanks to a scholarship from the Gerber-ten Bosch foundation, I came to Switzerland in 2001to work with the famous concert pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, my precious piano stayed in Sofia. There it is until this day. My home is Basel now. But thanks to my “Zimmermann”, I know that music arising from love has the power to overcome any boundaries.