Music critics describe Ivan Donchev as “refined” (Qobuz Magazine), “full with temperament” (Darmstadter Echo), “gifted with impeccable technique and remarkable ability to excite” (Il Cittadino). The legendary pianist Aldo Ciccolini defined him as “an artist gifted with extraordinary musical and instrumental skills”.
Ivan Donchev was born in Burgas (Bulgaria) on 11 August 1981. He began his musical training at the age of five and went on to attend the “Pancho Vladigerov” National Music School as a student of Julia Nenova. Three years later he gave his first public recital. In 1993 – at the age of twelve – he made his concerto debut with Burgas Philharmonic Orchestra performing Haydn’s Piano Concerto in D. Two weeks later he won the First prize with the Special Distinction at the “Svetoslav Obretenov” National Competiton. In 1997 he has been awarded the “Saint Nicholas” scholarship by the city of Burgas.
Ivan Donchev first came to the attention of the international public and critics at the age of 16, when he was awarded the Special prize by the Chopin Society in Darmstadt. The same year he won the 1st prize at the 2nd Piano Competition for German and Austrian Music in Burgas and made his debut at the “Gasteig” concert hall in Munich.
Since then Ivan Donchev has played solo recitals and concerts in leading concert halls throughout Europe, Asia and America. His list of credits include recitals in New York (Merkin Hall), Vienna (Boesendorfer Saall), Moscow (Conservatory, Scriabin Museum), Seoul (Maria Callas Hall, Geumnarae Hall), Berlin (BKI), London (Gustav Holst Hall), Milan (Sala Verdi), Rome (Teatro Palladium, Festival Liszt&Friends), Florence, Montpellier (Festival de Radio France), Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, La folle journée festival in France, San Sepolcro Symphonia Festival in Tuscany, Apollonia Music Festival in Bulgaria and many others.
He has performed with New York Festival Orchestra, Roma Tre Orchestra, Florence Chamber Orchestra, Taranto Symphony Orchestra, Marchigiana Philharmonic, Bari Symphonic Orchestra, Pazardzhik Philharmonic, Kronstadt Philharmoniker, Jeonju Philharmonic, and many others.
Ivan Donchev has performed with many well known conductors such as Geum No-sang, Albert Schweizer, Hideaki Hirai, Ivan Kozhuharov, David Crescenzi, Yordan Dafov, Stefano Trasimeni, Piero Romano, Grigor Palikarov, Giuseppe Lanzetta, Il Ku Lee and many others.
He has received the “Sorrento Classica” prize from the hands of his mentor Aldo Ciccolini and in 2011 they have performed a memorable four hands concert at Fenetrange Music Festival in France.
His repertoire covers many of the most relevant piano works, ranging from Bach and Scarlatti to contemporary composer (he is particulary devoted to Liszt’s and Beethoven’s music).
Donchev has recorded the world premiere of Vito Palumbo’s Quadro Sinfonico Concertante (dedicated to him by the author) and all Tchaykovsky’s piano concertos. In 2011 he has released the complete recording of Liszt’s “Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses” for Sheva Collection. The recording of Beethoven piano and violin sonatas with violinist Ivo Stankov for Gega new was 5 stars awarded by the British magazine “Musical Opinion”. In 2017 he releases fourth album“Live in Montpellier.”
His records include broadcasts for RAI 3, Radio France, Radio Classica, BG National Radio and TV.
In his youth Donchev has distinguished himself as a top prize winner of several international competitions: “Svetoslav Obretenov” – 1994 (Bulgaria); “EMCY” (Dublin) – 1996; “Carl Filtsch“ (Romania) 1997; “Città di Monopoli – Gran Prize Ecomusic” 2000; “Premio Seiler“ (Palermo – 2001); “Sergio Fiorentino” (Morcone 2004) , “Giuseppe Terracciano“ – 2005 and “Società Umanitaria“ (Milan 2008).
Very active in chamber music, he has obtained his master degree at “Santa Cecilia”Conservatory of Music in Rome and holds BM degrees both in classical and jazz piano.
Ivan Donchev regularly gives masterclasses in Italy, Bulgaria, US, South Korea and Japan.
He acts as a jury member in international piano competitions and several of his students have received awards and merits.
Ivan Donchev currently lives in Rome, a city that allows him to follow his numerous interests, ranging from drama to history, to figurative arts, to opera. He is passionate about literature, cinema and martial arts. He has achieved the black belt (1st dan) in Karate.
“An excellent CD..”
“Impeccable technique and great ability to excite”
“Technical brilliance and energy..fingers full of character”
“Elegant approach to the best music of the twentieth century”
“Not only an exceptional talent but also a mature musical personality...”
" One of the best pianists of the moment ".
“Spectacular proof of transcendental pianism ”.
“Refined and concentrated, with a fine sound palette”
" Ivan Donchev is a magnificent pianist. He has a strong virtuoso technique, impeccable taste and a real sense of style in his broad and varied repertoire.
His performances are exciting, full of life and very moving ".
“Great excitement and success”
“Excellent technical quality and sensitivity”
" A superb young virtuoso ".
"Ivan Donchev is gifted with extraordinary musical and instrumental skills".