Marietta Petkova is regarded as one of the most authentic masters of the piano. Emotional intensity, a strong and communicative personality, true virtuosity and versatility have melted together into veritable artistry, received with open arms by press and public.
Marietta Petkova was born in Ruse, Bulgaria. She studied at the local conservatory for seven years and graduated in 1986 with the school’s Gold Medal. She then spent a year at the Music Academy Sofia, studying with Lili Atanassova and Gina Tabakova, followed by another two years at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, under Paul Badura-Skoda, who wrote: “Rarely have I had a student in whom intelligence, feeling and technical ability are so perfectly matched. Despite her young age Marietta Petkova is a fully matured artist. When she performs she is completely immersed in the music and thus capable of deeply moving her listeners, including this one.” In 1989/90 Ms Petkova was Resident Artist at The Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. In 1990 she decided to live in Amsterdam, where she studied with Jan Wijn at the Sweelinck Conservatorium, graduating in 1994 with the highest possible distinction. Jan Wijn (in an interview): “Marietta Petkova is a natural born talent. When I heard her play for the first time, I thought that, in a previous life, she must have been a pianist already. The way she put her hands on the piano and treated the keys was very new for me. I had never seen anybody before with so much affinity with music and with the piano itself.” Since 1989, she took lessons with György Sebök (1922-1999) in Amsterdam and Switzerland. Sebök turned out to be an invaluable source of inspiration for her.
Marietta Petkova’s career started by winning numerous prizes at international competitions. She was only 10 years old when she won the Grand Prix of the 1978 National Piano Competition in Bulgaria. This was the first in a series of prizes in Italy (Salerno 1981, Senigallia 1985, Enna 1989 and Cantù 1993), former Czechoslovakia (1st Prize and Tibor Katai Award at the 1983 Virtuosi di Pianoforte Competition), Bulgaria (Sofia 1983, Pleven 1984), Portugal (1987 Vianna da Motta Competition), Austria (1988 Rombro Stepanow Competition in Vienna), Switzerland (2nd finalist at the prestigious 1989 Clara Haskil Competition) and The Netherlands (winner of the 1990 Eduard Flipse Competition -ex aequo-, the Yamaha Music Foundation Europe Award 1993, the 3rd Prize at the 1994 Scheveningen International Music Competition, the Toonkunst Jublieum Prize 1994 and the Helge Domp Prize 1994). In 1993 she was awarded the prestigious title Lauréate Juventus by the European Council’s Nicolas Ledoux Foundation in France.
Marietta Petkova performs all over Europe, in Northern America, and in Japan, mostly with solorecitals and as a soloist with renowned orchestras (Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, Stuttgarter Chamber Orchestra Arcata, Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, Budapest Concert Orchestra, Residentie Orchestra The Hague etc.). Lately she has been invited by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. In February 2006 she gave the Dutch premiere performance of the original version of the 4th Piano Concerto by Rachmaninov, with the Noord Nederlands Orkest. Her concerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw are always sold out. Other halls worth mentioning are: Théâtre de la Ville, Salle Pleyel and Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Beethoven Haus Bonn, National Gallery Washington, Palacio Nuñez Madrid, Tonhalle Zürich, Salle Paderewski Lausanne and Victoria Hall Geneva. Marietta Petkova has performed in various international festivals, such as the ‘Carinthischer Sommer’ in Austria, the festivals of Montreux-Vevey, Saint-Ursanne, Dijon, St. Riquier, Riom, Lille, Paris (Chopin Festival), ‘Juventus’ (Cambrai), the ‘Hohenloher Kultursommer’, the ‘Rotterdam Philharmonic Philips Gergiev Festival’, the ‘Yokohama International Piano Festival’ and the ‘Festival der Zukunft’ in Switzerland. She is also a beloved chamber music partner (for instance with cellists Pieter Wispelwey, Marc Coppey, Timothy Gill and mezzo soprano Cora Burggraaf).
Marietta Petkova is Steinway Artist. For her solo CD’s, she prefers the authenticity of live recordings. The live recordings of her Lausanne recitals, especially those with Rachmaninov’s complete Etudes-Tableaux (1996) and the complete Preludes (2002), were praised world-wide (Répertoire 10, Luister 10, Musica*****).
A compilation of seventeen encores (live in concert) was released in 2005, followed by a recording of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K 271 with the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra (live in Amsterdam). Nevertheless, Ms Petkova did accept offers for studio recordings from Universal Classics in 2006 (Bach transcriptions for piano solo and ‘Arie Antiche’ with mezzo soprano Tania Kross) and from Strengholt United Media in 2008 (songs by Schumann/Heine/Gaaikema with baritone Maarten Koningsberger). Two live cd’s were released by Bloomline in 2010: ‘Ardamente’ and ‘Affettuoso’, containing works by Schumann and Chopin: Fantasies for piano solo and piano concertos with the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michel Tabachnik. Another live cd appeared in 2011: an archive recording of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto with the Ruse Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tsanko Delibozov.