SALON DE VIRTUOSI
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Lora Tchekoratova's professional journey has been multifaceted. She made her debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC., in 1996 after winning first prize at the Washington International Competition for pianists, where she also received the audience prize and the prize for the youngest finalist. Since then, she has made recital appearances throughout the United States, most notably at the Phillips Collection, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, The Museum of Modern Art, and Allice Tully Hall in New York and Alexandria, Chicago, Miami, and Minneapolis and in major venues in Europe, including in Rome, Monte Carlo, and Prague.
Renowned for her interpretations of the Romantic era repertoire, Ms. Tchekoratova is also an enthusiastic advocate for new music. She has premiered and commissioned numerous contemporary works by American and Bulgarian composers throughout her career. Currently, she is the co-chair of Bulgarian Concert Evenings in New York, a concert series dedicated to the presentation of composers and musicians from Bulgaria. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Fund, the Puffin Foundation, the Arthur Foundation, and the Kittredge Fund have all awarded her grants to present and record lesser-known music from her country. In addition, she has appeared at many venues for new music, starting while a student at Juilliard under the direction of her mentor Joel Sachs, who featured her as a solo artist at the Focus, Summergarden, and Piano Century festivals. Tchekoratova has also performed at the American Composers' Festival in New York's Symphony Space and the Keys to the Future festival for new and recent piano music in Greenwich House and Scandinavia House for the Musicians Club of New York.
Tchekoratova frequently performs music by composer Dobrinka Tabakova. She has presented several concerts and talks featuring the Bulgarian composer's solo piano and chamber music in the United States and Bulgaria. Besides, Lora frequently collaborates with other contemporary artists, writers, and intellectuals to create and present multidisciplinary events and establishments of grants for emerging artists. Such was her collaboration in November of 2017 with the EuropeNow Journal, the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation, and the American Foundation for Bulgaria. The organizations presented contemporary Bulgarian creative minds, including world-renowned writers Georgi Gospodinov (Bulgaria) and Elizabeth Kostova (USA) and celebrated artists Houben R.T., Ani Collier, and Rafaelo Kazakov. The collaboration led to an annual multidisciplinary grant to create contemporary art collaborative works. The Council for European Studies administers the award at Columbia University.
Lora Tchekoratova is a dedicated chamber musician. She frequently performs with her husband, violinist Georgy Valtchev. During the past season, they presented a series of concerts in Toronto, Maryland, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Washington D.C., and their native Bulgaria. In addition, they often work for the World Artists' Experiences in presenting lesser-known music from Bulgaria. Other upcoming collaborations include performances with world-renowned artists: flutist Carol Wincenc, percussionist Svet Stoyanov, violist and composer Kenji Bunch, and cellist Zlatomir Fung. Lora also appears regularly in various chamber music programs with members of the New World Symphony, where she was a fellow from 1999-2001 under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. These collaborations led her to performances in Miami (at the Lincoln Theater), Palm Beach (Kravis Center), and New York (Union Club), as well as on tours in Boston, Long Island, and abroad. She has also been a featured artist at many international festivals, including Kuhmo Nuori Musikii in Finland, Lappland Festspel, and Bastad Festspel in Sweden, Kneisel Hall Blue Hill, Maine, as well as Apolonia, and Sofia Music Weeks in Bulgaria.
In the summer of 2017, Ms. Tchekoratova established the Off the Beaten Path Foundation, a Bulgarian non-profit organization, to bring new collaboration opportunities between Bulgarian and American artists. Her first independent project in Bulgaria is a chamber music festival in the picturesque Rhodope mountains village of Kovachevitsa. The Fifth Edition of the festival will take place in August 2023. It will include many concerts, community and educational outreach initiatives, and the world premiere of a new chamber music work by Dobrinka Tabakova. In addition, she is in charge of the Charitable Society Svetlina for the renovation and preservation of the community center in Kovachevitsa. Future projects include a residency program for young composers and music education projects for the region of South-West Bulgaria.
In addition to performing, Lora spends significant time teaching, mentoring, and promoting gifted classical musicians. In June 2017, she became the Artistic Director of the renowned non-profit organization Salon de Virtuosi, founded by the late concert pianist Charlotte White. The Salon's mission is to seek out the most gifted young artists and support and promote their careers by presenting them in unique venues throughout New York City in the tradition of the 19th Century Salon. Once a year, the Salon awards scholarships and career grants to many young artists. In addition, as a piano pedagogue, Ms. Tchekoratova is a faculty member at the New School's Mannes Prep, where she served as a Piano Department Liaison in 2019-2020.
Lora Tchekoratova began her piano studies at age four and gave her first recital five years later at the State Music School in Sofia, Bulgaria. At age eighteen, she continued her education at The Juilliard School in New York City. She received her Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees as a student of Seymour Lipkin. Other teachers include Leon Fleisher, Lydia Kuteva, Vessela Marinova, Jenny Zaharieva, and Oxana Yablonskaya. She has made numerous recordings for Radio and Television in Bulgaria, Sweden, Finland, and the U.S. Her CD recordings for Gega New, Albany Records, and Naxos have received worldwide critical acclaim.