SALON DE VIRTUOSI
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Lora Tchekoratova's professional journey has been multifaceted.
At age 21, she won first prize at the Washington International Competition for pianists, where she was also awarded the audience prize and the prize for the youngest finalist. Subsequently, Ms. Tchekoratova made her debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC., which was followed by recital appearances throughout the United States. Her most notable concerts took place at the Phillips Collection (broadcast over WGTS-FM), Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Allice Tully Hall as well as in Alexandria (V.A.), Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York. After that, she became a sought-after soloist and recitalist, frequently performing in major venues throughout the world.
Renowned for her interpretations of the Romantic era repertoire, Ms. Tchekoratova is also an active advocate of new music. She has premiered numerous contemporary works by American and Bulgarian composers. Currently, she is the co-chair of Bulgarian Concert Evenings in New York, a concert series dedicated to the presentation of music and musicians from Bulgaria. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Fund, the Puffin Foundation, the Arthur Foundation, and the Kittredge Fund have all awarded her grants for the presentation of lesser-known music from her country. Also, she has presented Bulgarian music on tour with her husband, the noted Bulgarian violinist Georgy Valtchev, represented by the organization World Artists Experiences in Washington, D.C. She has appeared at many festivals for new music, starting while a student at Juilliard under the direction of her mentor Joel Sachs, who presented her at the festivals Focus, Summergarden, and Piano Century at the Juilliard Theater, MoMA, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Tchekoratova 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 New York.
Tchekoratova is a champion of composer Dobrinka Tabakova. Recently she 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 in the creation and presentation of 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. They presented contemporary Bulgarian creative minds, including world-renowned writers Georgi Gospodinov and Elizabeth Kostova and celebrated artists Houben R.T., Ani Collier, and Rafaelo Kazakov. The collaboration led to the establishment of an annual multidisciplinary grant for the creation of 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. Other upcoming collaborations include performances with world-renowned artists: flutist Carol Wincenc, percussionist Svet Stoyanov, 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 for two seasons under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. These collaborations led her to performances in Miami (at the Lincoln Theater), Palm Beach (Kravis Center), New York (Union Club), as well as on tours in Boston, Long Island, and abroad in Prague, Rome, and Monte Carlo. 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 in 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 with the mission of bringing new opportunities for chamber music collaborations between Bulgarian and American artists. Her first independent project in Bulgaria is a chamber music festival in the picturesque Rhodope mountains village Kovachevitsa. The third edition of the festival will take place in August, 2021.
In addition to performing, Lora spends significant time devoted to teaching, mentoring, and promoting extraordinarily gifted classical musicians from around the world. In June of 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 seeks out the most gifted young artists and to support and promote their careers by presenting them in unique venues throughout New York City in the tradition of the 19th Century Salon as well as awarding them scholarships and career grants. As a piano pedagogue, Ms. Tchekoratova is a sought-after faculty member at the New School's Mannes Prep, where she serves as Piano Department Liaison.
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, where 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.
Lora writes a weekly blog on Medium under the pen name Gloria and Isabel.