According to the music reviews, this Spanish – Bulgarian pianist is endowed with a“great artistic feeling”, and “impeccable technique together with a very fluent and communicative touch”. These qualities have enabled her to perform in the most prestigious concert halls of the five continents in recitals and with orchestras.
She started to study piano at the age of five in Sofia, her hometown. At the age of ten she rendered her first recital and at eleven she played for the first time with an orchestra, performing F. Mendelsohn´s Piano Concerto nº 1.
After finishing studies at the Sofia Musical Institute, she continued at the Bulgarian National Conservatoire under the direction of Bogomil Starshenov. She has also done master–classes with Hans Graf, Lev Vlasenco, Leon Fleisher and Paul Badura-Skoda. Since 1988 she lives in Spain. It was in this country where she met Prof. Joaquín Soriano, with whom studied in the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid, who has been her mentor as regards a real deep approximation to musical performance.
Mariana Gurkova is a prizewinner of numerous national and international competitions: first prizes in Senigalia (Italy), Jacinto Guerrero (Madrid), “Sv, Obretenov” (Bulgaria), VII Jeunesse Musicale Bulgarian National Competition; second prizes in E. Pozzoli (Italy) and Jaen (Spain); third in Jose Iturbi (Spain) and “Paloma O’Shea”, Santander (Spain);etc. Her predilection for Spanish music has led her to win two prizes for its’ best performance, in the Santander and Jose Iturbi international competitions.
She has recorded for Radio and TV Channels, such as Bulgarian RTV, RAI, Radio Melbourne, Spanish RTV, Radio Yokohama, etc. During her concert activities in the most prestigious halls of Spain, such as Auditorio Nacional, Palau de la Música de Valencia, Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, Auditorio de Zaragoza, Auditorio de Murcia, etc., she has performed an extremely extensive piano repertoire, and also more than thirty piano and orchestra works. As well, recitals and concerts in Bulgaria, France,Italy, Germany, Greece, Chesch Republic, USA, Brazil, Mexico, India, Japan, Australia and South Africa. Some of the orchestras she has played with are: Kiev Philharmonic,New Japan Philarmonic, Wienerkammerorchester, RTVE Symphony; Prague Chamber Prchestra, Rubinstein Orchestra of Poland, Sofia Philharmonic, Symphony Orchestra of Pilsen Radio, RAI Milano, Moravian Philharmonic, Timisora Philharmonic, Valencia Symphony Orchestra, Hermitage Chamber Orchestra; “Andres Segovia” Orchestra, all Bulgarian orchestras. She has performed with conductors such as S. Comisiona, Ph. Entremont, R. Stankovski, G. Kostin, A Rahbari, E. García Asensio, M. Galduf, A. Soriano, T Mikelsen, A, Natanek, E. Bauer, G. Pehlivanian, etc.
Her discography includes a variety of styles and Works of Bach, Haydn, Liszt, Chopin, P. Soler, Rachmaninov, Albéniz, M. Franco, M. Martínez Burgos, etc. Her performancesand recording of all Chopin Etudes has been warmly acclaimed by both audience and critics.
Nowadays she combines concert activities with teaching, in national and international master-classes as well being a Head Professor in Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid.