News Releases

Bulgarian pianist to be featured in Lander's 2009-10 Piano Festival

October 07, 2009

Since 2003, Lander University's Department of Music has been featuring a young pianist each year as part of its Emerging Keyboard Artist Recital. Initiated by Drs. Anthony and Marianne Lenti, Lander professors emeritus of music, the recital has showcased performers such as Denis Plutalov of Russia, Thomas Chiron of France, Paul Gillies of the United States and Hsin'I Huang of Taiwan.

This year's concert continues with the international nature of the recitals by featuring Bulgarian pianist Yoana Kyurkchieva, Monday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. in Lander's Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

Kyurkchieva's program will encompass more than two centuries of music for piano, including: a suite of Bach from the early 18th century; one of Beethoven's last piano sonatas; a set of variations by the 20th-century Russian composer Rachmaninoff, based interestingly on a theme by a 17th-century Italian; and a sampling of preludes by Shostakovich.

Kyurkchieva began playing the piano at the age of 4. She gave her first performance at the age of 8, and performed in her first concert with an orchestra at the age of 11. She graduated with distinction from the National School of Arts in Rousse, Bulgaria, and continued her education at the National Music Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she received a bachelor's of music and a master's of music in piano performance, chamber music, accompaniment and pedagogy. While completing her Master of Music degree in Bulgaria, Kyurkchieva won a full scholarship to study at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), where she earned her second Master of Music degree while studying under Eric Larsen. She is now studying for her Professional Artist Certificate at UNCSA.

Kyurkchieva is a prize winner at several piano competitions in Europe and the U.S. and was a soloist with: the Classic St. Petersburg Orchestra, Russia; the Rousse Orchestra, Bulgaria; the Schoumen Orchestra, Bulgaria; and the Academy Orchestra, Bulgaria. She participated in a variety of festivals and master classes with Menahem Pressler, Boris Bloch, Lazar Berman, Oxana Yablonskaya, Yania Aubakirova, Tamara Poddubnaya, Rian de Waal and Bozhidar Noev. Kyurkchieva has performed throughout Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Holland, Greece, Russia and the United States. She has also recorded for the Bulgarian Radio and Bulgarian National Television.

The annual emerging artist performance is part of a yearlong display of talented musicians in the area of piano performance. Known as the Lander Piano Festival, the series will conclude in the spring with an ensemble performance by Lander faculty and students.

For information call the Lander box office at 864-388-8800. Information about upcoming events at Lander is also available on the university's Web site,, then click on calendars.