“Impressive playing…” The Strad Magazine
Cellist Lachezar Kostov and pianist Viktor Valkov have performed together for more than 15 years and have appeared at concert venues in the USA, Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria. In 2002 they were named winners of the “Grand Prix of the Music and Earth Competition” in Sofia, Bulgaria. After their early success the Duo performed a series of thematic concerts devoted to the music of Hungary, France, Germany, and Russia. Prior to establishing themselves in the USA Kostov and Valkov appeared in several European festivals, such as “Russian Music Days” in Dortmund, Germany.
The Duo’s first major performance in New York City was sponsored by the “Bulgarian Treasures” foundation and took place in Weill Recital Hall in 2008. Following their critically acclaimed debut at New York’s Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2009, the Duo has received high accolades for their inspired and unique performances. Critic Harris Goldsmith described them as “prodigiously skilled protagonists” and praised their “formidable virtuosity”. Devoted to rediscovering rarely performed works from the cello and piano repertoire, they perform compositions by Dmitri Kabalevsky, Camille Saint-Saens and Nikolay Roslavets, as well as many arrangements and transcriptions from the violin, viola, and piano repertoire. Some of the most successful arrangements performed by the Kostov-Valkov duo are Robert Schumann’s Violin Sonata in A minor, the Hungarian Dance No.5 by Brahms, Roslavets’ Viola Sonata, and the famous Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 by Franz Liszt. In 2010 Mr. Kostov and Mr. Valkov toured several German cities including Hasselburg, Waldorf, and Bad Saeckingen, performing to sold-out halls in celebration of the 200th birth anniversaries of Chopin and Schumann.
In October 2011 the duo entered the Fifth Liszt-Garrison International Piano and Duo Competition of the American Liszt Society at Baltimore-Washington, USA. The Kostov-Valkov duo was unanimously awarded the First Prize, as well as Best Interpretation Awards for the Performance of a Work by an American composer for John Corigliano’s “Phantasmagoria”, and for the Performance of a Work by Franz Liszt for their own arrangement of the composer’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2”. In addition to several concert engagements, the Lachezar Kostov & Viktor Valkov duo received the event’s special 2011 FRANZ LISZT AWARD for “Exceptional Performance on the Franz Liszt Bicentennial Year Celebration”.
In 2013 the Kostov-Valkov Duo made appearances in several US states, including Maryland, Washington, and Texas. A Japanese tour in 2014 took them to Tokyo, Kanaya, and Okayama.
The Kostov-Valkov Duo have so far released two recordings. The first one, published by NAXOS in 2010, received favorable reviews by the American Record Guide, Strad Magazine, and others, and features the complete music for cello and piano of Nikolay Roslavets. Their second recording came out of Navona Records in 2015, and includes their own transcriptions virtuosic piano pieces by Franz Liszt.
In Germany the duo is represented by the Pro-Piano Management.
Acclaim for the Kostov-Valkov Duo
“The performances here are impressively gutsy and virtuoso…so these are your best bet. It is worth your while; Roslavets is a strong composer.”
American Record Guide, July 2011
“The Bulgarian duo of the cellist, Lachezar Kostov, and pianist, Viktor Valkov, being passionate advocates, playing some exceedingly difficult music for both instruments with superb dexterity and brilliance, the piano going way beyond and accompanying role. That display alone is worth the price of a splendidly recorded release.”
David’s Review Corner, March 2011
“As though unleashed, both cellist and pianist gave it their all. Such deep, thunderous sounds from both the cello, and exuberant expression from the piano seemed unimaginable.”
Rhein-Neckar Zeitung, October 2010
“The two musicians, originally from Bulgaria allowed the high romanticism to bloom from the very start… in order to culminate in the performance of Chopin’s cello Sonata. One could hardly imagine a more inspiring and compelling performance of this particular work by Chopin.”
Bad Saeckinger Sudkurier, October 2010