Praised as a ‘unique musical personality’ and a pianist with a ‘golden tone’ (The New York Concert Review), Victoria Tzotzkova is a pianist and researcher whose work moves between performance and research to theorize and share exquisite experiences of musical sound. Also a practitioner of keyboard harmony, Victoria improvises in the spirit of Romantic preluding practices. Victoria holds a PhD in Music from Columbia University and is currently based at MIT. Recent research support includes the Council for the Arts at MIT, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada and the Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative at Harvard University. Performance credits include Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, The Miller Theater and The Iridium in New York City, among other concert performances and experimental projects across North America and Europe.
Praised as a ‘unique musical personality’ and a pianist with a ‘golden tone’ (The New York Concert Review), Victoria Tzotzkova is a pianist and researcher whose work moves between performance and research to theorize and share exquisite experiences of musical sound. Victoria has performed widely, as both recitalist and chamber musician, notably at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall, The Miller Theater, Bechstein Piano Center, The Iridium, Cornelia Street Cafe, SpectrumNYC, the Bulgarian Consulate General in New York, and at numerous other venues in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, and her native Bulgaria. Growing up, Victoria studied at the National Music School in Sofia, performing regularly and making several recordings for the National Television and Radio. She later continued her studies at the Manhattan School of Music with Ms. Rosetta Goodkind, and has also worked with Alexis Weissenberg, Philippe Entremont, Philippe Bianconi, Emile Naoumoff, Herre-Jan Stegenga, Jacob Lateiner, Peter Takacs, Patricia Zander. Victoria has studied in the Nadia Boulanger tradition at the European-American Musical Alliance at Ecole Normale de Musique, Paris, the Academie Boulanger at Chateau de Rangiport and the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France. She is an active practitioner of keyboard harmony and improvises Romantic-style preludes and interludes in the spirit of Romantic preluding practices. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Victoria is co-founder with cellist Kristiana Mihailova of the ClassicArt Chamber Ensemble with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra. Raised in classical performance traditions, Victoria is now also a frequent instigator and collaborator on projects and events that blur boundaries between art and research, move across genres, and invite audiences to become co-creators.
Always anchored in performance experience, Victoria’s academic work is best described as artistic research. Victoria received her PhD from Columbia University, with Professor George E. Lewis as her principal advisor and a doctoral thesis titled Theorizing Pianistic Experience: Tradition, Instrument, Performer, which focuses on tone (sound production) in classical piano performance through perspectives in ethnography, cultural studies, sound studies, and theoretical and experimental research in embodied cognition. Her research work has received support from the Council for the Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada, the Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative at Harvard University and Columbia University’s Reid Hall Institute for Scholars in Paris, France, and has been invited for presentation in different forums, including at Columbia University, Harvard University, Indiana University, the Eastman School of Music in the US, as well as at Cambridge University, Durham University, the Royal College of Music, London, the Institute of Musical Research, University of London, the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe, Germany, and the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, Belgium. Victoria has taught at the Music Departments of Columbia University and Harvard University, and is currently based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an Affiliate Artist.
Victoria’s current and recent projects include the Music Performance Collaborathon, an event of interactive workshop-presentations for performers, researchers and technologists, co-organized with her principal collaborator, architect and acoustician Dr. Fiona Smyth; an audio-piece and presentation-performance series foregrounding nuance in the sounds we hear, also with Dr. Fiona Smyth; an auto-ethnographic research-performance program on Ligeti’s Three Movements for Two Pianos with pianists Steven Beck and Dr. Hubert Ho; an interactive workshop-performance series with Bulgarian folk music singer Elitza Stoyneva on resonances between Bulgarian folk and art music; a study of rehearsal and performance experience with improvised and non-improvised music, with composer Joshua Hahn and a brass quintet lead by Jason Huffman; a program with the Chromos Collaborative Orchestra and Bulgarian dancer and choreographer Petar Petrov, based around Thracian Dances, a cycle of orchestral tableaux pieces by Bulgarian composer Petko Stainoff. More traditional current projects include a chapter towards the Routhledge Companion to Autoethnography in Music Studies and a recording for the Bulgarian Radio of the Dohnányí sextet Opus 37 with the ClassicArt Ensemble.