The Stankovs are the third generation of musicians in their family who are rooted in the finest musical traditions of their native Bulgaria.
Since settling in the UK, they have performed individually and together to great critical acclaim at London's major chamber music venues including the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, St-Martin-in-The-Fields, King’s Place and the Purcell Room, and at the Royal Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Glasgow Concert Hall, St. George’s Hall, and De Montfort Hall.
The Stankov brothers recently recorded an album of two concertos by Mendelssohn with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the Meridian Label. The recording has been praised as one of '...dazzling virtuosity...' (Classical Music Daily), and '...a disc to treasure...' (MusicWeb International). The disc has been labelled as HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by Classical Music Daily, and RECOMMENDED by MusicWeb International.
The Ensemble's debut recording Musical Evenings with Stankov Ensemble was rated FIVE STARS by the critic James Palmer in Musical Opinion and was enthusiastically recommended as a ‘…surprisingly successful and very well recorded disk…’ The album was highly praised in a number of specialist music publications stating that '…the performances are always of a high standard and do much to both move and charm…' (Planet Hugill), and '…the recording quality is excellent and the performances technically impeccable and deeply committed...' (MusicWeb International).
'....a lovely sense of dialogue between the two soloists. This is particularly evident in moments of almost chamber-like delicacy such as the Recitative in the opening Allegro movement or in the equally enchanting fantasy-like middle section of the second movement’s Adagio in which the violin part floats first above, then later through the numerous pianistic roulades.
For the performance of the (Mendelssohn) Double Concerto alone, perhaps especially in this rarely performed version for full orchestra, I can highly recommend this release. Both artists bring just the right amount of Classical grace and Romantic flair to the work to make the most of it' Fanfare
The Stankov Ensemble have performed as soloists with orchestras in the UK, Spain and Bulgaria such as English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic, and Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Kantorov, Lanzetta, Seghedoni, Dafov, Djouroff, Kamdzhalov, Georgiev, and Alex Ingram, amongst others.
The Ensemble has performed a number of world premieres dedicated especially to them, by composers such as Grammy – nominated Dobrinka Tabakova, Martin Georgiev, Gheorghi Arnaoudov, Georgi Andreev, Gwyn Pritchard, and Marcos Fernandez. Since its launch, the Stankov Ensemble has participated in most of Bulgaria’s major International festivals such as Sofia Music Weeks, Varna Summer, Music Days in Balabanov’s House, and the Sofia Winter Festival, and have performed at a number of music clubs and societies in the UK such as those in Bath, Redbridge and Theydon Bois.
Recent highlights include performances with Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra (New York), Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica do Rio Grande do Norte (Natal, Brazil), Orquesta do Gramado (Brazil), Orquestra da Camera della Sardegna (Italy), Philharmonia Orchestra, and Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra.
Vania’s performances on the opera and concert stage were celebrated by critics and audiences alike.
Vania performed regularly at the Varna State Opera in Bulgaria and for Swansea City Opera in the UK. She participated in many international festivals in Bulgaria, Spain and the UK where she performed the mainstream oratorio, concert and operatic repertoire.
Vania was mentored by Renata Scotto, Montserrat Caballé, and Mirella Freni. She recorded for major Bulgarian and Spanish Television and Radio Channels.
Her debut album Operatic Favourites was critically acclaimed by Music and Vision: 'Here (in Turandot) Vatralova-Stankov sounds a little like Caballé in the role…'
Vania’s rendition of the aria Casta Diva on her album was featured in Liam Gallagher: As It Was Documentary in 2019.
Vania performed her final concerts in 2016 with Sofia Simfonics Orchestra at the National Palace of Culture (NDK) in Sofia, and at the Ancient Amphitheatre in Plovdiv; and with Philharmonia Orchestra at the Barbican in London where Vania shared the stage with violinist Nigel Kennedy.
Vania lost her battle with breast cancer in 2017 at the age of 43 in the prime of her professional career.