The Bulgarian-born Irena Manolova is an internationally acclaimed marimba and percussion artist. She performs actively with her marimba project – Lucid Duo in Europe, Asia and Latin America, as well as a guest percussionist in various orchestras, contemporary and chamber music ensembles in Austria.
Irena Manolova and her duo partner – the Polish composer Tomasz Goliński are the first prize winning laureates of the Universal Marimba Competition 2011 in Belgium, praised for their amazing degree of sensitivity to sound. Lucid Duo’s success allows Irena to perform regularly at international festivals and to hold masterclasses worldwide. The duo made an appearance on festivals in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Mexico, amongst which the Kultursommer Wien 2021 Festival ; Ivana Summer Percussion Festival 2021 in Samobor, Croatia; Zivkovic’s International Summer Academy for Marimba & Percussion 2020 in Vienna; Festival Internacional de Marimbistas 2019 in Chiapas, Mexico; Midis-Minimes Festival 2018 in Brussels, Festival de Música Contemporánea de Tenerife 2017, performing at venues as the National Olympics Hall in Tokyo, Dolce Artists Salon in Osaka, Japan; Stadschouwburg Leuven, Belgium; Koszalin Philharmonic Hall, Poland; Auditorio de Tenerife, Spain; Austrian Cultural Forum in Berlin; Palais Rasumofsky in Vienna etc. In the recent years the duo gave lectures in renowned music universities such as the University of Sciences and Arts Chiapas,Mexico; Osaka College of Music, Toho Gakuen School of Music and Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, Japan. Irena’s ensemble was also invited as a guest jury member at the Japan Percussion Association’s Competition 2019 in Saitama.
The marimbist is a winner of numerous solo and chamber music competitions, among which are – the International Marimba Competition in Fermo, Italy (2010); Fidelio Chamber Music Competition in Vienna, Austria (2014&2015); ARTos Soloist Music prize in Antwerp, Belgium (2013); the International Competition Music and Earth in Sofia (2008); Grand Prix Prize at the Balkan Festival Art Amphora in Sofia (2004) etc.
In 2016 she got awarded the Start-Stipendium Scholarship by the Federal Chancellery of Austria, given to outstanding artists and became a fellow of Yordan Kamdzhalov’s Foundation in the same year, which led to completing her specialization with the Japanese legend Keiko Abe at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Japan.
After graduating the National Music School Lubomir Pipkov (2008) in Sofia, Bulgaria, Irena obtained with the greatest distinction her Bachelor Degree of Percussion (2011), her Masters in Marimba (2013) and Masters in Percussion (2014) at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, Belgium, guided by her teachers Ludwig Albert, Lin Chin-Cheng and Nando Russo. As a continuation, Irena specialized with the composer and multi-percussion concert artist Nebojša Živkovic exclusively on his percussion and marimba works at the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna in 2014.
Irena gained her experience as an orchestral percussionist with Ensemble Kontrapunkte, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra Amsterdam, Neue Oper Wien etc.
Irena is Yamaha and Innovative Percussion artist and is currently based in Vienna, Austria.