Bulgarian pianist Raya Kostova began playing the piano at the age of four. At the early age of 11 she made her concerto debut with the Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra playing Bach – Piano Concerto in D. While studying at the National School of Arts in her home city of Varna she became a laureate of few piano competition, she was awarded a prize by the Mayor for her personal achievements, a Diploma for excellence by the Minister of Culture and made her first appearance with the Varna Symphony Orchestra. She was also able to work with musicians such as Boris Bloch and Yuri Bukov.
Raya received the Elsie Prater Award in 2009 to study at the Royal Academy of Music where she was taught by Tatiana Sarkissova and participated in many major master classes with acclaimed musicians like Pascal Devoyon, Stephen Hough, Thomas Brandis and Robert Cohen. She has already performed in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues such as the Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, St James’s Piccadilly and Holywell Music Room. Raya is regular guest of the National Bulgarian radio and gives concerts throughout the UK and Europe, recently performing recitals for the ‘Armonie della Magna Graecia’ festival in Italy.
In 2012 Raya was awarded the Cedar Trust Award to study at the Britten-Pears Russian Song Masterclass with Joan Rogers and Roger Vignoles and a scholarship to participate in Oxford Lieder Master Course led by Wolfgang Holzmair. In the summer she was given the Dartington Trust scholarship to study with Stephen Kovacevich as part of Dartington International Summer School.
In 2013, Raya was awarded the Kathleen Creed and TCL scholarships to take up her place on the Postgraduate Diploma course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music to study with Mikhail Kazakevich and is continuing her studies on the Artist Diploma course this year.She is generously supported by the Sheepdrove Trust and is a Beverley Creed Scholar. In March 2015 Raya won the prestigious Una Clark Young Artist Competition and performed Chopin’s 1st Piano concerto with the Guildford Symphony Orchestra and in April 2015 she won the Elisabeth Schumann Lieder Competition with Felix Kemp. Raya is a keen chamber musician and performs regularly with her husband, baritone Thomas Humphreys.