“Daniela Iolkicheva is an extraordinary harpist with a highly consolidated technique and enchanting musicality. “ Michael Plasson
Daniela was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. At the age of 9, she started to study the piano and five years later, commenced her harp studies in the L. Pipkov Musical Institute with Constance Karadjova. In 1980, she received the harp position in the Bulgarian PIONER Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 1984, Daniela commenced her studies in the Sofia Conservatoire. A year later, she won a scholarship to study at the Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire in St. Petersburg, where, in 1990 and under the direction of the renowned harpist Tatiana Tauer, she obtained a PhD in Harp studies (as the first study instrument) and a further PhD in Piano studies (as a second study instrument), graduating with first-class honours (Summa Cum Laude).
The following prizes Daniela has won are worth noting: Silver medal in the 7th Bulgarian National Harp Competition (1985), where she also received the Special Prize for the Youngest Participant; she was a prize winner in the International Festivals in Moscow and St. Petersburg (1988); the Andrés Segovia and José Miguel Ruiz Morales prize as the most distinguished student in the Música en Compostela competition, awarded by the prestigious harpist Nicanor Zabaleta; the Jakez François 1st prize in the 1st Iberian Chamber Music with Harp Competition in Madrid (2004), with violinist Sergei Teslia.
In 1991, Daniela received the harp soloist position in the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra. Since 2002, she has been the harp tutor at the Special School for Music at San Francisco de Paula School in Seville. She also gives master classes sponsored by grants awarded by the Junta de Andalucía (the Andalusian regional government) and the Asociación Amigos de la ROSS (the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra Fellowship). In 2017, she was named as the tenured harp lecturer for the Master’s degree in Soloist Performance, speciality: Harp Studies at the KATARINA GURSKA Centre for Higher Musical Education, Madrid.
Since 2002, Daniela has led an intensely active career as a soloist and also in chamber music duos with María Antonia Rodríguez, flute soloist in the RTVE Symphony Orchestra. In 2004, in conjunction with Don José Enrique Ayarra, Seville Cathedral’s principal organist, Daniela performed a concert of 19th and 20th century music with an electroacoustic harp in the aforementioned cathedral. This repertoire had never before been performed with this type of harp. For the occasion, the instrument was loaned by the Victor Salvi Foundation.
Composers such as Antonio Noguera, Esteban Sanz Vélez, Julio Lozano, Martín Zalba, Luis Ignacio Marín and Gualberto García have dedicated works to her. Daniela has recorded with many different record labels for Bulgarian, Russian, Spanish and Italian national radio and television broadcasters. She frequently performs in recitals, chamber ensembles in Europe, the USA, Russia and Asia.
Furthermore, she performs with highly prestigious orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (London), the State Orchestra of St. Petersburg, the Symphony Orchestra of India, the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra working with directors such as Maazel, Muti, Rostropovich, Plasson, Jansons, Axelrod etc. In addition, Daniela frequently performs at festivals, for instance: the Santander International Festival, the Festival of Granada, Clásicos en Verano and the Festival Dei Due Mondi – Spoleto
“Having the opportunity to enjoy Iolkicheva’s solo performances is an unforgettable experience thanks to the beauty she transfers to the harp’s sound and the poetic phrasing, as exhibited in the nuanced passage of harmonics in the harp cadenza of Ravel’s Introduction et Allegro.” -Andrés Moreno Mengibar, Diario de Sevilla
“The excellent harpist Daniela Iolkicheva clearly displayed her virtuosity and interpretive talent in the noteworthy performances of the popular Händel Concert (arranged for harp by Marcel Grandjany) and the subtle and suggestive Debussy Trio-Sonata.” - Justo Romero, Diario de Sevilla