A native of Bulgaria, Ivan Lalev began studying the cello at the age of ten with his father Hristo Lalev, the principal cellist of the Sophia Philharmonic. In 1991 he graduated from the Sofia School of Music and entered the Bulgarian State Conservatory. Ivan went to the United States in 1993 to study with Felice Magendanz at the University of Central Arkansas, and later continued his studies at Louisiana State University under the tutelage of Dennis Parker.
Mr. Lalev has given solo recitals and chamber performances throughout the United States and Europe. He has appeared as a soloist with the North Arkansas Symphony, LSU Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Sinfonietta, and the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, Ivan gave his New York debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, performing two pieces by Dinos Constantinides: Concerto for Cello, and Music for Two for cello and oboe, a world premiere dedicated to the performers.
Some of the competitions he has won include the Svetoslav Obretenov International Competition in Bulgaria, the Beethoven’s Club Young Artist Competition in Memphis, and the LSU Concerto Competition. In 1999, as a member of the Bulgarian String Quartet, he was awarded first prize at the Music Teachers National Chamber Music Competition in Los Angeles.
Mr. Lalev served as the Principal Cellist of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Sinfonieta, Opera Louisiene, the Saint Louis Chamber Orchestra, and has often played in the cello section of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. As an orchestral musician, Ivan has worked with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Roberto Abbado, Peter Oundjian, Hugh Wolf, James Paul, Itzhak Perlman, and Jan Pascal Tortelier.
Ivan Lalev is currently the Principal cellist of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and a member of the newly founded string quartet “Philharmonica”.