Ivo Venkov was born in Rousse, one of Bulgaria’s most lively music centers, sometimes nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’. He studied piano, theory and orchestral conducting at the Sofia Conservatory.
In 1995 he conducted two chamber operas written by Georgi Kostov. Likewise in 1995 he was appointed principal conductor at the State Opera of Varna; his debut there was Bizet’s ‘Pecheurs de Perles”.
He conducted various symphonic works and works for orchestra and chorus with the Sofia Symphony Orchestra and toured with them to Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Japan and Spain. In January 1996 he obtained his degree in orchestral conducting magna cum laude. One year later he went to the ‘Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst” in Graz, Austria, to further polish his art.
He made his Belgian debut in 1998, conducting a number of operettas, as well as at the head of the ‘Brussels Youth Orchestra’.
In September of that same year he was named conductor of the Antwerp orchestra for young people, the ‘Jeugd en Muziek’ Orchestra. He has conducted the
Frankfurter Museumorchester, The Hague Philharmonic (Residentieorkest Den Haag; 2006), and the Brussels Philharmonic (Vlaams Radio Orkest). He has been Walter Weller’s assistant at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders (deFilharmonie) and he has toured Flanders with the Symphony Orchestra Flanders.
With the Brussels Philharmonic he has recorded Jules Strens’s ‘Ensorciana’ on the CD ‘Bonjour Monsieur Ensor’.
In May 2004 Ivo Venkov won the Second Prize at the International Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, organized by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. In May 2004 his performance of Debussy’s ‘La Mer’ gained him the first prize at the Frankfurt International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti.
Currently Ivo Venkov is a professor of conducting at the Royal Conservatory of Atwerp.