Since her student days in New York, Hamburg and Weimar (studying with the likes of Oxana Yablonskaya, Evgeni Koroliov, Dalton Baldwin and Menachem Pressler), the German-Bulgarian pianist Mariana Popova has garnered numerous international competition prizes, such as at the Elise Meyer Piano Competition and the Köster Klassik Chamber Music Competition (Hamburg), the International Johannes Brahms Lieder Competition (Pörtschach), the Concours International de Musique de Chambre (Lyon), the International Maria Canals Piano Competition (Barcelona) and the Summit Music Festival Piano Competition (New York). In 2018 the Lieder recording she made with soprano Narea Son was awarded the Gold Prize at the 3rd Manhattan International Music Competition.
Mariana Popovaʼs concert schedule has taken her as a Lieder accompanist, chamber musician and soloist to many European countries, to Russia, China and the USA, as well as to international festivals such as the Aarhus Festival for New Music (Denmark), Varna Summer (Bulgaria), Heures Musicales de Biot (France) and the Schwetzingen Music Festival. In a series of Hamburg Lieder recitals initiated by the pianist in 2010 to mark the bicentenary of Robert Schumannʼs birth, she performed the key art songs of Robert and his wife Clara with eight different singing partners. In the summer of 2012 Mariana Popova recorded a CD of Lieder from the Baltic nations, a commission from the German Foreign Office when Germany held the presidency of the Council of the Baltic States.
She enjoys musical partnerships with many artists including Christiane Karg, Hanna Herfurtner, Lini Gong, Judith Thielsen, Lisa Schmalz, Huiling Zhu, Yvi Jänicke, Dominik Köninger, Renate Behle, Geert Smits, Hansung Yoo, Boglárka Pecze, Julius Bekesch, Hannah Weber and Christian Quadflieg. She has made CD recordings and numerous radio and TV recordings in Bulgaria, Germany (NDR, MDR, SWR), and France (Radio France).
Moreover, collaborations with composers such as Peter Ruzicka, Hans Zender, Ernst Ludwig Leitner, Fredrik Schwenk, Elmar Lampson, Johannes Boris Borowski, Ruta Paidere and Khadija Zeynalova document her keen interest in new music.
Mariana Popova has been official accompanist at the singing master classes of Brigitte Fassbaender, Reri Grist, Angela Denoke, Margreet Honig, Christiane Iven and Robert Holl. Since 2007 she has been a lecturer for vocal accompaniment at the College of Music and Drama in Hamburg, where since 2017 she has headed a new training class for “vocal chamber music”. In 2013 Mariana Popova was a guest lecturer for Lieder interpretation at the Conservatoire in Shanghai, China.