Iván Szankov was born in Budapest on 7 March 1965. He began playing the violin aged five, before learning the piano. He graduated from the High School of Music in Pécs as a percussionist and double bass player.
In 1986, he earned his first degree at the Debrecen department of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, as a student of Károly Saru. Between 1986 and 1988, he studied at the Sofia Academy of Music in Todor Toshev's post-graduate class, graduating summa cum laude.
In 1988, he was invited to Los Angeles for the LA'88 double bass global meeting, where he took part in courses from the world's leading soloists and teachers.
In 1990, he graduated summa cum laude from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest as a student of Zoltán Tibay.
In 1992, he began working as a double bass teacher at the Debrecen department of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music.
Between 1990 and 1998, he was a member of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and between 1998 and 2006 he was a member of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 2006 he has been the lead double bass player and double bass soloist for the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra.
He has taught at the Pécs College of Music since 2008.
He began a post-graduate course at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 2009.
In 2014, he completed his doctorate (DLA) at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music.
1984 – Debrecen National Collegiate Competition, first place
1985 – Debrecen National Collegiate Competition, first place
1985 – Kroměříž International Competition, second place
1986 – Kroměříž International Competition, second place
1988 – Los Angeles World Competition, fourth place
Iván Sztankov has held a master class in Sofia annually since 2006.
In 2009 he was invited to Columbia, where he held a masterclass with Gary Karr, and was also a member of the jury for the Bogota International Double Bass Competition. In the same country, he also performed Koussevitzky's Double Bass Concerto in F-sharp minor with the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2010, he was invited to Berlin to hold an international master class and perform a solo concert.
To date, Iván Sztankov has released two solo albums with the Hungaroton Classic record label:
1992 – The Virtuoso Double-Bass (HCD 31518)
1997 – Double Bass Parade (HCD 31732)
Both records also featured his own arrangements.
Between 1990 and 1998, Iván Sztankov made numerous recordings for the Hungarian Radio and Hungarian Television that are still regularly broadcast today.