Rossen Milanov Named Next Music Director of the Columbus Symphony

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Rossen Milanov Named Next Music Director of the Columbus Symphony


The Columbus Symphony today announced the selection of Rossen Milanov as the next Columbus Symphony Music Director. The 49-year-old Bulgarian native has been contracted to lead the CSO for four years beginning with the 2015-16 season. Until then, Milanov will be recognized as Music Director Designee, and will lead two CSO programs in the 2014-15 season—Organ Symphony (January 30 & 31) and Bolero & Percussion (March 20 & 21).


Currently Music Director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C (New Jersey), and Principal Conductor of Orquesta Sinfoìnica del Principado de Asturias (Spain), Milanov’s responsibilities with the CSO will include repertoire selection, programming, and artistic direction of the organization, as well as building and sustaining the Symphony’s visibility and involvement in the community.


Milanov, who conducted the CSO’s Folk Roots program in January 2012 and a Happy Hour concert in March 2014, was selected following a comprehensive 10-month search. He will maintain a residence in Columbus for the length of his tenure with the organization.


“We are excited to welcome Maestro Milanov to our Columbus community! He brings a passion, creativity, and vision to symphonic music that, when coupled with our extraordinary talented group of musicians, will enable the CSO to deepen its pursuit of artistic excellence and its connection with the community,” stated Lisa Barton, CSO Board Chair. “Under Milanov’s leadership, the CSO will begin an exciting new chapter of musical innovation that will welcome both long-time supporters and newcomers alike.”


“We are thrilled to welcome a music director interested in becoming involved with all aspects of the CSO including Masterworks, Pops, Picnic with the Pops, Side-by-Side, and our youth orchestras,” said Bill Conner, CSO Managing Director and CEO. “Columbus will draw great benefit from the new world-class face of the symphony as he becomes an integral part of our arts infrastructure.”


“The musicians of the Columbus Symphony are eagerly looking forward to working with Maestro Milanov,” stated Betsy Sturdevant, Principal Bassoonist and Chair of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Committee. “His wide-ranging experience, interests, and talents are sure to benefit and inspire not only the musicians, but the entire central Ohio community.”


About Rossen Milanov

Milanov has collaborated with some of the world’s preeminent artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Christian Tetzlaff, and Andreì Watts, as well as with such internationally esteemed vocalists as Nicolai Ghiaurov, Vesselina Kasarova, Angela Meade, Measha Brueggergosman, Anne Schwanewilms, and Krassimira Stoyanova. During his 11-year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra, he conducted more than 200 performances as associate conductor and artistic director of the orchestra’s summer home at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts


A well-known figure in North America, Milanov has appeared with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Indianapolis, Calgary, Alabama, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Seattle, and Oregon, among others. His festival appearances include Aspen, Chautauqua, the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival, Grand Teton, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.


Internationally, he has collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Komische Oper Berlin, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Residentie Orkest, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Lucerne, Mexico, Colombia, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Auckland, and New Zealand. On his regular tours to the Far East, he has appeared with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, China Philharmonic, and Singapore Symphony.


Noted for his versatility, Milanov is also a welcome presence in the worlds of opera and ballet. He has worked with opera companies including the Komische Oper Berlin (Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), the Philadelphia Orchestra (Puccini’s La bohème), and Curtis Opera Theatre (Dominick Argento’s Postcard from Morocco). In ballet, he has collaborated with leading choreographers Mats Ek (Zurich Opera), Sabrina Matthews and Nils Christe (Stockholm’s Royal Ballet), Benjamin Millepied and Andonis Foniadakis (Geneva Opera), and Jorma Elo (Pennsylvania Ballet).


Milanov’s passion for new music has resulted in numerous world premieres of works by composers including Richard Danielpour, Paul Moravec, Nicolas Maw, and Gabriel Prokofiev. He also collaborates with emerging composers through Symphony in C’s annual Young Composers Competition. A committed supporter of youth and music, he regularly conducts at the Curtis Institute of Music and appears each season at Carnegie Hall for “Link Up,” a program supported and promoted by the Weill Music Institute that offers more than 15,000 children in grades 3–5 the opportunity to perform with a professional orchestra. He has led tours with the Australian and New Zealand Youth Orchestras, was Music Director of the Chicago Youth Symphony (1997–2001), and served as conductor of the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Orchestra.


Milanov studied conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, where he received the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship. He studied oboe and orchestral conducting at the Bulgarian National Academy of Music, and holds a Master’s degree in oboe performance from Duquesne University. As the former chief conductor of the Bulgarian National Radio Orchestra (2003-08) and Music Director of New Symphony Orchestra, Sofia (1997-2013), he received the Bulgarian Ministry’s Award for Extraordinary Contribution to Bulgarian Culture. He was named Bulgaria’s Musician of the Year in 2005, and won an ASCAP award in 2011 for his programming with Princeton Symphony Orchestra




The CSO is grateful for the financial support provided by Franklin County and the City of Columbus. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, education excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The CSO also appreciates the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, supporting the city’s artists and arts organizations since 1973, and the Charlotte R. Haller, James W. Overstreet, Kenneth L. Coe, and Jack Barrow funds of The Columbus Foundation, assisting donors and others in strengthening our community for the benefit of all its citizens.


About the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1951, the Columbus Symphony is the longest-running, professional symphony in central Ohio. Through an array of innovative artistic, educational, and community outreach programming, the Columbus Symphony is reaching an expanding, more diverse audience each year. This season, the Columbus Symphony will share classical music with more than 175,000 people in central Ohio through concerts, radio broadcasts, and special programming. For more information, visit

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