Festival Opening Concert, Cumberland Orchestra:
Octavio Más-Arocas, SSMF Conductor In-Residence
Hike to a Concert
Octavio Más-Arocas, Conductor In-Residence!
Sewanee Summer Music Festival
Octavio Más-Arocas is a versatile and dynamic conductor whose achievements demonstrate his talent and musicianship.
Chosen by Kurt Masur, Mr. Más-Arocas was awarded the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship. Consequently, in September 2011 he traveled to Europe and worked as Maestro Masur’s assistant with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Helsinki Radio Orchestra. He also made his German conducting debut conducting the Leipziger Symphonieorchester sharing the podium in a concert with Maestro Masur. The offer came after Mr. Más-Arocas’ New York debut concert sharing the podium with Maestro Masur and the Manhattan School of Music Symphony.
An alumnus of the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, Mr. Más-Arocas won the Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize in 2008 awarded by David Zinman. He is also the recipient of the 2007 Thelma A. Robinson Award from the Conductors Guild, a Prize Winner of the 2005 Third European Conductors Competition, and a winner of the National Youth Orchestra of Spain Conductors Competition. Mr. Más-Arocas has recently been invited to conduct the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra during the League of American Orchestras National Conference in Dallas.
In the last few years Mr. Más-Arocas has conducted orchestra across North and South America and Europe including the Leipziger Symphonieorchester in Germany, the Spokane, Toledo, Phoenix, Memphis, Kansas City, and San Antonio Symphonies, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Manhatan School of Music Symphony, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Interlochen Philharmonic, the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico Philharmonic, the Rosario Symphony in Argentina, Kharkov Symphony in Ukraine, the National Youth Orchestras of Portugal and Spain, the Pescara Symphony in Italy, the Amsterdam Brass in the Netherlands, and the Ciudad Alcala de Henares Symphony.
Mr. Más Arocas has been assistant conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra, which he conducted in subscription, family, and pops concerts. With the NRO he worked closely with guest artists and conductors such as Leonard Slatkin. Other festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, and the Interlochen Music Festival. This summer he will conduct at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, at the Brazilian Winter Festival in Campinas, Brazil, and three concerts at the Interlochen Music Festival.
Mr. Más-Arocas has recently been named Director of Orchestras and Conductor of Opera at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, Lawrence University. Beginning in September 2012 he will conduct and direct the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra, and opera productions.
In 2008 Mr. Más Arocas was named Music Director and Conductor of the renowned Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. Since his appointment with the IAA Orchestra his performances have been featured on National Public Radio and have been streamed online. Mr. Más Arocas and the IAA have collaborated with such outstanding and diverse musicians as conductor Leonard Slatkin, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky, cellist Joshua Roman, Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal tubist Carol Jantsch, and the Latin band Tiempo Libre, among others. Last March Mr. Más-Arocas lead the IAA Orchestra on a national tour that included concerts in New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, and Grand Rapids. In 2011, Mr. Más-Arocas co-hosted a new music festival at Interlochen that featured guest composer Steven Stucky. His exciting programming with the IAA Orchestra has included several premieres and commissions as well as fully staged ballets and major works of the choral-orchestral repertory.
Mr. Más Arocas served as assistant conductor at the Madrid Royal Opera House and conducted fully staged opera productions with the Bowling Green State University Opera. He leaded two national tours with the National Youth Orchestra “Templarios” of Portugal, served as member of the National Youth Orchestra of Spain conducting staff, and as assistant conductor of the Bowling Green Philharmonia, and was a regular guest conductor of the BG New Music Ensemble.
For two years, Mr. Más-Arocas studied conducting at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen with David Zinman who awarded him the Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize. After a very successful workshop with Kurt Masur, the Maestro invited Mr. Más-Arocas to be his apprentice in Europe. Mr. Más-Arocas has also worked with other leading conductors and teachers such as Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Christoph Eschenbach, James Conlon, James Depreist, Jesús Lopez-Cobos, Gustav Meier, and Larry Rachleff. Mr. Más-Arocas holds degrees from Bard College in New York where he studied with Harold Farberman, the Accademia Musicale Pescarese in Italy with Gilberto Serembe, and has pursued doctoral studies at Bowling Green State University with Emily Freeman Brown.
An enthusiastic advocate of new music, Mr. Más Arocas has commissioned and premiered numerous works and was himself the recipient of the Bowling Green Composition Prize in 2007. He has closely worked with such composers as Steven Stucky, Jennifer Higdon, Joan Tower, Samuel Adler, Chen Yi, Michael Daugherty, and John Harbison among others.
Kenneth Kiesler, Week 1 Guest Conductor
Born of French and Austrian descent in New York City, Maestro Kenneth Kiesler leads a highly successful international career as a professional symphony orchestra and opera conductor. Recent concert engagements include televised concerts in Mexico and Mahler’s Sixth Symphony in Brazil. Maestro Kiesler is also one of the world’s most sought after and highly regarded teachers and mentors of conductors.
As the award winning Music Director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra from 1980 to 2000, Maestro Kiesler conducted concerts in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and was founder of both the Illinois Chamber Orchestra and Illinois Symphony Chorus. The Illinois Symphony Orchestra named him Conductor Laureate for life, and from 2009 to 2011 he served as the orchestra’s Music Advisor. He was also Music Director of the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Saint Cecilia Orchestra.
Maestro Kiesler has conducted orchestras on three continents, including the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the Chicago Symphony at Orchestra Hall, the Chamber Orchestra of Paris, and the orchestras of Utah, Detroit, New Jersey, Florida, Indianapolis, São Paulo, Jerusalem, Sofia, Haifa, Osaka, Puerto Rico, Daejeon and Pusan in Korea, Hang Zhou in China, Memphis, San Diego, Albany, Virginia, Omaha, Fresno, Long Beach, Long Island, Portland, and at the Aspen, Atlantic, Meadowbrook, Skaneateles, Sewanee and Breckenridge festivals.
A passionate advocate for new music and living composers, he has led premieres by Evan Chambers, Steven Stucky, Gunther Schuller, Leslie Bassett, Ben Johnston, Aharon Harlap, Gabriela Lena Frank, Kristin Kuster, Steven Rush, and Paul Brantley. He is also has performed several long lost pieces including a composer authorized first performance of Gershwin’s original jazz-band score of Rhapsody in Blue since 1925. Other landmark performances include the U.S. Premiere of Mendelssohn’s Third Piano Concerto, the world premiere of James P. Johnson’s The Dreamy Kid, and the first performance since 1940 of Johnson’s blues opera, De Organizer.
Maestro Kiesler’s recordings with the BBC, Third Angle and University of Michgan Symphony Orchestra are heard on the Naxos, Dorian, Pierian, and Equilibrium labels. Recent work includes Ginastera’s three piano concerti with acclaimed pianist, Barbara Nissman, and The Old Burying Ground, an orchestral song cycle by Evan Chambers. His latest recording, a 3 CD set of Milhaud’s monumental work for expanded orchestra, chorus and soloists, L’Orestie, will be released by Naxos in April of 2014.
Winner of the 2011 American prize in conducting, Mr. Kiesler was the Silver Medal winner at the 1986 Stokowski Competition, and the 1988 recipient of the Helen M. Thompson Award, presented by the American Symphony Orchestra League to the outstanding American music director under the age of 35. His teachers and mentors include Carlo Maria Giulini, Fiora Contino, Julius Herford, Erich Leinsdorf, John Nelson, and James Wimer.
Mr. Kiesler has led conducting masterclasses in New York, Houston, Chicago, Paris, Moscow, Vilnius, Leipzig, Berlin, Mexico City, London and São Paulo, as well as at the Waterville Valley Music Center (New Hampshire) and the Conductors Retreat at Medomak (Maine), now in its 18th year.
Mr. Kiesler currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he is Director of Orchestras and leads the renowned orchestral conducting program at the University of Michigan.
Mark Russell Smith, Week 2 Guest Conductor
Whether conducting contemporary masterpieces or bringing fresh insights to the symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms, Mark Russell Smith demonstrates consummate musicianship and enthusiastic commitment to the art of music-making – qualities that have endeared him to audiences and musicians alike. In June of 2007, Smith was appointed Director of New Music Projects of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Minnesota, a combined post that enabled him to bring his commitment for excellence and passion for education to new audiences. In September of 2008, he became Music Director and Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and has since presided while the orchestra has enjoyed five successive seasons of subscription ticket sales growth, and has brought a newly focused artistic vision to the organization. He was named Artistic Director of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies in the fall of 2012. In the winter and spring of 2012, Smith was the instigating artistic force behind the University of Minnesota School of Music’s Britten Peace Project, which combined musical and historical study and community engagement, culminating in critically acclaimed performances of Britten’s War Requiem in Europe and America, collaborating with German and American music students, professional musicians and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. Recent projects include appearances with the Joffrey Ballet, conducting Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, as part of a larger exploration of that work, commemorating its 100th anniversary. Formerly Music Director of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, a position he held from 1999 to 2009, Smith was praised for his innovative and approachable programming and is widely credited with fostering the orchestra’s unprecedented artistic growth.
As a guest conductor, Smith enjoys a burgeoning international reputation that has already brought him engagements and re-engagements with prestigious American orchestras, including the St. Louis Symphony, the Houston Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. With the Minnesota Orchestra, he made his critically acclaimed Sommerfest debut in 2006 and made his subscription series debut in March of 2009. In the fall of 2013, he debuted with the Virginia Opera, leading Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Other recent appearances include debut performances with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Costa Rica in 2013, and a return to Verizon Hall with the Curtis Orchestra in an all-Wagner program. He regularly returns to his alma mater to lead the Symphony Orchestra of The Curtis Institute of Music, and led the orchestra on tour in China and Korea in the fall of 2011. Smith’s debut at the Nomus Music Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia was met with critical and audience acclaim and led to immediate reengagement. Other recent and upcoming appearances include the Santa Barbara Symphony, Brazil’s Orquestra Sinfôniea da USP, the Hartford Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa, the Phoenix Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Eugene Symphony, the Curtis Opera Theatre, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Berkshire Choral Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Tulsa Philharmonic, Orchestra London (Ontario), and the European Center for Opera and Vocal Art in Ghent, Belgium.
A champion of the music of our time, Smith led the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Engine 408 series, working closely with living composers and added his unique perspective to enhance that orchestra’s great tradition of fostering new works. He has collaborated with YoYo Ma and members of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota in Hún Qiáo (Bridge of Souls), a concert of remembrance and reconciliation featuring world premieres by Korean, Japanese, Chinese and American composers. A firm believer in the use of technical innovation to reach world-wide audiences, he debuted in 2002 with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, conducting the final round of the first Minnesota International Piano-e-Competition, where he led six concerto performances that were streamed live over the Internet. He has led the Minnesota Orchestra in the Competition’s final round since 2004 and returns each summer.
Smith grew up in a musical family in Phoenix, Arizona where he began the serious study of conducting while still in his teens. He is a graduate in cello performance of the Juilliard School, where he studied with Claus Adam, and of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with Max Rudolf and Otto-Werner Mueller. While at Curtis, Smith was first prize winner in the National Repertory Orchestra Conductors Competition, and upon graduation, was named Assistant Conductor of the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Singers. From 1989 to 1994, Smith served as Associate Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and from 1992 through 1999 served as Music Director of the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra. His dynamic personality, creative programming, and focus on outreach helped revitalize the Springfield (MA) Symphony, where he served as Music Director from 1995 through 2000.
Smith resides in Minneapolis, where his wife, Ellen Dinwiddie Smith, is a horn player with the Minnesota Orchestra. They have two sons, Alexander and Noah.
JoAnn Falletta, Week 3 Guest Conductor
JoAnn Falletta is internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music and an inspiring artistic leader. An effervescent and exuberant figure on the podium, she has been praised by The Washington Post as having “Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein.” Acclaimed by The New York Times as “one of the finest conductors of her generation,” she serves as the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina.
Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. In 2012, she made return engagements with the Krakow Philharmonic in Poland and the Goettingen Symphony in Germany and debuted with the Czech Philharmonic and Croatia National Philharmonic.
Highlights of her international guest conducting appearances include her South American debut with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile in Santiago Chile, and performances with the London Symphony, Korean Broadcast Symphony, Beijing Symphony, a tour of Germany and Italy with the Sudwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Haifa Symphony (Israel), Goettingen Symphony (Germany), Netherlands Radio Orchestra, National Philharmonic of Lithuania, Orquestra de Extremadura (Spain), Warsaw National Philharmonic, Kraków Philharmonic, Orchestra National de Belgique, Seoul Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, Ensemble Kanazawa (Japan), Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Orchestra of Asturias (Spain), Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre National De Lyon, Northwest German Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Lisbon Metropolitan Symphony. She has guest conducted over 100 orchestras in North America, including the orchestras of Philadelphia, Detroit, Montreal, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Houston, Rochester, Utah, Edmonton, Quebec and the National Symphony. Ms. Falletta’s summer activities have taken her to numerous music festivals including the Brevard Festival, Aspen, Tanglewood, Hollywood Bowl, Grand Teton, Wolf Trap, Eastern Music, Cabrillo, OK Mozart International, Lanaudiere, Peter Britt, Breckenridge and Interlochen, among others. She is also Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, which was founded in 2011.
She is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards including the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, the coveted Stokowski Competition, and the Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter Awards for conducting, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra League’s prestigious John S. Edwards Award. She is an ardent champion of music of our time, introducing over 400 works by American composers, including more than 100 world premieres. Hailing her as a “leading force for the music of our time,” she has been honored with eleven ASCAP awards. Ms. Falletta serves as a Member of the National Council on the Arts. Under her direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic is continuing its trajectory as one of the most recorded orchestras in America with the release of two new Naxos CDs in the 2012-13 season, Tyberg’s Symphony No. 2 and Gershwin’s Catfish Row, Rhapsody in Blue, Strike up the Band, Promenade and the recording of its sixteenth disc, Gliere’s Symphony No 3. Performance highlights include a concert at Carnegie Hall in May 2013, as part of the Spring for Music Festival, and the Orchestra’s debut at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Since stepping up to the podium as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in the fall of 1999, Maestro Falletta has been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to a new level of national and international prominence. Under her direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic has become one of the leading orchestras for the Naxos label, earning two Grammy Awards and five Grammy nominations. This season, the BPO will once again be featured on national broadcasts of NPR’s Performance Today and SymphonyCast, and international broadcasts through the European Broadcasting Union.
The Virginia Symphony’s 2012-13 season was highlighted by a Stravinsky Festival with a performance by the VSO and the Richmond Ballet of The Rite of Spring on the exact date of the 100th anniversary of its world premier, and a recording of Stravinsky’s Les Noces. In 2012, the Orchestra made their first CD for the Naxos label with a collection of five pieces, including two world premieres, by composer Adolphus Hailstork.
As Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra Falletta made her Proms debut in Royal Albert Hall in August 2012, and will conduct many of the main season programs and select regional concerts and other events. In November 2013 she led the Orchestra in a US tour with flute soloist Sir James Galway. She is the first American and the first woman to lead the Orchestra. The orchestra has a unique, exclusive broadcast partnership with BBC under which its concerts are recorded and streamed for internet broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, Radio Ulster and BBC TV. Under Falletta’s leadership the Ulster Orchestra entered into an exciting new multi-year recording relationship with Naxos. The first disc released in June 2012 includes works of Gustav Holst, with upcoming discs to feature works of Moeran and Boyle.
Maestro Falletta is having an extraordinary recording year. In 2012, Naxos entered into multi-year recording agreements with the Virginia Symphony and the Ulster Orchestra, and released four recordings with four different orchestras led by Ms. Falletta; an exceptional accomplishment in the current recording environment. These include Naxos’ thirteenth disc featuring the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (Gershwin), the first of three discs with the Ulster Orchestra (Gustav Holst), the first Naxos recording with the Virginia Symphony (Adolphus Hailstork), and a world premiere recording with the London Symphony (Kenneth Fuchs). In past years, her recordings for Naxos have garnered nine Grammy nominations, including two Grammy awards in 2009 for John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man with the BPO. Maestro Falletta’s growing discography, which currently includes over 70 titles, consists of recordings with the London Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia and Women’s Philharmonic, among others.
Ms. Falletta received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes School of Music in New York, her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School, and in addition, has been awarded twelve honorary doctorates.
Rossen Milanov, Week 4 Guest Conductor
Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Princeton Symphony Orchestra Music Director Rossen Milanov is the Principal Conductor of Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (OSPA) in Spain and also serves as Music Director of the nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C in New Jersey.
Mr. Milanov has established himself as a conductor with a considerable national and international presence. His recent conducting highlights include debuts at the Musikverein in Vienna, Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, Zurich Opera, and a world premiere of Sergei Prokofiev’s incidental music to Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. This season, Mr. Milanov debuts with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic in South Africa, Sapporo Symphony and Tokyo City Philharmonic, and returns to the Milwaukee ,Vancouver, Columbus, Fort Worth, Aalborg, and Latvian National Symphony Orchestras; National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Zurich Opera, Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra and his Link Up education projects with Carnegie Hall and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
Mr. Milanov has collaborated with some of the world’s preeminent artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Christian Tetzlaff, and André 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 eleven- year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Milanov conducted more than 200 performances, as Associate Conductor and as Artistic Director of the Orchestra’s summer home at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts. His passion for new music has resulted in numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Richard Danielpour, Nicolas Maw, and Gabriel Prokofiev; he also works with emerging composers through Symphony in C’s annual Young Composers’ Competition.
A well-known figure in North America, Rossen 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 Symphony Orchestra. 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 Composer’s 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’s first recording with OSPA was recently released by Classic Concert Records. His first commercial recording with the Philadelphia Orchestra, A Grand Celebration, was released in 2010 and his live recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 and Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, also with the Philadelphia Orchestra, is available through the orchestra’s web site. His other recordings include works by Russian composer Alla Pavlova, with the Moscow Philharmonic on the Naxos label, and Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, with the Curtis Opera Theatre for Albany Records. Many of Milanov’s recordings with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra are available on iTunes.
Rossen 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 Masters 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.
A passionate cook, he often dedicates his culinary talents to various charities.