The maestro with five orchestras – no, just four

The maestro with five orchestras – no, just four


norman lebrecht

October 19, 2014

When Rossen Milanov was named last month as the next music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, we assumed he’d be giving up his ensemble at Princeton to take the Ohio job. A polite note from Columbus corrected that misapprehension: on the contrary, Mr Milanov, 49, planned to maintain his Princeton commitment, as well as his jobs at the Symphony in C at Camden, New Jersey, and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Spain. Our eyebrows rose a little higher.

This morning they shot right up through our vanishing hairline on learning, from our friend Mary Kunz Goldman in Buffalo, that the busy Bulgarian has added a fifth band to his bulging lunch pack.

Rossen Milanov has been named music director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, in upstate New York, starting next July. He said: ‘I am very excited and honored to be collaborating with the musicians of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, to catalyze the artistic growth, introduce new ideas, diversify the programming and connect with all of the Chautauqua community in a meaningful and inspiring way.’

rossen milanov

Thinks: If it’s Wednesday, this must be Chautauqua…

We wonder what they’re thinking in Columbus.

(see Comments)


  • Rossen Milanov says:

    Dear Norman,

    Just to make the record straight, the current season is my 15th and last as Music Director of Symphony in C. Therefore at no point I will have 5 orchestras as your title states. I begin in Chautauqua in the summer of 2015 and conduct 6 out of the 8 weeks of concerts. My official appointment in Columbus begins on Sep 1, 2015 and the season of Princeton Symphony includes only 6 single subscription concerts.

    Please let me know if I could clarify further!

    With warmest wishes,


  • newyorker says:

    So, Four but one is a summer gig – right?

  • Rossen Milanov says:

    Correct! R

  • Larry says:

    Congratulations Maestro Milanov!

  • Кръстина says:

    И четири стигат за възхита:) Успех, Маестро:)

  • Michael Redmond says:

    I’m quite familiar with Mo. Milanov’s work with the Princeton NJ orchestra. I’ve no doubt he can handle these commitments brilliantly.

  • CDH says:

    Yannick N-S has Rotterdam and Philadelphia, Orchestre Metropolitaine in Montreal and is still Principal Guest at LPO (though that he will relinquish at the end of this season). No complaints so far that I have heard.

  • Amy says:

    As a concert-goer in Columbus, I am disappointed that the board has hired hired another over-extended gentleman with far-flung orchestras. Our musicians deserve someone who will attend to them as a primary concern, and grow them as an ensemble. While I have no doubt of Milanov’s capabilities to lead a fine performance, I am highly skeptical that he can provide the time and attention needed to nurture the orchestra here.

  • Daniel Aver says:

    The Columbus Symphony was a nearly year-round orchestra, but now performs only 26 weeks a year due to budget cuts. The economic downturn and insistence that it was a flawed business model led to this restructuring. Simply surviving as an organization is still put forth as a major effort there.

    7 of those 26 weeks are outdoor pops concerts which have not involved the music director in many years. They perform 12 weeks of classical subscription concerts per year. It would seem that even if Mr. Milanov conducted every one of the 12 it would not be excessive.

    I would much prefer to see conductors who are in demand globally to those who attract only the interest of Columbus, Ohio. Best wishes Mr. Milanov!

  • Charles Latshaw says:

    Bravo, Rossen. I’m glad to see you doing so well so consistently.

  • Jaemi Loeb says:

    So, as a point of professional interest, maestro, how do you manage it all? Between all of those appointments, how do you find time for domestic life, friends, study, etc? Any advice for those of us who are getting near that point in our careers where the schedule begins to feel overwhelming?

  • Jim Mastracco says:

    Maestro Milanov led performances of the Busoni Piano Concerto at the Kennedy Center in 2014

    As to how the Maestro “manages it all”, one need only to have attended one of three performances of the Busoni Piano Concerto with the National Symphony in 2014. It was a genuine thrill to have been a part of the chorus that contributed to these performances. I can assure everyone, that I was not the only member of the chorus, ‘blown away’ – not only by Ohlsson playing from memory, but germane to this thread, Milanov managing his score on the podium, his players, singers and his musicianship. I’ve been directing people to the Columbus Symphony’s website ever since, suggesting if they find themselves in that city – to go and hear the CSO under Milanov!