Stilian Kirov, Music Director
First Prize Winner of the 2017 "Debut Berlin" Concert Competition, Stilian Kirov made his debut in June 2017 with the German National Orchestra at Berlin Philharmonic Hall. He returns to the U.S. to begin the 2017/2018 season as the newly-appointed Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic in Chicago's Southland.
He will continue his music directorships with the Bakersfield Symphony in California and New Jersey's Symphony in C. A 2016 and 2017 recipient of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Mr. Kirov has proven to be not only a dynamic artistic director, but also an enthusiastic educator and community leader, continuing to build upon his previous successes as Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Memphis Symphony.
Highlights of Mr. Kirov’s 2016/2017 season included guest performances with the symphonies of Kalamazoo, South Bend, and West Virginia. Other recent engagements include guest appearances with the Amarillo Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra/Breckenridge, and the Tucson Symphony. Following his highly acclaimed debut in 2012, he also appears regularly as guest conductor with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle.
During the 2013/2014 season, Stilian Kirov was engaged as an assistant conductor to Bernard Haitink with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as a cover conductor for Stéphane Denève, the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Andrew Davis, all with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Also during that season, he stepped in to replace Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos with the Seattle Symphony, conducting “spectacular” performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Worldwide, Mr. Kirov has appeared with the Leopolis Chamber Orchestra/Ukraine, Orchestra of Colors/Athens, Orchestre Colonne/Paris, Sofia Festival Orchestra, State Hermitage Orchestra/St. Petersburg, Thüringen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Musical Olympus International Festival in St. Petersburg, and the Victoria Symphony/British Columbia, among others.
A prize winner at Denmark’s 2015 Malko Competition, Stilian Kirov is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including an Emmy for the Memphis Symphony’s Soundtrack Project, the Orchestra Preference Award, and Third Prize at the 2010 Mitropoulos Conducting Competition, as well as Juilliard’s Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship and the Charles Schiff Conducting Award for outstanding achievement. He is also the recipient of France’s 2010 ADAMI Conducting Prize, culminating in a showcase concert at the Salle Gaveau with the Orchestre Colonne. Following the performance, Mr. Kirov was invited to conduct the orchestra’s opening concerts of the 2011/2012 season in Paris.
Mr. Kirov is a graduate of The Juilliard School in orchestral conducting, where he was a student of James DePreist. In 2012, he studied at the Aspen Academy of Conducting, and in 2013, was one of two Conducting Fellows at the Tanglewood Music Center. In 2010, he was awarded the Chautauqua Music Festival's David Effron Conducting Fellowship, and returned in 2012 as a guest conductor with the festival orchestra. Mr. Kirov holds a master's degree in conducting from the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, where he studied with Dominique Rouits. He has participated in master classes with such distinguished conductors as the late Kurt Masur, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gianluigi Gelmetti, George Manahan, and Asher Fisch.
Also a gifted pianist, Stilian Kirov was Gold Medalist of the 2001 Claude Kahn International Piano Competition in Paris.