"The musicians of the orchestra are of the highest professional caliber, and there is a lot of energy,” says Rossen Milanov, the new music director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. “But most importantly, making music is a deeply collaborative effort. A certain level of chemistry — between the person on one side of the podium, and the musicians who respond on the other side — is essential. For a conductor, it’s a rare thing to find a chemistry that is just right. At my very first rehearsal, I felt that chemistry immediately. I’m very much looking forward to working together.”

Milanov, who was appointed after an extensive search, will assume his position at the PSO’s artistic helm on Wednesday, July 1, for a period of three years. “I am very excited to be joining the Princeton Symphony Orchestra at this pivotal time in its history,” says Milanov.

Milanov has been a much sought-after guest conductor both in the U.S. and abroad, and has been hailed by critics as one of the most promising figures in the upcoming generation of conductors — one who “bears watching by anyone who cares about the future of music.” He currently holds the positions of associate conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and artistic director of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Milanov is also the music director of New Jersey’s Symphony in C in Camden and the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria.

He has received the Award for Extraordinary Contribution to Bulgarian Culture, awarded by the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, and was chosen as Bulgaria’s Musician of the Year in 2005.

According to a press statement, during the week he spent with the orchestra in April, 2008, Milanov left an unforgettable impression on and off the podium, both personally and professionally, with PSO musicians, staff, board members, and Princeton’s very discerning audience.

Search committee chair Robert Annis, dean and director of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, says: “We were looking for a strong, inspiring musician, someone with experience and depth, but also someone who would be a collaborative colleague and an effective leader. Rossen immediately resonated with the orchestra and everyone else as a gifted conductor as well as a person of remarkable warmth and character. He was the clear choice to fulfill everyone’s vision of the perfect music director.”

PSO board president Caren Sturges, who was also a member of the search committee, commented that in Milanov they have found a conductor whose reputation, stature and exceptional musicianship will have a positive impact. “The PSO is a very fine orchestra that is prized by our community. We have a loyal following, but it is still too much of a local secret. We believe that Rossen will work extremely well with our musicians to create exciting, high-quality concerts that will attract an even wider audience.”

Milanov says he is deeply committed to keeping music performance vital and relevant to 21st century artistic sensibilities, and is particularly interested in finding new ways to develop a greater audience share from the “younger generation.” He plans to build on the orchestra’s excellence in ways that will give the PSO a stronger presence regionally and nationally. Milanov will be conducting two of the PSO’s Classical Series concerts next year, on January 24 and May 16, and will be involved in all PSO activities, including the orchestra’s BRAVO! children’s concerts. Beginning in the 2010-’11 season, he will be conducting four of the five Classical Series performances.

For more information visit www.princetonsymphony.org.

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