Stilian Kirov, Music Director

Stilian Kirov is in his fourth season as Music Director of Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), and he was recently awarded the 2019 Career Assistance Award of the Solti Foundation U.S. It is the fourth time Maestro Kirov has received the award of the foundation. In addition, he was awarded first prize “Debut Berlin” Concert Competition and made his debut in June 2017, with the German National Orchestra at Berlin Philharmonic Hall. In his work with IPO, he was instrumental in starting IPO’s inaugural Composer-in-Residence competition, Classical Evolve, as well as, enhancing the performance repertoire of IPO.

In addition to serving as Music Director for Illinois Philharmonic, Maestro Kirov is the Music Director of Symphony in C in New Jersey, as well as the Bakersfield Symphony in California. 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 2017/2018 and 2016/2017 seasons included guest performances with the symphonies of Chautauqua, Kalamazoo, South Bend, and West Virginia, among others. Other engagements include guest appearances with National Repertory Orchestra/Breckenridge, and the Tucson Symphony. Following his highly acclaimed debut in 2012, he also appeared 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 Dohnáyi, and Andrew Davis, all with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Worldwide, Mr. Kirov has appeared with the Minas Gerais Philharmonic, 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.

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 three 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.

Also a gifted pianist, Stilian Kirov was Gold Medalist of the 2001 Claude Kahn International Piano Competition in Paris.

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