Danail Rachev
Photo Credit: Ryan Donnell



“There's no denying the Bulgarian-born conductor can light a fire under an orchestra and smoke out exciting musical moments. This version of [Stravinsky's Suite from The Firebird] for a standard-size orchestra sounded even bigger, and Rachev told a story that left you eagerly wondering how it would end.” 


Grand Rapids Symphony





Heralded by critics as “a musician of real depth, sensitivity, and authority,” Danail Rachev has recently concluded a highly successful eight-year tenure as Music Director of the Eugene Symphony (2009-2017). Building upon the Symphony's 50-year tradition of artistic excellence in the core repertory while increasing its commitment to music of the 21st century, he is recognized for broadening the orchestra's audiences through creative programming, increasing community engagement, and expanding regional educational opportunities. He is also credited for showcasing compositions by leading composers of today, including John Adams, Avner Dorman, Steven Stucky, and John Harbison, as well as for commissioning and conducting world premieres of works by Mason Bates, Osvaldo Golijov, Robert Kyr, Roberto Sierra, and Tomas Svoboda.


In North America, Mr. Rachev has conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra, the symphonies of Alabama, Baltimore, Dallas, Edmonton, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Grand Rapids, Nashville, Richmond, Spokane, Tucson, the Florida Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, among others. He has collaborated with such celebrated soloists as Emanuel Ax, Sarah Chang, Angela Hewitt, Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Garrick Ohlsson, Itzhak Perlman, and André Watts. Worldwide engagements have included the Auckland Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony, Het Gelders Orkest (touring Holland), Philharmonia Orchestra/London, London Philharmonic, Orquestra Nacional do Porto, Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Turkey’s Presidential Symphony, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Japan, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, which he led on tour in summer 2013. 


Danail Rachev launched his professional career as Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra (2008-2010) and the Dallas Symphony (2005-2008), leading numerous public concerts and educational programs. Of his Dallas Symphony subscription series debut, the Dallas Morning News wrote: "One of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's best concerts of the past year. ...from start to finish, assistant conductor Danail Rachev got the music unfailingly right, and made it viscerally compelling."


Mr. Rachev has enjoyed mentoring young musicians, having served as conductor of the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony (2002-2005), as well as guest conductor of North Carolina's Brevard Music Festival and Colorado's National Repertory Orchestra. He also has a passion for opera, and has led performances of Donizetti's Don Pasquale and Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Russe State Opera in his native Bulgaria; conducted performances of Copland's The Tender Land with Baltimore's Opera Vivente; and served on the faculty of the Russian Opera Workshop in Philadelphia.


Born in Shuman, Bulgaria, Danail Rachev trained at the State Musical Academy in Sofia, where he received degrees in orchestral and choral conducting. Granted a full scholarship, he moved to the United States to continue his studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Mr. Rachev was a conducting fellow at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen and a participant in the League of American Orchestra's National Conducting Institute, which led to his debut with the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. The first-ever conducting fellow with the New World Symphony, he studied with Michael Tilson Thomas and worked alongside him on many occasions. Other teachers have included Gustav Meier, Vassil Kazandjiev, David Zinman, and Leonard Slatkin. 

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