"Kirov’s idiomatic direction was fully inside of Piston’s deceptively tricky style with the restless rhythmic drive of the opening movement neatly contrasted with the ensuing theme for harps and strings...Kirov and colleagues skillfully negotiated the ebb and flow of the long-breathed Adagio, conveying the essence of Piston’s stoic, searching music; the rocky-road syncopations of the final movement went with enormous drive and vitality [Piston: Symphony No. 6]."
Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra
CHICAGO CLASSICAL REVIEW
First Prize Winner of the 2017 “Debut Berlin” Concert Competition, Stilian Kirov made his debut in June of that year with the German National Orchestra at the Berlin Philharmonie. He returned 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. Recipient of Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance awards in 2016 and 2017, 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 success as Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony.
Highlights of Mr. Kirov’s 2019/2020 season include engagements with the Victoria Symphony/Canada, Israel Camerata, and the Xi'An Symphony in China. Among his guest appearances during the 2018/2019 season, were debuts with the Omaha Symphony and Minas Gerais Philharmonic in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, as well as a return to the Chautauqua Festival. Other recent engagements include guest appearances with the Kalamazoo Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra/Breckenridge, and the symphonies of Amarillo, South Bend, Tucson, Venice (Florida), and West Virginia. Following his highly acclaimed debut in 2012, he also appears regularly as guest conductor with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle.
Worldwide, Mr. Kirov has appeared with the Leopolis Chamber Orchestra/Ukraine, Orchestra of Colors/Athens, Orchestre Colonne/Paris, Sofia Festival Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic, State Hermitage Orchestra/St. Petersburg, Thüringen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Zagreb Philharmonic, and the Musical Olympus International Festival in St. Petersburg, to name a few.
Keenly aware that the modern music director must be actively creative in new ways, Stilian Kirov is a key player in the expansion of the endowment funds for both the Bakersfield Symphony and the Illinois Philharmonic. He is also actively involved in BSONext, a program of the Bakersfield Symphony that partners with local businesses to purchase concert tickets for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and with local restaurants to provide a pre-concert dinner experience for the kids. In Illinois, Mr. Kirov created “Classical Evolve” a composition competition for young American composers that not only includes a performance of the winning composition by the Illinois Philharmonic, but also the opportunity to serve as composer-in-residence with the orchestra for the following season, where three more commissioned works will be performed on the orchestra’s subscription series.
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.
Mr. Kirov is a graduate in orchestral conducting of The Juilliard School, 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, and Asher Fisch.
Also a gifted pianist, Stilian Kirov was the Gold Medalist of the 2001 Claude Kahn International Piano Competition in Paris.