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Press Releases

Columbus Symphony Extends Contract of Music Director Rossen Milanov Through 2025

November 13, 2017

Columbus Symphony Board Chair Lisa Barton announced that the contract of Music Director Rossen Milanov has been extended through the 2024-25 season. The new extension commits Milanov through the 2024-25 season, solidifies the relationship with the CSO, and enables him to invest a cumulative nine years into advancing the CSO’s mission and vision in the central Ohio community and beyond.

“I am excited to be a part of Columbus' vibrant, artistic fabric and to call this city home,” stated Milanov. “I am also so proud to helm the largest producer of performing arts in the area, and further our mission of making music a meaningful and indispensable part of life for the many people we reach through our programs. I am very inspired by our remarkable musicians, and this contract extension will allow us to continue our positive trajectory of stability, artistic growth, and relevance.”

As music director, Milanov’s responsibilities include repertoire selection, programming, and artistic direction of the organization, as well as building and sustaining the Symphony's visibility and involvement in the community. In 2017, Milanov was awarded a Columbus Performing Arts Prize from The Columbus Foundation to present Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as part of the CSO’s 2017 Picnic with the Pops outdoor summer series.

“Since his arrival in Columbus, Rossen has brought an energy and passion to the stage, uniting supporters of the symphony and the musicians,” said Lisa Barton, Columbus Symphony board chair. “In the two years he has been here, he has implemented programmatic and artistic changes that have set Columbus apart from its peers. He has been embraced both on and off stage by the community and the musicians. We look forward to Rossen’s leadership and vision for the CSO and building the legacy that began in 2015.”

“The musicians of the Columbus Symphony are delighted that Rossen Milanov is extending his commitment to us and to the city of Columbus,” stated Betsy Sturdevant, principal bassoonist and chair of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Committee. “This display of confidence from such a highly acclaimed music director is an inspiring endorsement of the Columbus Symphony as a world class organization.”

The 2017-18 Columbus Symphony Masterworks series focuses on two principal themes—nature and creative women—and expands on the idea of connecting music with community-wide initiatives. Milanov will present two festivals dedicated to Russian music; a concert production of Aida in a collaboration with Opera Columbus and the Columbus Zoo; and a Spanish Flamenco Festival. Among the guest artists will be violinists Joshua Bell, pianist Inon Barnatan, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw.

Milanov has established himself as a conductor with considerable national and international presence. He has appeared with the symphonies of Colorado, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Seattle, and Fort Worth, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall “Link Up” education projects with Chicago’s Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Civic Orchestra.

Internationally, Milanov has collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra de la Suisse Romand, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Aalborg, Latvian, and Hungarian National Symphony Orchestras. He has also conducted orchestras in Toronto, Vancouver, Mexico, Colombia, Sao Paolo, Belo Horizonte, New Zealand, and the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic in South Africa. In the Far East, he has appeared with the symphonies of NHK, Sapporo, Tokyo, and Singapore, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Milanov has collaborated with some of the world’s preeminent artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Christian Tetzlaff, and André Watts. 

About Rossen Milanov

Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Rossen Milanov, in addition to serving as the music director of the Columbus Symphony, is also music director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Spain.

His passion for new music has resulted in numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Derek Bermel, Richard Danielpour, Nicolas Maw, and Gabriel Prokofiev among others.

Noted for his versatility, Milanov is also a welcome presence in the worlds of opera and ballet. Most recently, he collaborated with Komische Oper Berlin (Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtzensk), Opera Oviedo (Spanish premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Mazzepa and Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle that was awarded best Spanish production for 2015), and Opera Columbus (Verdi’s La Traviata).

An experienced ballet conductor, he has been seen at New York City Ballet and collaborated with some of the best-known choreographers of our time such as Mats Ek, Benjamin Millepied, and most recently, Alexei Ratmansky in the critically acclaimed revival of Swan Lake in Zurich with the Zurich Ballet and in Paris with the La Scala Ballet.

Milanov studied conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School where he received the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship.

A passionate chef, he often dedicates his culinary talents to various charities.

# # #

The 2017-18 season is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. The CSO also appreciates the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, supporting the city's artists and arts organizations since 1973, and the Robert W. Stevenson, Preston Davis, and Kenneth L. Coe and Jack Barrow funds of The Columbus Foundation, assisting donors and others in strengthening our community for the benefit of all its citizens.

About the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1951, the Columbus Symphony is the only full-time, professional symphony in central Ohio. Through an array of innovative artistic, educational, and community outreach programming, the Columbus Symphony is reaching an expanding, more diverse audience each year. This season, the Columbus Symphony will share classical music with more than 200,000 people in central Ohio through concerts, radio broadcasts, and special programming. For more information, visit


Contact:         Rolanda Copley

                        (614) 719-6624





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