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Bulgarian Conductor Milanov Debuts with RPO in an International Flavor-Infused Program

Rochester, NY – Renowned Bulgarian conductor Rossen Milanov makes his debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with an internationally flavored program highlighting works from Argentina, France (via Corsica), and Russia, all composed close to the mid-20th century.  On Thursday, April 29 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, May 1 at 8:00 pm at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, Milanov conducts works by Ginastera, Tomasi (with RPO Principal Trumpet Douglas Prosser), and Rachmaninoff.  Krishna Thiagarajan hosts the First Niagara Pre-concert chat one hour prior to concert start.

The RPO opens with Alberto Ginastera’s Variaciones concertantes. Composed in 1953, this piece was heavily influenced by Argentinian traditions and folklore.  Music Director Christopher Seaman calls this work “a kind of ‘Concerto for Orchestra,’ with each of the different variations on the theme highlighting a different solo instrument or instruments. A most ingenious and entertaining piece!”

Following the Ginastera is RPO Principal Trumpet Douglas Prosser (The Elaine P. Wilson Chair) taking his place at the front of the orchestra in Henry Tomasi’s brilliant Trumpet Concerto.  The work was composed in 1948, and calls for the soloist to use a range of mutes, extending the trumpet’s range of colors and expressions.  The first movement concludes with a substantial solo cadenza, imaginatively accompanied by a snare drum. 

A member of the RPO since 1995, Prosser also has been on the faculty at the Eastman School of Music since 1997, and has been a member of the Eastman Brass since 1998.  From 1987-1995, he was Principal Trumpet with the City of Barcelona Symphony Orchestra.  He can be heard on recordings on EMI and CBS Masterworks. Mr. Prosser has given master classes, lectures, recitals, and concerts in Spain and the United States, has been a visiting professor at Nazareth College, and was on the faculty at the University of Barcelona for six summers.  Prosser attended the Eastman School and studied with Barbara Butler, Charles Geyer, and Mark Gould.

The concert closes with Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3, written in 1935, and in many ways considered the composer’s crowning achievement. “The ingeniously scored motto-theme with which the piece opens is destined to dominate, even haunt, the whole piece. Here we have Russian romantic music at its height,” notes Christopher Seaman, “combined with Rachmaninoff’s amazing ear for orchestral color. There is also a tinge of nostalgia—Rachmaninoff never totally got over leaving Russia.”

Rossen Milanov’s place as “one of the most promising figures in the upcoming generation of conductors” (The Seattle Times) has been recognized with his appointment as Music Director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.  A well-known figure in North America, this season Milanov returns to the San Antonio and the Milwaukee symphonies, and recently has led concerts with the orchestras of Indianapolis, Seattle, Charlotte, Baltimore, and New Jersey.  International debuts include Japan’s Hyogo Symphony, and the China Philharmonic. He also continues to serve as Artistic Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.  A committed supporter of education and music, Milanov is Music Director of both the New Symphony Orchestra, a youth orchestra in his native city of Sofia; and Symphony in C, one of the USA’s leading professional training orchestras.

Tickets for the Philharmonics performances are $20-$60, with $75 box seats, available online 24/7 at; by phone (454-2100); in-person from the RPO Box Office, 108 East Avenue, 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday-Saturday (non-concert Saturdays, 10:00 am-3:00 pm); and seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply.  Student tickets are available for $10 with current ID. The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by the Eastman Kodak Company and Bausch & Lomb; this concert is sponsored by Thomson Reuters.