IPO selects Stilian Kirov as next conductor and music director

Stilian Kirov will take the baton and lead the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) starting June 1.
 
  Stilian Kirov is the new
  conductor and music
  director of the Illinois
  Philharmonic Orchestra.

  (Provided photo)
 
Kirov was one of five finalist candidates invited as a guest conductor candidate during the last season. Kirov directed the “Slavic Soul” program in January. During his visit, he also worked with the Viking Orchestra at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
 
His first official performance as music director will be at the opening concert of IPO’s 40th season on Oct. 14, 2017, in the Ozinga Chapel at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights.
 
"I am very excited to be joining the Illinois Philharmonic family," Kirov said when the announcement was made May 9. "During my visit in January, I was very impressed with the community support for the orchestra and the warm welcome I was given. 
 
“The musicians are quite extraordinary and, most importantly, they care enormously about the future of the IPO. All these aspects are a great base to begin our journey, and I feel that we have no limits on how much we can achieve together," he said.
 
Kirov, a native of Bulgaria, is a graduate of The Juilliard School and has a master's degree in conducting from the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. He received the 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award and is a 2015 Malko Competition prize winner.
 
Currently he is music director for Symphony in C in New Jersey and the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra in California. He has worked as the associate conductor with the Seattle and Memphis Symphonies, was assist conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and music director at the Memphis Youth Symphony Program. 
 
IPO Board President Timothy Coburn, who co-chaired the Search Committee with IPO Artistic Committee Chairman Charles Amenta, agreed that the collaborative nature of the search process involving the board, musicians, patrons and staff provided a solid foundation on which to base a decision.
 
"It was difficult to narrow it down from 175 applicants, but in the end, we feel that Stilian will provide the leadership we need for the future, both on the podium and in the community," Coburn said.
 
Artistic consultant Henry Fogel assisted the board with its search. 
 
IPO Executive Director Christina Salerno said, "IPO has found in Maestro Kirov a perfect blend of high artistic standards, dynamic podium skills and a wide-ranging repertoire – combine with a friendly, approachable demeanor that exudes an infectious passion for classical music. We are absolutely thrilled to have Kirov lead IPO into our 40th anniversary and beyond."
 
He has already begun work on the 2017-18 40th anniversary season, selecting the opener for each concert. 
 
Subscription sales are ongoing. Tickets for individual concerts will be available in August.
 
For more information, visit ipomusic.org or call 708-481-7774. 

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