Today in the New York Times, the conductor Rossen Milanov is singled out for the "fresh life" he brings to Tchaikovsky in a new Swan Lake in Zurich, Switzerland. I first met Rossen at the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2004, where he was the Associate Conductor. In every project we did there, he was a delight - always brimming with enthusiasm and always on top of the music. The Times says Rossen's tempi for Swan Lake are "hearteningly brisk," and knowing Rossen, I believe it.
Rossen is music director of the Columbus Symphony, the Chautauqua Symphony, and the Princeton Symphony here in the U.S., and he leads a wonderful orchestra in Asturias, Spain as well. He travels to every continent just about every year, and the speed with which he traverses the globe nearly matches his tempi.
All those credits and attributes make sense for an internationally renowned conductor in the prime of his life. But from my vantage point as teaching artist and composer, what impresses me most (and what goes unsung in the press) is Rossen's ongoing commitment to education. I think many other conductors, given the slate of opportunities, might have put education concerts at the bottom of the pile. But Rossen has been steadfast, conducting LinkUp every year at Carnegie since 2010, and in fact, he has brought LinkUp to Spain and most recently to Columbus. I am not surprised at Rossen's success in Zurich; if you can conduct well enough to engage 8-10 year olds in NYC, then a bunch of music lovers in Switzerland? A piece of cake!