Community greets CSO’s Milanov at welcome reception

SAALIK KHAN | Staff Photographer
Rossen Milanov, in his first season as the ninth music director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, chats with other Chautauqua community members Thursday at the Athenaeum Hotel parlor.

Chautauquans were invited to the Athenaeum Hotel parlor on Thursday evening to meet and chat with Rossen Milanov, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra’s new music director and conductor.

After a rehearsal before the CSO’s opening night, featuring pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk, Milanov made his way to the hotel to meet members of the community during his first year in residence.

“I walked by the practice and it was just so joyful,” Chautauquan Susan Nall said.

Milanov, who has served as guest conductor three times in past years, said he’s happy to be back in Chautauqua.

“I was offered the [music director] position last fall, and as one could imagine, I was very excited with the opportunity of spending my summer here and to be part of this very unique place,” Milanov said.

Milanov’s appointment followed a multi-year process with members of the orchestra having the opportunity to work with several candidates.

Frank Sherman, who has been listening to the CSO for 24 years, said he’s excited to see Milanov perform.

“He’s very personable, very approachable,” Sherman said. “And, as I understand it, the Institution was looking for someone who would be a presence as a person on the grounds as well as the director up there, the conductor, and I think he’s going to be that for sure.”

Some who attended the event, like Sherman, attended as members of the Symphony Partners, an organization that anyone can join that provides personal support to the CSO and hosts special events. The Partners’ goal is to foster connections with the orchestra and the community.

Sherman said he was a longtime member of the organization before becoming active, and he encourages others to join.

Milanov also acknowledged the Symphony Patrons, an organization in which members contribute to the Symphony Patrons Fund and collectively support endowment for symphony programming at Chautauqua.

“This is like having your own volunteer organization following you,” Milanov said. “It’s always wonderful to have people that so passionately love what you do. I think we need those ‘groupies.’ ”

Milanov will teach master classes through Special Studies, and is involved with several programs this season to build stronger relationships between the orchestra and the public beyond performances.