Columbus Makes Art Presents: Rossen Milanov on Bringing Spanish Flare to Columbus
Rossen Milanov is an established conductor with a considerable national and international presence. As the Music Director for the Columbus Symphony, as well as several orchestras around the world, he’s proud to call Columbus his home. His international expertise inspires the unique flair and worldview he brings to Columbus audiences through his concert programming.
Holly: Can you tell us what keeps you busy with when you’re not here in Columbus?
Rossen: I feel very fortunate to be traveling for work to very exciting and unique places. In the past 12 months, I have been on four different continents, from Japan in Asia to Zurich in Europe and from Bogota, Colombia to Columbus. One of my favorite countries to visit is Spain. Many of you know that I am also the Music Director of Orquesta Sinfónica del Principal de Asturias in Oviedo. Northern Spain is a unique place to visit because it combines exquisite seafood with some of the best Spanish cheeses, and a lush green landscape year-round. The Atlantic coast is dramatic and the secluded beaches rival those in Greece. The Spanish lifestyle is very easy to get used to. People love to go out with friends, dinner starts at 10 p.m. at the earliest and the Spanish wine is delicious! Not to mention the gin and tonic that they serve in fish bowl glasses garnished with aromatic herbs and citrus peel.
Holly: You’ve spent a considerable amount of time is Spain. Did this help inspire the upcoming Spanish Flamenco Festival?
Rossen: The Spanish Festival we have put together for you this November is directly inspired from working for the last six years in Spain. The flamenco, the fiery and passionate rhythms, and the joy of love will be present in every piece on this quite varied program. Certainly the guitar, as the Spanish national instrument, will be the centerpiece of the festival program with Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. Another attraction will be our local flamenco star Griset Damas, who will perform onstage at the Ohio Theatre during the concerts.
Holly: The Columbus Symphony features several Columbus-based musicians throughout the season. Why do you feel is it important to feature local artists?
Rossen: Griset Damas is a cultural phenomenon in our city. She has such a passion for her art and enjoys a huge following. Flamenco, in her words, is a way of life. Its passion, attitude and dedication connect us to something extraordinarily intense!
There is so much talent in the Columbus Symphony. Our musicians are versatile, and one can hear them not only as orchestra players, but also as chamber music artists, jazz players and fine soloists! Later in the season we will feature our Principal Clarinet David Thomas in Copland’s jazzy Clarinet Concerto, originally composed for Benny Goodman.
Holly: What brought you to Columbus?
Rossen: I came to Columbus because I fell in love with the Columbus Symphony. These musicians are a daily inspiration for me!
Holly: What long term goals do you hope to achieve with the Columbus Symphony?
Rossen: We are one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S.A., and I would like the cultural institutions in general, and the Columbus Symphony in particular, to be part of that growth. I would like us to reach out to more people; I would like us to present even more varied and innovative programs. I would like Columbus to think of its cultural organizations as the city’s cultural ambassadors on both a national and an international level! The orchestra is changing—there are new faces among the musicians that have joined our ranks in the last few years. They came to Columbus after graduating from some of the best schools in the world, such as Juilliard School in New York and Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. We are attracting top talent and this is good for the Symphony and for Columbus!
Holly: Can you tell us why the Spanish Flamenco Festival is not-to-be-missed?
Rossen: Because Spanish music is all about the joy of being alive!
Because of the erotic passion of Flamenco!
Because of the abundance of recharging energy one will take away from attending the concert!
The Columbus Symphony invites you to attend the Spanish Flamenco Festival Nov. 3-4 at the Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St., Columbus, OH 43215. Tickets start at only $10! For tickets call 614-469-0939, columbussymphony.com, or on ticketmaster.com.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.