Former Professor of Conducting, Berlin Music Academy; former music director, Schwerin Philharmonic, Loh Orchester Sondershausen; founder and conductor, Leipzig Academic Orchestra; many successful tours with well-known orchestras in Eastern Europe, Russia, Canada, Scandinavia, and Asia; active as musicologist and music historian; prizes include National Prize for the Promotion of Music, Leipzig Municipal Arts Prize.
Franz Anton Krager*
American born and trained conductor, Franz Anton Krager, has made his artistic presence felt both at home and abroad with performance engagements in some of the world's most celebrated concert halls and musical centers. Since making his prize-winning European conducting debut in Copenhagen's Tivoli Koncertsalen in 1978, Krager has led orchestras in the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Moscow's State Kremlin Palace, Manchester England's Bridgewater Hall, Birmingham England's Adrian Boult Hall, Guangzhou China's Xinghai Music Center, the Sydney Opera House, Amsterdam Congresgebouw, Kazan's State Philharmonic Hall in Russia, Guadalajara's Degollado Theater, and Sarasota's Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. His affiliations with leading music festivals include the Lancaster International Concert Series and the Lichfield and Aberystwyth International Arts Festivals in the U.K., the "Puccini e la sua Lucca," "Lago di Como," "Lunatica," "Pianomaster," "Sinfonico," "Giovedì a Teatro," "Scarlino Castello," and "All Around Jazz" festivals in Italy, and the Texas Music Festival and Interlochen National Music Camp in the U.S.
Maestro Krager's roster of conducting engagements is a full collection of international and domestic appearances in both the professional and academic arenas. He has led the Houston Symphony; Russian State Symphony; Romanian and Kazan State Philharmonics; Honolulu and Florida West Coast Symphonies; Chetham's Symphony Orchestra and Musicfest International Orchestra (U.K.); Symphony Orchestra of Berlin; Akademisches Orchester Leipzig; Koriyama Symphony Orchestra (Japan); Riverside Philharmonic (CA); Traverse Symphony Orchestra (MI); East and Mid-Texas Symphony Orchestras; Texas and Oakland (CA) Ballet Companies, Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy, Sandra Organ Dance Company (TX); the chamber orchestras of Stratford ("Orchestra of the Swan," where he was principal guest conductor from 2000-2004), Birmingham and Leamington (U.K.); Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein (Germany); Orchestra Sinfonica Citta' di Grosseto, Guido d'Arezzo, and Orchestra Sinfonica del Conservatorio Jacopo Tomadini (Italy); the Missouri Chamber Orchestra; and the Round Top Festival-Institute.
In 2000, Krager served as General & Artistic Director for "Shostakovich 2000," a five-day international music festival marking the 25th anniversary of Shostakovich's death. "Shostakovich 2000" drew people to Houston from across the U.S., Europe, and Russia, and was recognized by the DSCH Journal as a major world event for ballet, opera, chamber, and orchestral music by Shostakovich. Krager again conducted Shostakovich, in 2003, with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra & Symphonic Cappella and Alexander Kisselev of the Bolshoi Theatre, inside the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow. This command performance, initiated by the Kremlin authorities, was given in honor of the great Russian poet, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Krager conducted to a packed house of 6500 people. Maestro Krager made his European opera-conducting debut, in 2004, with the Stagione Lirica in the Tuscany region of Italy. This production of Puccini's "Tosca" was met with great enthusiasm by the Italian public and received rave reviews from the Italian press. In 2005 and again in 2008, Krager was invited to be a jury member for the prestigious Concurso Internacional de Piano Compositores de Espana in Madrid. In 2006, he was appointed as Artistic Consultant for the World Holocaust Forum Foundation's "Let My People Live," the International Forum in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the tragedy in Babi Yar, Kiev, Ukraine. This event garnered global media attention and included state delegations from several countries including the Presidents of Israel and Ukraine. Krager also directed a three-day international music festival in Houston celebrating the great Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius. The "Jean Sibelius Festival 2006," like "Shostakovich 2000," drew people to Houston from across the U.S. and abroad.
Choral engagements include the Houston Symphony Chorus; the Chorus of the Gruppo Polifonico "Francesco Coradini," Corale Giacomo Puccini di Grosseto (Italy); and the Asaka Women's Chorus (Japan). Krager has worked with some of the pre-eminent artists of our time. In conjunction with the Moores School of Music, he has collaborated with Robert Shaw, William Warfield, Maxim Shostakovich, Marilyn Horne, John Corigliano, Joan Tower, Horacio Gutiérrez, and Sergei Leiferkus.
Krager is Professor of Conducting, Director of Orchestras, and Chair of the Conducting Department at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, where he has brought the orchestra and orchestral conducting program into the realm of national prominence. The Moores School Orchestra is heard frequently on National Public Radio and has commercially recorded the music of Michael Horvit, Peter Lieuwen, Robert Nelson, and Stephen Shewan on compact disc for Albany Records.
Maestro Krager is also Music Director & Chief Conductor of the Texas Music Festival, Founding Artistic Director of the Virtuosi of Houston, Artist-in-Residence at The Kinkaid School, Evaluator/Clinician for the Orchestra America National Festival, and has been a summer lecturer-in-residence at the Italart Santa Chiara Study Center, near Florence, Italy, since 1987.
Originally from Detroit, Krager's musical training included the study of percussion, piano, theory, composition, and conducting with Elizabeth A. H. Green at the University of Michigan. As a young conductor, Krager was one of a select group invited to participate in the famed Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition, winning acclaim in the Berlin press. "His appearance, his poise clearly reveal his experience," proclaimed the Berliner Morgenpost. In Amsterdam, the Haagsche Courant hailed him as a "great musical talent." England's Liverpool Daily Post stated that "American conductor Franz Anton Krager produced a performance full of life, vivacity and enthusiasm." The Leipziger Volkszeitung in Germany praised "Krager's unusual Schwung and Esprit brought to the Gewandhaus." In the American press, the Houston Chronicle has cited his "well-prepared earnestness; assured, committed performances; effectiveness; and heartfelt sincerity." The Tampa Tribune declared that the Florida West Coast Symphony organization "would be smart to grab Franz Anton Krager, who won over the sellout crowd..."
Maestro Krager has been active for over 25 years as a champion of new music, conducting and recording many premieres of works commissioned and/or produced from the Moores School of Music and Brazos Valley Symphony resident composer programs.
In 1984, after a six-year Assistant Professorship at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Krager relocated to Texas with appointments to the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and Texas A&M University. His ensuing twelve-year tenure as Music Director of the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and Brazos Sinfonietta was lauded by visiting artists of international stature as a model for regional orchestras in the United States.
Rossen Milanov is the newly appointed Principal Conductor of Orquesta Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias in Spain. He also serves as the Music Director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra as well as the nationally recognized training orchestra — Symphony in C. Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Maestro Milanov has established himself as a conductor with a considerable international presence. An artist with distinct personal style, his performances are characterized by sharp musical intellect, artistic ingenuity, freedom and coherence.
Recent highlights include debuts at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, Zurich Opera and a world premiere of Sergey Prokofiev's Incidental music to Pushkin's Evgeny Onegin with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Milanov has collaborated with some of the world's most prestigious artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Christian Tetzlaff and André Watts, as well as with some of the world's most esteemed vocalists such as Nikolai Ghiaurov, Vesselina Kasarova, Ghena Dimitrova and Krassimira Stoyanova.
During his eleven-year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra he conducted more then 200 performances with that great orchestra, both as Associate Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orchestra's summer home at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.
Noted for his versatility, Mr. Milanov has built a reputation not only as a conductor of symphonic music, but also as an experienced opera and ballet conductor. His passion for new music has resulted in numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Richard Danielpour, Nicolas Maw, Gabriel Prokofiev, as well as working with emerging composers through Symphony in C's annual Young Composer's Competition.
A well-known figure in North America, Rossen Milanov has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New Jersey, and Seattle. He has conducted the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, and has made festival appearances in Aspen, Chautauqua, as well as with The Philadelphia Orchestra at the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival, The Mann Center and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Internationally, he has collaborated with the BBC Symphony Orchestra London, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande Geneva, the Komische Oper Berlin (Lady Macbeth of Mzensk), the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Residentie Orkest/The Hague, the Luzern Symphony, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Aalborg Symphony, the National Symphony of Latvia, Orquesta Nacional de México, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Colombia, the Orquesta Simfonica del Estado de Sao Paulo (OSESP), and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. On his regular tours to the Far East, he has appeared with the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic, the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, and the Singapore Symphony.
As a ballet conductor he has partnered with some of the most influential choreographers of our time, such as Mats Ek in Zurich Opera, Niels Christie, Maurizio Weinrot, Sabrina Mathhews at Stockholm's Royal Opera and Ballet; Benjamin Millepied and Andonis Foniadakis at the Geneva Opera and Jorma Elo in Philadelphia.
A committed supporter of youth and music, Mr. Milanov is Music Director of both Symphony in C (a professional training orchestra that has graduated and placed many of this country's top instrumentalists) and the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria. He regularly conducts at The Curtis Institute of Music and appears each season at Carnegie Hall for LinkUP!, a program supported and promoted by The Weill Music Institute reaching more than 15,000 children. He has led tours with the Australian Youth Orchestra, the New Zealand Youth Orchestra and was Music Director of the Chicago Youth Symphony from 1997 to 2001 and Conductor of The Juilliard School's Pre-College Orchestra.
Mr. Milanov's first commercial recording with The Philadelphia Orchestra, A Grand Celebration: The Philadelphia Orchestra Live with the Wanamaker Organ, has recently been released. His live recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 15 and Brahms' Symphony No. 1 with The Philadelphia Orchestra is available through Philadelphia Orchestra's Online Music Store. Other recordings include works of Russian composer Alla Pavlova with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra for Naxos, and Argento's opera Postcard from Morocco with The Curtis Opera Theatre for Albany Records and many recordings with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra available on iTunes.
Rossen Milanov studied conducting at The Juilliard School (where he received the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship), the Curtis Institute of Music, and has a degree in Oboe from Duquesne University and the Bulgarian National Academy of Music. Former Chief Conductor of the Bulgarian National Radio Orchestra (2003-2008), Mr. Milanov is a recipient of the Bulgarian Ministry's Award for Extraordinary Contribution to Bulgarian Culture and an ASCAP award in 2011 for his programing with Princeton Symphony Orchestra. In 2005, he was chosen as Bulgaria's Musician of the Year.
He is a passionate cook and often cooks for various charities.
Carl St. Clair
Music Director of the Pacific Symphony for more than two decades, Carl St. Clair has become widely recognized for his musically distinguished performances, innovative approaches to programming, and commitment to outstanding educational programs. The largest ensemble formed in the United States during the last forty years, Pacific's rapid artistic development is due largely to Mr. St. Clair's leadership. During the orchestra's first European tour several years ago, they consistently played to packed houses and received rave reviews.
Also an active guest conductor, Carl St. Clair has led the Boston Symphony (where he served as assistant conductor for several years), Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphonies of Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Montreal, Nashville, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver, to name a few. Worldwide, he has guest conducted numerous orchestras in Europe, South America, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Japan. Summer festival appearances include Schleswig-Holstein, Pacific (Japan), Round Top, Breckenridge, Texas Music Festival and Tanglewood.
Largely influenced by a close association with Leonard Bernstein, Mr. St. Clair's commitment to the development and performance of new works by American composers is evident in the wealth of commissions and recordings by Pacific Symphony. Under his guidance, the orchestra has commissioned works such as Philip Glass's The Passion of Ramakrishna, William Bolcom's song cycle, Canciones de Lorca (premiered by Placido Domingo), and Chen Yi's cello concerto Ballad, Dance and Fantasy composed for cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Many have been subsequently recorded, including Richard Danielpour's An American Requiem on Reference Recordings and Elliot Goldenthal's Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio on Sony Classical with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Other recordings include the highly acclaimed CD of later works by Toru Takemitsu for Sony Classical and works by John Corigliano and Frank Ticheli for Koch Classics. Additional commissioned composers include Zhou Long, Tobias Picker and Christopher Theofandis.
Carl St. Clair has been general music director and chief conductor of the German National Theater and Staatskapelle (GNTS) in Weimar, Germany (the first non-European to hold this position), as well as general music director of the Komische Oper in Berlin and principal guest conductor of the SDR/Stuttgart, where he successfully completed a three–year recording project of the complete Villa–Lobos symphonies.