News & Announcements

Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Announces 90th Anniversary Season

Music Director Rossen Milanov Signs Five-Year Contract

Chautauqua Institution today announced the repertoire and highlights of the upcoming 90th anniversary season of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, including 22 Chautauqua Amphitheater performances over the course of eight weeks of the Institution’s 2019 summer season. The CSO season announcement accompanies news that Maestro Rossen Milanov, who in 2019 enters his fifth season as CSO music director and principal conductor, has agreed to a new five-year contract that ensures his well-regarded tenure at Chautauqua will continue through at least the 2024 season.

“The CSO is truly the musical heartbeat of Chautauqua Institution and our celebratory 90th anniversary season focuses on themes that propel us into the future as we strive to be musically excellent, intergenerationally relevant, culturally connected and artistically collaborative,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, Chautauqua Institution vice president of performing and visual arts. “We’re particularly grateful for the visionary leadership of Rossen Milanov, who has proved to be a perfect fit for this community and this unique collection of talented musicians. I’m elated that he has accepted our invitation to make a long-term commitment to Chautauqua, and build upon four seasons of astonishing work.”

The CSO’s 2019 season begins on June 27, with a program featuring celebrated pianist Daniil Trifonov performing Scriabin’s Piano Concerto, and concludes on Aug. 20, in a joint performance with renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The full season program is available at Appearances from other internationally recognized soloists include Chautauqua favorites pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk (July 2, Brahms’ First Piano Concerto) and violinist Augustin Hadelich (Aug. 1, Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto).

2019 is a season of collaborations for the CSO, including with fellow arts programs represented at Chautauqua: The CSO will collaborate with the Chautauqua Theater Company, Chautauqua School of Dance and Chautauqua School of Music Voice Program soloists in a performance of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on July 16, and join the Music School Festival Orchestra in a combined concert — featuring more than 150 musicians onstage at once — of Stravinsky’s masterwork The Rite of Spring on July 18. The CSO also supports the Chautauqua Opera Company’s Amphitheater production of The Ghosts of Versailles on July 27. Of four dance companies in residence at different points in the Chautauqua season, two will appear in joint performances with the CSO: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre on July 13; and Paul Taylor Dance Company on Aug. 10. Notably, Milanov will conduct both performances.

Three CSO evenings — the performances on Opening Night with Trifonov, on July 13 with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and on Aug. 1 with Hadelich — will make up a special Russian Festival, creating programmatic connections across the 2019 season.

The summer will also feature two works making their world premieres. On July 30, under the baton of JoAnn Falletta, the CSO performs composer Jeremy Gill’s new “Concerto d’avorio.” Then, on Aug. 15, cellist Inbal Segev joins the CSO for a performance of a new Anna Clyne cello concerto commissioned by a consortium of orchestras that includes Chautauqua.

Longtime and newer family-friendly traditions return in 2019, as the CSO plays its popular Independence Day Celebration on July 4 and the third installment of the Harry Potter in Concert™ series on July 6, providing the musical backdrop for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™; the fifth year of the orchestra’s “Into the Music” series will feature five intermission-free Tuesday performances designed to spark conversation with conductors and soloists following the concert. A new tradition begins as well: Students in area schools will collaborate with the CSO in “Link Up: The Orchestra Sings,” a music education program designed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) that culminates in a concert on June 30, where the students sing and play with the orchestra from their seats.

Chautauqua Institution also proudly continues for a second year its Chautauqua Diversity Fellows Program, an expansion of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s groundbreaking program for pre-professional underrepresented musicians. Through the partnership, up to five fellows will be selected from within the Cincinnati Diversity Fellowship Program to participate in an eight-week summer residency at Chautauqua.

“I am delighted to celebrate the CSO’s 90th anniversary with some of the most thrilling and exciting scores in the repertoire,” Milanov said. “From great masterpieces to world premieres and collaborative events this will be a season like no other!”

Milanov’s new agreement takes effect when his current contract expires following the 2019 season, and ensures he will remain on the Chautauqua podium through the 2024 season. He was named the ninth music director of the CSO in October 2014. Since beginning his tenure at the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra with the 2015 season, Milanov has invigorated the orchestra’s role in the Chautauqua community and diversified its programming. He has been instrumental in bringing partnerships to Chautauqua with leading composers such as Steven Mackey, Derek Bermel and Daniel Bernard Roumain, and led 16 successful searches for new musicians to join the CSO’s ranks. Milanov has also embraced his role as the primary ambassador for the orchestra within the community, often leading classes to expand the understanding of performances for people without musical training, and hosting audience talkbacks following the orchestra’s “Into the Music” performances.

Having established himself as a conductor with considerable national and international presence, Milanov has appeared with many of the world’s most celebrated orchestras. He is also a highly sought-after conductor of opera and dance, and a strong supporter of young artists and singers — he appears each season at Carnegie Hall as part of the Link Up program. He is currently the music director of Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias in Spain. Previously, Milanov was associate conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra and artistic director of its summer residence at the Mann Center, and music director of Symphony in C in New Jersey, the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra and New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria, and the Chicago Youth Symphony.


The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1929 and today continues its legacy as the center of musical life at Chautauqua Institution. Performing more than 20 concerts per season in the Amphitheater, including concerts accompanying Chautauqua Dance and productions in collaboration with the Chautauqua Opera, the CSO is a tenured union orchestra that draws its membership from around the nation and around the world. It has grown from its original complement of 52 musicians to the current roster of 74 active members.


The pre-eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages — all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue.

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