Milen Kirov is a performer, composer, and educator representing a new generation of 21st century artists. Combining his Bulgarian background, rigorous European and American education and conservatory training, and a vast experience in the music worlds of two continents, Kirov has carved a successful and dynamic career as a performer, composer and educator working with success in a variety of music settings and genres.
Dr. Kirov was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in a family of musicians. He attended the National School for Music and Dance “Dobrin Petkov” and the Academy for Music, Dance, and Art in his hometown before moving to the United States in 1998. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and a Doctoral degree as a Performer-Composer from California Institute of the Arts, and a Master’s degree in Composition from California State University, Northridge.
As a composer and performer, Milen Kirov has won awards from the Bulgarian National Radio Composition Competition; Bulgarian National Music Competition “Sv. Obretenov” – Provadia; MTNA Performance Competition – Nevada; Reno Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition, the Liberace Scholarship Competition, and J. Huntzinger Concerto Competition. He has also received grants and commissions from artists and organizations such as the American Music Center and the Montecito Music Festival among others.Kirov has performed throughout Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, France, Canada, and the United States, and is also active as a composer writing for the stage, film and multimedia. He has released several albums under his own Luta Rakia Music label and has appeared on numerous other recordings. His music has been featured on more than 40 radio and TV stations throughout the US, UK, Australia, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Croatia, and Bulgaria, to name a few. Some of the diverse artists and institutions he has performed and/or recorded with include Long Beach Opera, UNLV Symphony Orchestra, Perry Farrell, Ellis Hall, Miroslav Tadic, Steve Ferrone, Mike Keneally, John Bergamo, Theodosii Spassov, Vicki Ray, Stefan Karlsson, Arthur Jarvinen, Money Mark, “A.i.”, and James Gadson.
As an educator, Dr. Kirov has taught courses and given lectures at California Institute of the Arts, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Chapman University. He also continues to write and perform extensively both as a soloist and with his 11-piece Balkan jazz-funk brass ensemble Orkestar MÉZÉ.