Milen Slavov is a composer, performer, arranger, and teacher. Born in Stara Zagora in the Thrace region of Bulgaria, he began playing accordion at the age of seven. He graduated from the Filip Kutev Music School in Kotel, then studied for one year at the Musical Pedagogical Conservatory in Plovdiv. He is a skilled master of piano accordion, keyboard, and tambura. He plays and composes music in Bulgarian traditional, contemporary, improvisational, Eastern European, and World Music Fusion styles.
Slavov began his performing career in 1984. Later, as a teacher of tambura at the Kutev School, Slavov wrote original works designed specifically for his students, a practice he continues today. His compositions are still taught at the Kutev School. In 1994 the school honored Slavov by adopting a photo of him with singer Zhivka Papancheva as their official school emblem.
Slavov has composed music for ensembles in Bulgaria and USA. In 1992 he founded Trio Nazdravica, making numerous appearances on Bulgarian radio and television. Slavov's recording credits include composing, arranging, conducting, and performing on Nazdravica's "Poluh ot Strandzha" (1994), "Kitka ot Strandzha" (1995), and "Samodiva" (1997). In the U.S., he released the recording "Steep Path" in 1998, the CD/Book "Richness of Music", "From the Old Milennium" CD (2000), and Book & CD "Bright Stage" in 2001. In 2002 and 2003 Slavov conceived and produced "Passing with the Time" - Popular Bulgarian Folk Songs; a groundbreaking series of four Book & CD sets for Bulgarian folk instruments. The latest release of Slavov’s music is the “Za Vsichki” CD (Nov. 2003). Milen Slavov also appears as composer and solo performer on the "Suita" track of the 2003 ARC Music Productions (UK) "Masters of the Accordion" CD.
Slavov has lived in America since 1997. He served as Music Director and Composer for San Francisco-based Westwind International Folk Ensemble. Slavov was guest teacher of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Department for the 98/99 academic year. In 1998 he was Guest of the Community at the EEFC's Mendocino Balkan Music and Dance Workshop. Milen Slavov has toured and performed throughout the United States and Canada. He has performed with Yuri Yunakov, Donka & Nikolai Kolevi, Grammy-winning vocalist Kremena Stancheva, Kitka, Khadra, and at the Montmagny International Accordion Festival, the California Academy of Sciences, the Cotati Accordion Festival, the East European Accordion Masters, and USM’s Roots Reunion Concert & Live Radio Show. He has appeared on live radio in Oregon, California, Mississippi (including WLOX TV), Wisconsin, Missouri, and Texas. In 2003 Slavov presented Bulgarian musical culture to nearly 10,000 students as a Visiting Artist with FAME (Foundation for Music and Art in Elementary Education) in Indiana. Mr. Slavov is the owner of MS Music Agency.
Milen Slavov's awards include:
2002 - Performing Arts Fellowship in Music Composition from the Mississippi Arts Commission, USA
2000 - Performing Arts Fellowship in Music Composition from the California Arts Council, USA
1994 - Songwriting Award from the Chudomirovi Praznici Competition, Kazanluk, Bulgaria
1981 - Gold Medal for Folk Song Performance from the Koprivshtica National Folk Festival, Bulgaria
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