Looks like Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra conductor Stilian Kirov will be sticking around for quite a while.
After over a year of not commenting on the question of Kirov’s contract, which was set to expire at the end of this season, the BSO announced on Tuesday that Kirov’s contract has been extended through next year’s season.
“This agreement is mutually beneficial for both parties and we look forward to many more years in this partnership together,” Kari Heilman, BSO executive director, wrote in an email.
Heilman’s view of the relationship is long-term.
“The BSO is very pleased that (Kirov) will remain the Music Director, and this agreement allows the relationship to continue for an indefinite number of years.”
Kirov, who is also the music director of the Symphony in C in New Jersey and the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, was chosen from a pool of six finalists, and began his tenure with the BSO in the 2015-16 season. Kirov pointed to many successes during his short tenure with the BSO.
“We saw an enormous growth in the past three years,” Kirov wrote in an email. “Also our endowment grew from almost non-existent to approximately 1.6 million dollars.”
Kirov also noted the growth in the orchestra’s BSONext program, which reaches out to students through sponsored tickets to concerts, student volunteer opportunities and performances at school sites.
“Our BSONext program is thriving and I feel this can be an inspiration and an example to many orchestras nationwide,” Kirov wrote.
Kirov praised the orchestra musicians, citing their artistic growth over the last two and a half seasons, and said this progress is important not only to Bakersfield’s cultural life, but to Bakersfield’s business life.
“Every great city has a great orchestra and this is as important to every business as it is for us,” Kirov wrote. “If you want your business to succeed and have more professionals recognizing Bakersfield, having the right cultural structure is indispensable.”
Kirov is right back at work this weekend with an all-Beethoven program, featuring the composer's Symphony No. 7 and No. 8, possibly lesser-known but equally important part of Beethoven's symphonic output.
What will be the highlight of the concert is the performance of the Romance for Violin No. 2, performed by associated concertmaster Donna Fraser.
Fraser is a fixture in the Bakersfield musical community, as the daughter of prominent local musicians Phil and Jean Dodson, as a music educator and as a performer. Respected as a symphonic player, Fraser is also a highly regarded chamber musician, and is a most versatile performer, with extensive credits in contemporary music, jazz and popular styles, and even performance art.