Milen Slavov is a composer, arranger, performer, teacher, and vocalist.
Born in Stara Zagora in the Thrace region of Bulgaria, he began playing accordion at the age of seven. He graduated from Bulgaria’s most prestigious musical training institute, the Philip Koutev Music School in Kotel, and then studied at the Musical Pedagogical Conservatory in Plovdiv. He is a skilled master of accordion, keyboard and tambura. He plays and composes in Bulgarian traditional, contemporary, improvisational, Eastern European, and gypsy styles.
Slavov began his performing career in 1984 as a “wedding” musician, requiring the highest level of professionalism and virtuosity. As a teacher of tambura at the Koutev School, Slavov wrote original works designed specifically for his students, a practice he continues today. His compositions are still taught at the Koutev School. In 1994 the school honored Slavov by adopting a photograph of him with singer Zhivka Papancheva as their official school emblem.
Slavov has composed music for the folk ensembles Detelini, Zagore, and Lisetz. 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 solo recording Steep Path in 1998, the CD/Book Richness of Music in 1999, and From the Old Millenium in 2000.
Milen Slavov’s awards include the 1994 Songwriting Award from the Chudomirovi Praznici Competition, the Outstanding Student Award from the Koutev Music School in 1994, and a Gold Medal for Folk Song Performance from the 1981 Koprivshtica National Folk Festival.
Slavov moved to the United States in 1997 and has performed throughout the country. 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. He has performed in California with Yuri Yunakov (Bulgaria’s most famous saxophonist), Grammy-winning vocalist Kremena Stancheva, Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble, Khadra, and at the California Academy of Sciences, the Cotati Accordion Festival and the East European Accordion Masters. The California Arts Council granted Milen Slavov the 1999/2000 Performing Arts Fellowship in Musical Composition.
Passing With the Time: Popular Bulgarian Folk (2005)
Bulgarian Trail (2016)