Milcho Leviev

Award winning composer,arranger, performer( pianist, keyboardist, conductor) and educator of classical and jazz music. DOCTOR HONORIS CAUSA at the Academy of Music and Dance, Plovdiv, Bulgaria (1995) and the New Bulgarian University (NBU), Sofia (1998). Order Stara Planina - 1997 Presidential Award, Bulgaria. La Medale d'or de Academie Internationale des Arts, Paris, France. Lecturer, the jazz studies department at University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, since 1988. Teacher at the GROVE music school, LA 1974 - 1992. Music Director, " Comeback In " jazz club, Venice, CA, 1981 - 1990. 1987 "Dramalogue" winner for Best Musical Director (USA). Arrangement of "Blue Rondo a la Turk", (Dave Brubeck), recorded by Al Jarreau's Grammy winning album of 1982, "Breakin' Away". GRAMMY NOMINATION for Best Vocal Arrangement of Charlie Parker's, "Confirmation", recorded by Manhattan Transfer, 1981, on their album "Mecca for Moderns". Co - leader of the jazz - classical quartet FREE FLIGHT vouted BEST COMBO OF THE YEAR 1982, LOS ANGELES TIMES. Contracted compositions, arrangements and performances for : the AMERICAN JAZZ PHILHARMONIC, BEVERLY HILLS SYMPHONY, SOFIA PHILHARMONIC, the BULGARIAN RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, and others. Arranger at Hessisher Rundfunk 1970-'71, Music Director for the Big Band and the pop Symphony of the Bulgarian Nationa RADIO & TV, 1962 - 1966. Composer for Bulgarian Feature, Animated and Documentary Films, 1963 -1968. Critic's Prize, Montreaux Jazz Festival, 1967. Leader and pianist, jazz quartet FOCUS '65 - 1965 - 1970. Music director and composer-in-residense, State Drama Theater in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and teacher, chamber music at the State Music School in the same town (1960 - 1962). Second Prize, International Youth Festival Composition Competition, Vienna, Austria 1959. Milcho Leviev is an astounding artist. He has the ability to say whatever he feels with his piano

Milcho displayed the same Slavic assimilation with Negio blues as L. Vuckovich and Weather Report's Joe Zavinul, two other Slavic pianists, which prompts me to conclude that somewhere back in their history the Slavs and the Africans shared the same waterhole. Milcho is a most marvelous pianist, a real joy. He plays with beauty and passion, like an ardent suitor singing to his chosen lady. Leviev is an amazing musician. His cascading runs and massive tone clusters, all were Touched by an antic inspiration that resembles no other pianist in jazz. - LEONARD FEATHER (Los Angeles Times)

MUSIC ACTIVITIES: (1971 - 2007; for activities before this period see summary) -ART PEPPER ("Blues for the Fisherman" - Mole Records) JON HENDRICKS (San Francisco Chronicle) 2007 Milcho Leviev and Don Ellis Big Bend – LA, Charlie O's Jazz Club. Voice of America - WILLIS CONOVER TRIBUTE – Paquito D’Rivera and Friends: Milcho Leviev, Horacio Hernandes, George Mraz, Valery Ponomarev – Washington D.C., USA. Milcho Leviev and band jazz concert with special guest Vicky Almazidu – Music Club “Backstage”. Concert at etno festival JULYJAZZ – Smolian with Vicky Almazidu, Eko, Stoyan Yankulov, Misho Yossifov. Concert at JAZZFEST in Bansko with Vicky Almazidu, Dimitar Shanov. Concert at JAZZFEST in Nish, Serbia with Vicky Almazidu, Dimitar Semov, Dimitar Shanov, Ventzi Blagoev and with guest star Nada Knejevich. Bulgarian Premiere of the MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES album at Apolonia Festival in Sozopol. Art Director of Plovdiv’s Jazz Evenings Festival - Concert with Glen Feriss and friends, Concert with Airto Moreira. Balkan tour with Airto Moreira – Rousse, Thessaloniki. The Los Angeles Jazz Institute Presents: Swing into Spring; A Four Day Jazz Festival – A Cavalcade of Big Band Jazz 21 Concerts, 5 Film Showings, 5 Panel Discussions; May 27 Don Ellis Alumni Band Directed by Milcho Leviev; Electric Heart-A Film About Don Ellis-West Coast Premier. Milcho Leviev and Veselin Veselinov–Eko open International Balkan Fever Fest in Vienna at 9 p.m. in Porgy and Bess Club. Special guests will be: Martin Ljubenov and Oto Lehner – accordion, Alexander Vladigerov – trumpet, Andrey Prozoroff – sax, Dimitar Karamitev – kaval. Milcho Leviev will have a Jazz improvisation Workshop for students of New Bulgarian University. The best students in the Workshop will be entitled to enroll Milcho Leviev’s Master Class in November 2007. 2006 Charity concert with Vicky Almazidu, Mitko Semov, Eko and Petar Momchev - "Lumier” hall , National Palace of Culture. Revenues from the concert will be donated for the construction of a monument of Radoi Ralin in Sofia. Concerts in Moscow featuring the grand comeback of Russian saxophonist Alexey Zubov after 25 years of emigration. Joint concerts with Milcho Leviev and Band: “Galina Vishnevska” Opera Hall, Blue Bird Jazz Club. Tour with Vicky Almazidou, organized by Radoi Ralin Foundation: Blagoevgrad, Sofia, Stara Zagora. Charity concert in the town of Elena, with Vicky Almazidou. Revenues from the concert will be donated for the construction of St. Petka Chapel in Elena. Ten-day Master Class in jazz improvisation at NBU. Music Director and leading the closing concert at the 2nd International Festival “Plovdiv Jazz Evenings”. “The Students of the Master” cycle – official presentation of the books “Life in 33/16” by Milcho Leviev and “Given by God” by and about Vassil Kazandzhiev at 18.00 at the “Pancho Vladigerov” museum. Katoomi Quartet Reunion at the Jazz At ‘A’ Frame in Los Angeles. Karen Briggs, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Nedra Wheeler and Milcho Leviev together again after 16 years. Preparatory five-day course for the 2006 NBU Master Class. A concert and seminar at the American Jazz Institute, Los Angeles. Concerts and seminar at the Duke University, North Carolina. Conducting a Concert-Tribute to Duke Ellington and Cole Porter with the Classic Fm Radio Chamber Orchestra (soloist Vicky Almazidu) at the 4th International Jazz Peak Festival. Concerts in Athens, Thessalonikki, Sofia, Rousse, including participation at the 4th International Sofia Jazz Peak Festival and a concert at the American Embassy in Sofia with Peter Erskine, Youtis Kiortsoglou and Vicky Almazidu Quartet. 2005 Leading the Bulgarian jam sessions for the STEP ACROSS THE BORDER international jazz festival at the PORGY & BESS jazz club, Vienna, Austria. Leading a concert dedicated to Radoy Ralin within the SOFIA JAZZ PEAK international festival. Duo pianos concert with Liudmil Angelov. Concerts of original symphonic compositions with the Sofia Philharmonic and the Burgas Symphony Orchestra. Master Class at NBU (New Bulgarian University) THE SOFIA PHILHARMONIC premiering SONATA 1957 for violin & orchestra, and Vasil Kazandjiev's orchestration of VARIATIONS ON A THEME BY CORELLI (soloist M. Leviev). Music Director of THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL IN PLOVDIV. Music Director of THE DON ELLIS ORCHESTRA REUNION CONCERT at the "Whiskey a Go Go" in Los Angeles. 2004 Playing the piano for THE ELLINGTON REUNION, presented by THE AMERICAN JAZZ INSTITUTE at the Claremont College on 2.9. 2004. Concerts, and jazz club dates in Bulgaria, and Greece 2003 concerts, and jazz club dates in Bulgaria, Greece, and Russia. Solo piano concert at Claremont College California. NBU master class. 2002 concerts at the BIG CONSERVATORY HALLS in Moscow, and St. Petersburg . Honorary professor, NBU (NEW BULGARIAN UYNIVERSITY), 10 days master class at NBU. 2001 10 days master class on "Formal, aestetical & social aspects of jazz music at NBU (New Bulgarian University) ; concerts in Turkey,Bulgaria, and Brazil (with SAO PAULO JAZZ SINFONICA) 2000 concerts, and club appearences with trio LESENTU, Herbie Mann, Jack Sheldon, and others. 1990 - 2000 lecturer on modern music at ELDER HOSTEL, Desert Hot Springs, California. 1999 Soloist, the Nuremberg Philharmonic; Concert of original chamber music in Sofia; Closing the month of European Culture in Plovdiv; International jazz festival in Bansko. 1998 Leviev / Slon quartet, featuring Randy Brecker, Herbie Mann and Benny Golson at VARTAN JAZZ, Denver, Co. 1997 Gala 60th Anniversary concert at the NATIONAL PALAS OF CULTURE, Sofia, Bulgaria. Concert tours in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. 1994 - 1996 Tours in Bulgaria, Israel, Switzerland and Germany . 1993-1995 President of the Jury - International TV-Music Films Festival('94 & '95) in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. Solo piano recital at Seal Beach Chamber Music Festival, California. 1990-1993 European solo tours (France, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria) including seminars conducted at the BASEL JAZZ SCHOOL, and theVARNA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL.Composed and performed "Orpheus Rhapsody" for piano and orchestra (commissioned by the National Endowment of the Arts for the American Jazz Philharmonic) 1983-1989 Japan tours with bassist Dave Holland. L.A. Theater Center- Expanded arrangement of "Rhapsody in Blue" for Valley Master Chorale and All-Star Jazz Combo, arranger and soloist). European tours 1985and 1986. "Sympho-Jazz Sketches" ( commisioned by the American Jazz Philharmonic) Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (composer and soloist) 1980-1983 Co - leader"Free Flight" (Playboy Jazz Festival and other concert venues, the TONIGHT SHOW, and recipient of the LOS ANGELES TIMES BEST COMBO OF THE YEAR AWARD, 1982. Played and / or recorded with Charlie Haden, Joe Farrel, Eddie Harris, James Newton, and others. 1971-1979 Toured and/or recorded with: Lainie Kazan (music director ), John Klemmer, Art Pepper, Gerald Wilson, Bill Holman, Eddie Jefferson,Mark Murphy, Ernie Andrews, Michael Franks, Willie Bobo, RoyHaynes, Billy Cobham, Carmen McRae, Airto, Flora.Keyboardist, composer and arranger with the DON ELLIS ORCHESTRA ( 1971 - 1976) FILM SCORES: 1999-2000 Letter to America (international production -Bulgaria, Holland, Hungary) 1992 Chickpeas - Directed and Produced by Nigol Bezjian (USA) 1963 - 1969 *) Men, Tiny Secrets, Autumn Sun, The Eighth, Monday Morning (Shown at L. A. Film Expo after being banned by Communist regime for 25 years), Dangerous Flight, A Hot Noon, Detour (First Prize at International Film Festival, Moscow), Iconostasis (Shown at the Museum of Modern Art (N.Y.) Numerous cartoons and documentaries. Satirical serial 'FOCUS'. *) Produced by Bulgarian Feature Film Studios) TELEVISION SCORES: 1973 Doctor's Hospital ( Co - writer w/ D. Ellis ) serial, UNIVERSAL. 1962 - 1968 Numerous Bulgarian documentaries and shorts. MAJOR COMPOSITIONS: LETTER TO AMERICA (suite from the motion picture) for choir & chamber orchestra (2000) CHICKPEAS (suite from the motion picture) for jazz and string quartets (1992) THE GREEN HOUSE cantata for twelve voices and jazz trio (1991) ORPHEUS RHAPSODY for piano jazz trio and symphony orchestra (1988) THE GOLDEN FLEECE for piano and big band ( 1984 ) SYMPHO-JAZZ SKETCHES for jazz combo and symphony orchestra (1982) ELEVEN INVENTIONS for instruments, or voices (1978) A CHILD'S DAY suite for piano (1976)-arrangements for woodwind quintet and string quartet ISSAC'S TOUCHSTONE for piano and symphony orchestra (1975) MOODY MODES for jazz orchestra (1974) WOLFGANG FOR ALL SEASONS for french horn, tuba, and jazz orchestra (1972) SLADKA PITKA for jazz orchestra (1970) NESTINARE suite for big band (1970) BALKAN COWBOY suite for sympho-pop orchestra (1969) ANTI WALTZ for big band (1966) MUSIC FOR BIG BAND AND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (1966) CONCERTO FOR JAZZ COMBO AND STRINGS (1965) BLUES IN 9 for big band ( 1963 ) STUDY for big band THE ROSES musical (1962) STRING QUARTET (1960) A LITTLE OLD TIME MUSIC for symphony orchestra (1959) SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO (1957) orchestral version (1988) VARIATIONS ON A THEME BY CORELLI for piano and symphony orchestra (1956) PIANO SONATINA ( 1955 ) MAJOR ARRANGEMENTS AND ORCHESTRATIONS: SHEHERAZADE (2000), after Rimsky Korsakoff, a jazz suite; AMERICAN SONGBOOK (1987) for choir and orchestra; RHAPSODY IN BLUE (Gershwin,1986) for choir and jazz combo; GENERAL LAVINE-ECCENTRIC (C. Debussy) and FOXTROT (Vladigerov) for symphony orchestra (1969); FANTASY ON PORGY AND BESS (Gershwin, 1964) REFERENCES: 2000 OUTSTANDING MUSICIANS OF THE 20TH CENTURY-1ST EDITION (IBC - International Biografical Center, Cambridge, England, 2002) DICTIONARY OF INTERNATIONAL BIOGRAPHY 27th edition ( IBC,Cambridge 1999 THE GROVE DICTIONARY OF JAZZ ( The New Grove, London, 1999 ) FIVE THOUSAND PERSONALITIES OF THE WORLD ( ABI 1996 ) ROUGH GUIDE TO JAZZ (UK - 1995) INTERNATIONAL WHOÕS WHO IN MUSIC, VOLUME 2-POPULAR MUSIC (International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England, 1996) THE GUINNESS WHOÕS WHO OF JAZZ (Guinness Publishing, LTD, 1995) JAZZ LEXICON (Handbuch 6317, Germany 1991) RECLAMS JAZZFUEHRER (Stuttgart 1990) THE NEW GROVE DICTIONARY OF JAZZ ( The New Grove, London, UK, 1989) PEOPLE IN JAZZ- keyboard improvisers of the 19th&20th centuries, by Bill Lee (Columbia Pictures Publications, 1984) LEONARD FEATHER'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JAZZ in the seventies (Horizon Press, New York, 1976) PUBLICATIONS: A CHILD'S DAY for 2 guitars, arr. by Dusan Bogdanovic (DOBERMAN. YPAN, Canada 2004) MILCHO LEVIEV/, piano music - from 1958 t0 1998 (VEDA SLOVENA, Bulgaria,2003) PAVANE FOR A TRUE MUSICAL PRINCE ( DON'S SONG ), and FOR FREDERICK & BILL ( IN TIME ) for jazz choir ( UNC Press, Colorado 1991 ) TRAVELERS for voice & piano ( lyrics ), ( Union of the Bulgarian Composers, 1990 ) MILCHO LEVIEV / 38 JAZZ THEMES ( Muzika, Bulgaria - 1990) A CHILD'S DAY and EIGHT 2 VOICE INVENTIONS for piano (Muzika, Bulgaria 1990) A TWO VOICE INVENTION AND KEYBOARD ETUDE IN BASS CLEFF forpiano ("Keyboard" magazine, 1985 ) MILCHO LEVIEV/ FAKE BOOK (Dick Grove Publications, 1982) THE NEW RHYTHM BOOK - 2 chapters, by Don Ellis (EME 1974 ) MILCHO LEVIEV/ EIGHT JAZZ PIECES,(Art & Science, Sofia, Bulgaria 1968) SONATA FOR VIOLIN & PIANO (Arts & Science, Sofia, Bulgaria 1968) TOCCATINA FOR PIANO (Art & Science, 1960) 12 JAZZ PIECES ( In Love again, Maybe, All Youth is New, Bossa Nova, Blues in 10, Monday Morning, Anti Waltz, From 6 to 8, Autumn Sun, Deviation, Tiny Secrets, Passacaglia ), Union of the Bulgarian Composers, 1964 - 1968 ) STUDY, BLUES 9, and BLUES IN 9 ( Moderne Rhythmen, Lied der Zeit, Berlin, 1967. Compositions, arrangements and articles in DOWN BEAT, KEYBOARD, THE PIANO STYLIST, PIANO TODAY and other magazines worldwide.


10 days September master class NBU

September 20,  51st Annual Monterey Jazz Festival , USA
Concert , Film Preview “ Electric Heart ” with additional music composed by
Milcho Leviev , Discussion: “ Electric Heart : Don Ellis : The Man
His Times , His Music ”

August 23, Shiroka luka
Summer Art Academy "The Fire of Orpheus" Workshop, concert
with Vicky Almazidy and Valeri Kostov

August 4 – 10,  Shiroka Luka, Bulgaria
„Rhodope “International Summer Musiccourse
Master Class - Jazz Improvisation

July 16,  Plovdiv “ Zanzibar ” Club
with Vicky Almazidu - vocal, Ventzi Blagoev – trumpet
July 15Jazz Improvisations, workshop,  concert

July 7-12,  Smolyan July Jazz festival, 
with Vicky Almazidu, Georgius Kontrafouris – Greece

July 4, 2008, Varna International Music Festival "Varna Summer"
Duo Milcho Leviev - Ganka Nedelcheva performong
Milcho Leviev. Music for two pianos.

June 30, 2008, Stara Zagora
XLI Opera and Ballet Festival, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
Concert with Vicky Almazidu - vocal, Yiotis Kiortsoglou - electric bass, Greece

March 27: March Music days Festival – Rousse, Milcho Leviev’s Recital.

March 10-15 Jazz improvisation Workshop for students of NBU. The best students will
take a part of Milcho Leviev’s Master Class in November 2008

March 9: Presentation of Electric Heart Film about Don Ellis with Milcho Leviev’s improvizations of Don Ellis Music. 

March 6: Concert of Prof. Milcho Leviev – Doctor Honoris Causa of NBU, with Sofia Philharmonic in Bulgaria Hall. Conductor: Vassil Kazandjiev. Program: Gershwin, Vladigerov, Beethoven and Author’s Music.