About Ilian

Hailed as one of the leading clarinetists of his generation, Ilian Iliev has been recognized for his exceptional artistry with enthusiastic accolades worldwide. “… a fabulous clarinet player… brilliant Bulgarian musician…” (Ron Emery, The Times Union, February 1997), “…wonderful clarinet virtuoso of extraordinary talent” (Ruth Laredo, Concert Pianist), “…excellent young clarinetist…” (Richard Dyer, Boston Globe, April 1997), “…big and bold…excellent…” (Classical New Jersey, November 2000), “…an impish clarinetist with formidable technique…”(Ron Emery, The Times Union, November 1995) is some of the critical acclaim Mr. Iliev has been receiving ever since he came to the United States to continue his education.

Mr. Iliev has concertized as a soloist and a chamber musician on major stages throughout Europe and the United States. He has appeared in Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Troy Music Hall, The Cultural Center of Chicago, Capitol Hill in Washington, DC etc. He has collaborated with top artists, orchestras and ensembles such as Frederica von Stade, Herbie Mann, Kurt Masur, James Levine, Ives Abel, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Hege, Ruth Laredo, Theodosii Spassov, Sofia Philharmonic, The Haddonfield Orchestra, the Jupiter Symphony, The Lark String Quartet etc. Mr. Iliev was featured as a guest soloist of The Lyric Orchestra of New York on AIDS Benefit Concert hosted by former President Clinton and chaired by Luciano Pavarotti.

Born to a musical family in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Mr. Iliev started to study the clarinet at the age of 10 with his father, Nicola Iliev, who is one of the most highly regarded folk clarinetists in Bulgaria. Eventually he entered the Music School of Plovdiv, studying under Prof. Sava Dimitrov. In 1992 he was awarded a Bachelor of Music Degree from The National Academy of Music in Sofia Bulgaria, where he studied under the tutelage of Prof. Petko Radev (Principal Clarinetist of La Scala Opera Orchestra.) Since his coming to United States, he has earned a Master’s Degree from The Mannes College of Music, studying under Peter Simenauer, and a Professional Studies Degree from The Juilliard School under Charles Neidich. In the year of 2001, Ilian Iliev was granted with permanent residency in the United States as “an outstanding artist of extraordinary abilities”.

Winner of the 1998 Artist International Competition, Mr. Iliev was a First Prize Winner of both the National Competition for Instrumentalists and Singers, Bulgaria, 1991 and the Radio Chamber Music Competition, Sofia- Salzburg, 1992. The same year he was awarded a scholarship from the prestigious International Foundation “Cyril and Methodius”, which is given to only two distinguished Bulgarian students every year. His appearances have been broadcast live by the Bulgarian National Radio and Television, Radio Hanover, New York WQXR Radio Station, Chicago Classical WFMT-FM Radio Station. In 1994 Mr. Iliev recorded Ljubomir Pipkov’s Clarinet Concerto for Radio Hanover, which was later nominated for the “Golden Fund Award”.

In addition to his classical upbringing, Mr. Iliev is a unique performer and of the music of Eastern Europe, which combines modal improvisations with jazz swing, “crooked” rhythms, plummeting key changes and ecstatic speed.

Critical Acclaim

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CHARLES NEIDICH, WORLD RENOWNED CLARINET SOLOIST ARTIST FACULTY: THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL OF MUSIC, MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC, YALE UNIVERSITY

"Ilian is an excellent clarinetist with outstanding technique and a beautifully expressive musicality. Because of the high regard in which his fellow musicians hold him, he is in constant demand as a performer. He has my highest respect."
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RUTH LAREDO, CONCERT PIANIST

"Ilian Iliev is a wonderful clarinet virtuoso of extraordinary talent. I have performed in concerts with him and consider him to be one of the most gifted musical talents I have ever encountered, and an outstanding artist who has a wonderful future ahead of him."
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PAUL SOMERS - CLASSICAL NEW JERSEY

"...the Verdi Forza Overture was also big and bold. Ilian Iliev’s clarinet solo was excellent..."
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ROBERT BAXTER - THE COURIER-POST

"Hege and his musicians exploited the nocturnal beauty in The Pines of the Janiculum. They achieved some exquisite effects - none more beautiful than Ilian Iliev’s loving account of the clarinet solo."
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CARL A. WINTER - THE COURIER POST

"...clarinetist Ilian Iliev brought down the house with a folk tune from his native Bulgaria."
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SONIA LEWIS - CLASSICAL NEW JERSEY

"Clarinetist Ilian Iliev began the second half of the program with Rossini’s Introduction, Theme and Variations for clarinet and orchestra. This was another masterful accomplishment. Mr. Iliev handled his instrument dexterously with sweetness, tenderness, and fluency. His tones were full, rich and luminous from the highest to the lower over the entire range."
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THE STRAD MAGAZINE

"the balances were ideal and, most important, the rich procession of musical events unfolded with never a false step"
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DANIEL CARL HEGE, MUSIC DIRECTOR - THE SYRACUSE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR-THE BALTIMORE SYMPHONY

"Ilian Iliev is one of the top three or four most brilliant clarinetists I have ever heard. The first time 1 heard Mr. lliev; I was absolutely mesmerized and overwhelmed at his unbelievable technical abilities. He seems to possess an almost unlimited arsenal of tonal colors - that he can bring to his playing that subtly and sometimes overtly shade the music in such a way that puts him in the top ranks of all clarinetists. He has musical gifts that are without question, among the very best this world has to offer."
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ALAN GILBERT, MUSIC DIRECTOR- THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC (2009/2010)

"His musicianship and professionalism are among the highest I have encountered. Mr. Iliev is already one of the most sought after clarinetists in this country (USA)."
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RON EMERY - THE TIMES UNION

"Clarinetist Ilian Iliev, a brilliant Bulgarian musician now studying at Juilliard, gave an immensely satisfying performance of Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock..."
"The arrangement of the violin sonata in D-major for clarinet and piano was one of the highlights of a full evening of music by a single composer…” “Iliev is a fabulous clarinet player. He gave a stupendous, spontaneous performance, full of verve and breathless artistry."
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RON EMERY - THE TIMES UNION

"Iliev proved an impish clarinetist with a formidable technique and real sense of adventure in the repertoire he chose …Iliev caught just the right sense of virtuoso abandonment - a stunning performance with Iliev’s own cadenza that reached into the high stratosphere for its dazzling effects. Conventionally virtuosic, the piece was saved from academic anemia by Iliev’s splendid performance. Iliev’s remarkably full, yet never fulsome tone was gorgeously consistent throughout. He phrased with immaculate ease, making it abundantly clear that instruments were made to imitate the human voice."
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ROBERT BAXTER- THE COURIER POST

"Soloist Ilian Iliev played the clarinet part as if possessed by the music. Soaring through the virtuoso passages with abandon, he summoned a wealth of tone color from his instrument. This difficult score was received with warm applause by the audience."
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JENS NYGAARD, CONDUCTOR -THE JUPITER SYMPHONY

"Ilian Iliev is, without any doubt, one of the finest clarinetists in the world. Always, his interpretations are exciting and inspirational. What a wonderful personality he has on stage! He is a joy to work with. True greatness is rare. Mr. Iliev possesses it abundantly."
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ERIC HERR- THE CENTRAL RECORD

"Iliev has distinguished himself both the national and international stage. While in town, Iliev was featured in an hour-long interview on “Crossover”, the day of the concert, on radio station WRTI-90.1 FM. As the name implies, the weekly program, with host Jill Pasternak, features interesting aspects of the classical and jazz scenes and everywhere in between."
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KEN SMITH - NEW YORK CONCERT REVIEW

"The opening work was by far the most substantial (Weber’s Concerto No.2 for Clarinet and Orchestra). Iliev displayed some fine fingerwork and tone that was fluidly consistent though the range of his instrument."
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THE BOSTON GLOBE

"...Ilian Iliev is an excellent young clarinetist of Bulgarian origin."

Listen

Ilian Iliev
C.M. von Weber - Clarinet Quintet - Adagio ma non troppo
Ilian Iliev
C.M. von Weber - Clarinet Quintet - Rondo. Allegro
Ilian Iliev
Moonflowers Baby - A Jazz Essay for Clarinet Solo
Ilian Iliev / Nikola Radan
Magla (Fog)
Ilian Iliev
At The Wedding
Ilian Iliev
C.M. von Weber - Clarinet Concerto #2, Op. 74, 2nd Movement
Ilian Iliev
Ruchenitza - 7/8
Ilian Iliev
Buchemish - 15/8

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