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Milcho Leviev

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Milcho Leviev (Bulgarian: Милчо Левиев) (December 19, 1937, Plovdiv, Bulgaria) is a Bulgarian composer, arranger, jazz performer and pianist.

Milcho Leviev graduated from the State Academy of Music in 1960 majoring in Composition under Professor Pancho Vladigerov and in Piano under Professor Andrei Stoyanov. As a student, he won the second prize at the International Competition in Vienna for his Toccatina for piano. His professional development as a composer began at the Drama Theatre in Plovdiv. He was appointed conductor of the Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio after Emil Georgiev left office (1962-66). His vanguard ideas innovated the orchestra; pieces like Studia, Blues in 9 or Anti-waltz became a standard of a successful synthesis between music folklore and jazz, this synthesis being particularly pronounced in his music. From 1963 to 1968 he worked as soloist and conductor of the Sofia and the Plovdiv Philharmonic. In 1965, embracing the idea of the writer Radoy Ralin, he founded Jazz Focus ‘65, with which he toured actively till 1970, achieving great success for the Bulgarian jazz and winning prizes at the international jazz festivals in Montreux, Prague and Sofia. Among the most exciting pieces in the repertoire of Jazz Focus ‘65 was Blues in 10 and Blues in 12, as well as the arrangement of Paul McCartney’s Yesterday.

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