Svetoslav Borisov

© Jorj Konstantinov

Svetoslav Borisov is a true representative of the modern Central European conductor. He comes from Bulgaria and knows the music of the Slavic countries in and out. And after years of artistic activity in Austria and Germany, the musical heritage of these countries has become his own as well. Since the season 2016/2017 he is Principal Conductor at the Magdeburg Opera and remains Artistic Director of the chamber orchestra “con fuoco” in Graz. From 2013 – 2015 he was assistant of Music Director Steven Sloane and conductor at the Bochum Symphony Orchestra and until 2016 chief conductor of the Opera in Varna. He maintains close contact with both institutions as a frequent guest.

After first trumpet lessons at the music high school in Varna Svetoslav Borisov continued his studies at the Music University in Sofia and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. In 2003 he joined the conducting class of Martin Sieghart and took conducting lessons with Johannes Prinz and Wolfgang Bozic. It was then that he discovered his love for opera which led him at first to the Stadttheater Klagenfurt and in 2010 – first as Kapellmeister – to the Opera in Varna. He has been invited several times with great success to the State Opera in Sofia. In December 2014 he conducted a new production of Emmerich Kalmán’s “Die Csárdásfürstin” at the Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen and in March 2016 he gave his debut at the Istanbul Opera with the ballet “Le Corsaire” by Adolphe Adam.

Svetoslav Borisov has collaborated with many orchestras all over Europe, among them the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the Bochum and the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestras, the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and the Danish National Orchestra. He has appeared as guest conductor in China, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Romania, in the Czech Republic and in Switzerland. Since March 2014 he is a regular guest at the Symphony Orchestra Göttingen, conducting not only concerts but also recording works by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich in the season 2016/2017. In November 2015 he stepped in at the last minute for Krzysztof Penderecki at the Philharmonic Orchestra Graz; soon after he gave his successful debut with the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, replacing Dennis Russel Davies. Svetoslav Borisov works with soloists such as Christian Altenburger, John Mark Ainsley, Carlo Colombara, Lidia Baich, Gabor Boldoczki, Lilya Zilberstein and the Leipzig String Quartet Leipzig.

In 2007 he founded the chamber orchestra “con fuoco” in Graz to realize several concert and opera projects in Austria and abroad (e.g. Donizetti’s “Rita”, Suppé’s “Die schöne Galathee”, Lortzing’s “Die Opernprobe”). In 2015 he started a project performing all Mozart symphonies.

Svetoslav Borisov devotes much energy to reaching out new audiences: besides symphony concerts he also conducts concerts of film music, cross-over concerts, moderated educational projects and opera productions.

He attended masterclasses with Ralf Weikert, Bernard Haitink, Jesus Lopez Cobos and Kurt Masur. In 2010 he participated in the International Conducting Academy Bochum led by Steven Sloane, Sylvain Cambreling and Roger Norrington.


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© Jorj Konstantinov

© Jorj Konstantinov

© Jorj Konstantinov

© Jorj Konstantinov


© Sven Purgar/KUG


©Jorj Konstantinov


©Jorj Konstantinov


©Jorj Konstantinov


©Jorj Konstantinov


Concert “From the New World” with the Symphony Orchestra Göttingen – 17/11/2017

Borisov, first Kapellmeister in Magdeburg, began brilliantly with Beethoven’s overture Leonore III. The Bulgarian conductor, now 39, went straight to work with fire, energy and intensity. He demanded at moments an extreme pianissimo from the strings: a good strategy to prepare the way for a particularly effective and dramatic ascension.

[…] This music [Dvorak’s New World symphony] carries everyone away. The composer’s ideas are boundless, his dynamic scala extends from celestial calm to the wildest storm of passion. Borisov conducted these currents with a master hand and a clear view of where they were to lead.

Michael Schäfer, Göttinger Tageblatt, 18/11/2017


Verdi “Aida” – Magdeburg 21/10/2017

Svetoslav Borisov conducted with passion and a clear instinct for all the subtleties of the score and also for all its dramatic culminations, especially in the triumphal march with its brilliant brass.

Herbert Henning, Orpheus, Jan/Feb. 2018


The evening was musically a complete success thanks to the strictly controlled direction of Svetoslav Borisov. He gave the musicians – and also the singers – time and space for the calm development of Verdi’s melodies, be they lovingly sensuous or gripping. Everything fit perfectly.

Marion Eckels, Der Opernfreund, 22/10/2017


Svetoslav Borisov, first Kapellmeister in Magdeburg, obtained a fine-tuned coordination with the singers. He led the musicians with the greatest sensibility not only in the huge, explosive marches with their fanfares, but equally in the softly still tones of the arias and duets.

Rolf-Dietmar Schmidt, Volksstimme, 23/10/2017


Concert with chamber orchestra “con fuoco” in Graz 10/06/2017

With precise and elegant moments, with rhythm, exactness and overview – that was this convincing musical performance. In the few years of his professional career, Borisov has had a number of successes off the beaten track. Here was another.

Walter Neumann, Kleine Zeitung, 12/06/2017


Mozart, “La finta giardiniera” – Magdeburg, 06/05/2017

The Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Svetoslav Borisov hit just the right balance between musical humor and elegiac sentiment. He sharpened the individual instrument groups and obtained the necessary accents from winds and percussion.

Herbert Henning, Orpheus, July/August 2017


Svetoslav Borisov found a splendid Mozart tone with the Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He led them play light but thank God without any attempt to domesticate this composer. Contrasts are sharp without exaggeration, sentiment is there without kitsch. The softly discreet violins are tender for the ears and are contrasted by gruff basses and comical grumblings of the drums. Above all, Borisov gives this music an excellent and balanced drive which pushes everything straight and forward – we were all very amused.

Irene Constantin, Volksstimme, 08/05/2017


Ballett “Le Corsaire” – Magdeburg, 06/04/2017

Svetoslav Borisov, first Kapellmeister in Magdeburg, coordinates the music and choreography with sensitivity and precision. He also succeeds in bringing together the music of all the composers who over the years added music to this ballet. That is done with such skill that everything works like a unified and complete work of art.

Rolf-Dietmar Schmidt, Volksstimme, 08/04/2017


Gounod “Faust” – Magdeburg, 10/09/2016

Svetoslav Borisov, the new first Kapellmeister, made this “Faust” a special musical event. Together with the Magdeburg Philharmonic (in excellent shape) he cast sweetness aside and demonstrated all the qualities of this opera, above all the glorious magic of its sound. He kept the stage and the orchestra wonderfully together. He phrased with great subtlety and has a feeling for sharp and well-hammered contrasts. He underlines the drama and also the lyricism of this sensuous theatre music. His tempi are flexible, he has a great sense of orchestral details and carries the singers with constant attentiveness through their roles. An impressive first premiere for this energetic Bulgarian conductor. He greatly enriches the Magdeburg theatre.

Dieter David Scholz, MDR Kultur, 11/09/2016


With its new first Kapellmeister Svetoslav Borisov, the Magdeburg Philharmonic reaches its best form. They can sound dark and menacing, they can blast the marches, they dance the waltzes and they led the singers soar with French eloquence and without limits.

Joachim Lange, nmz online, 11/09/2016


The complete musical success of this production [Gounod’s Faust] was the work of the wide- reaching conducting of Magdeburg’s new first Kapellmeister Svetoslav Borisov, who was particularly supportive of the singers. This Bulgarian conductor reached an exceptional level: the orchestra was in excellent shape and he obtained fine and subtle musicianship, all the while keeping this huge machine together in the choruses.

Gerhard Eckels, Opernfreund, 04/10/2016


Svetoslav Borisov found a compelling balance between dramatic energy and lyricism. He knows what dangers to avoid in Gounod and French romanticism. And with him these romantic passages sound deeply felt and just right. The premiere public thanked everyone with enthusiastic rhythmic applause for a great night at the opera.

Jürgen Gahre, Opernglas, October 2016


Concert at the Musikverein Graz, 19/01/2016

For the second time in a few weeks, the conductor Svetoslav Borisov rescued a symphony concert in the Musikverein. In November he replaced Krzysztof Penderecki, and now at the last moment Dennis Russel Davies. With the Bruckner Orchestra Linz he conducted Bruckner’s Romantic symphony and Richard Dünser’s violin concerto. A young conductor and an orchestra with exceptionally long Bruckner experience  – here it was a sparkling combination. The first movement of the Bruckner had youthful power. Borisov allowed Bruckner’s characteristically crafted dynamics to unfold in full. He was even better when he led compellingly beautiful intermezzi shine through all the monumentality.

Martin Gasser, Kronenzeitung, 20/01/2016


Concert at the Musikverein Graz, 23/11/2015

A grandiose version of Shostakovich’s 6th symphony: the elegiac opening of the symphony flowed expansively. At the end of the movement, Borisov avoided any hint of pathos and conducted the final bars with endless clarity, feeling and calm. A great moment which the scherzo then blasted away. After which the raging ghost of a presto found under Borisov its full demonic effect, through sharply drawn lines instead of drastic noise.

MW, Kronenzeitung, 25/11/2015


“Csárdásfürstin” – Musiktheater im Revier, Gelsenkirchen 19/12/2014

The Neue Philharmonie Westfalen with Svetoslav Borisov is pure pleasure. It is a delight to hear Kalmán’s melodies without added sugar. Borisov gives them tempo, drive and space and just a touch of sentiment and melancholy.

Thomas Hilgemeier, Theater pur, 23/12/2014


Svetoslav Borisov leads the musicians with a light hand through the Csárdás and waltz rhythms and ensures a full-blooded sound from the pit.

Thomas Moltke, Online Musik Magazin, 21/12/2014


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