KSO Welcomes Anne Akiko Meyers, J'Nai Bridges and Music Director Candidate, Stilian Kirov, to Miller for a Celebration of Leonard Bernstein's 100th on March 24th | Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
HomeAbout UsKso NewsAnne Akiko MeyersKSO Welcomes Anne Akiko Meyers, J'Nai Bridges and Music Director Candidate, Stilian Kirov, to Miller for a Celebration of Leonard Bernstein's 100th on March 24th

KSO Welcomes Anne Akiko Meyers, J'Nai Bridges and Music Director Candidate, Stilian Kirov, to Miller for a Celebration of Leonard Bernstein's 100th on March 24th


Kalamazoo, MI March 6, 2018 – The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra with guest conductor and Music Director Candidate, Stilian Kirov, present a celebration of Leonard Bernstein. Anne Akiko Meyers performs his Serenade and Mezzo-soprano, J’Nai Bridges, is featured in his 1st Symphony, “Jeremiah.”  

Maestro Kirov shares, “I am very excited to be joining the wonderful Kalamazoo Symphony for this very powerful all-Bernstein concert. Sharing the stage with the outstanding Anne Akiko Meyers and J'Nai Bridges is also another great reason for musical celebration. I'm privileged to be one of the candidates for the KSO's Music Director position and am looking forward to an exhilarating musical journey together.”

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is currently in the midst of a search for its next Music Director, to follow the long tenure of Maestro Raymond Harvey. Stilian Kirov, Music Director of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra and New Jersey’s Symphony in C, is the fourth of five candidates to visit the city and work with the orchestra. Mr. Kirov will spend a full week in Kalamazoo meeting with various groups from the KSO, rehearsing with the orchestra and talking with musicians before the culminating event of the concert on Saturday.


Stilian Kirov

First Prize Winner of the 2017 “Debut Berlin” Concert Competition, Stilian Kirov made his debut in June with the German National Orchestra at Berlin Philharmonic Hall. He returned to the U.S. to begin the 2017/2018 season as the newly-appointed Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic in Chicago’s Southland. He will continue his music directorships with the Bakersfield Symphony in California and New Jersey’s Symphony in C. A 2016 recipient of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Mr. Kirov continues to build upon his previous successes as Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Memphis Symphony. 

Recent engagements include guest appearances with the Amarillo Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra/Breckenridge, and the symphonies of Kalamazoo, South Bend, Tucson, Venice (FL), and West Virginia. Following his highly acclaimed debut in 2012, he also appears regularly as guest conductor with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. Mr. Kirov also recently served an assistant conductor to Bernard Haitink with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and stepped in to replace Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos with the Seattle Symphony, conducting “spectacular” performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Worldwide, Stilian Kirov has appeared with the Leopolis Chamber Orchestra/Ukraine, Orchestra of Colors/Athens, Orchestre Colonne/Paris, Sofia Festival Orchestra, State Hermitage Orchestra/St. Petersburg, Thüringen Philharmonic Orchestra, Zagreb Philharmonic, and the Victoria Symphony/British Columbia, among others.

A graduate of The Juilliard School’s conducting program, Mr. Kirov is the recipient of numerous honors, including a prize at Denmark’s 2015 Malko Competition, an Emmy for the Memphis Symphony’s Soundtrack Project, and Third Prize at the 2010 Mitropoulos Conducting Competition.

Also, a gifted pianist, Stilian Kirov was Gold Medalist of the 2001 Claude Kahn International Piano Competition in Paris.

J’Nai Bridges

American mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after talents of her generation. Her performances in the 2016-17 season include her debuts at San Francisco Opera and Bavarian State Opera as Bersi in Andrea Chénier, at Los Angeles Opera as Nefertiti in Akhnaten, and at Vancouver Opera as Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking; and featured soloist appearances with the Marilyn Horne Song Celebration at Carnegie Hall, with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in the Farewell to Christoph Eschenbach concert, with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and with the NDR Symphony Orchestra in its inaugural week in the Elbphilharmonie.

J’Nai’s recent performances include the roles of Carmen in the world premiere of Bel Canto with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with San Diego Opera, and the title role in The Rape of Lucretia with Wolf Trap Opera; as well as concert engagements with Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; with the L.A. Philharmonic and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel; with the NDR Symphony Orchestra in her first performances of Ravel’s Shéhérazade; and with the Oregon Symphony.

J’Nai recently completed a three-year residency with the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, which included performances as Inez in Il trovatore, Vlasta in Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, and Flora in La traviata.

In 2015, J’Nai represented the United States at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Additionally, she was a recipient of a 2016 Richard Tucker Career grant, the first prize winner at the 2016 Francisco Vinjas International Competition, and the 2015 Gerda Lissner Competition. She was previously a young artist at the Glimmerglass Festival.

A native of Lakewood, Washington, J’Nai earned her Master of Music degree from Curtis Institute of Music and her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music.

Anne Akiko Meyers

Violin superstar, Anne Akiko Meyers actively maintains an extensive touring schedule and was the top-selling classical instrumental soloist on Billboard charts in 2014.  She regularly performs as guest soloist with many of the world’s top orchestras, presents ground-breaking recitals, and passionately supports and commissions new works from composers. 

A champion of living composers, Meyers has actively added new works to the violin repertoire by commissioning and premiering works by composers such as Mason Bates, Jakub Ciupinski, John Corigliano, Jennifer Higdon, Samuel Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Akira Miyoshi, Arvo Pärt, Gene Pritsker, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Huang Ruo, Somei Satoh, Adam Schoenberg and Joseph Schwantner. 

Anne has collaborated with a diverse array of artists outside of traditional classical, including jazz icons, Chris Botti and Wynton Marsalis, avant-garde musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto, electronic music pioneer, Isao Tomita, pop-era act, Il Divo and singer, Michael Bolton. She performed the National Anthem in front of 42,000 fans at Safeco Field in Seattle, appeared twice on “The Tonight Show” and was featured in a segment on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” that became the third most popular story of the year.

Anne has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Morning Editionwith Linda Wertheimer and All Things Considered with Robert Siegel and the popular Nick Jr. show, Take Me To Your Mother, with Andrea Rosen. Best-selling novelist, J. Courtney Sullivan, consulted with Anne for The Engagements, and based one of the main characters careers loosely on Anne’s. She also collaborated with children’s book author and illustrator, Kristine Papillon, on Crumpet the Trumpet, where the character Violetta the violinist, is played by Anne.

Anne Akiko Meyers was born in San Diego, California and grew up in Southern California. She studied with Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, Josef Gingold at Indiana University, and Felix Galimir, Masao Kawasaki and Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School. She received the Avery Fisher Career Grant and was recently awarded “The Luminary Award” for her support of 


Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra presents Symphonic Series Concert:

Leonard Bernstein’s 100th
Saturday, March 24, 2018 – Miller Auditorium, 8pm
Stilian Kirov, Conductor
Anne Akiko Meyers, Violin
J’Nai Bridges, Mezzo-soprano


Bernstein                Overture to Candide

                               Serenade (After Plato’s “Symposium”)

                               Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah

                               Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story”


Stilian Kirov, Music Director of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra and New Jersey’s Symphony in C, conducts our celebration of Leonard Bernstein! Anne Akiko Meyers performs Serenade, and Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges is featured in his 1st Symphony “Jeremiah."

Tickets: $60 - $24
Student & Veteran discounts available.
$5 Student Rush tickets with valid ID, are available at the box office the night of the concert.

For tickets, visit www.kalamazoosymphony.com, call the KSO Box Office at (269) 349-7759 or call Miller Auditorium Ticket Office at (269) 387-2300.

Visit www.kalamazoosymphony.com for up-to-date information, details and schedules. Prices, artists, dates, time and program are subject to change without notice.

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra receives major support from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra also receives generous support from other local, state and national foundations, as well as private and corporate support. For more information, visit www.kalamazoosymphony.com.



Founded in 1921, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is Southwest Michigan’s premier musical organization and the state’s third largest orchestra. Serving Michigan’s fourth largest metropolitan area, the KSO provides more than thirty concert performances each year, reaching more than 80,000 adults and youth per year with great symphonic music and world class guest artists. With an equally vibrant educational mission, the KSO offers school-based programs that music teachers rely on to support their curriculum, and afterschool programs that have been recognized by the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. The KSO has won numerous awards and grants, including the Met Life Award for Arts Access in Underserved Communities, the National Endowment for the Arts for its extensive education programs, and a major Ford Foundation grant to establish its innovative Artist-in-Residence program.

Tags: Anne Akiko Meyers, Bernstein100, Candide, J'Nai Bridges, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, kalsym, Leondard Bernstein, Mezzo-soprano, Serenade, stilian kirov, symphonic, Violin, West Side Story