World-Famous Bulgarian Jazz Musician Milcho Leviev Dies at 81
ESD 16:57:01 13-10-2019
105 - CULTURE - MILCHO LEVIEV - OBITUARY
Milcho Leviev Dies at 81
Sofia, October 13 (BTA) - World-famous Bulgarian jazz musician Milcho Leviev has died at the age of 81 in Thessaloniki, Greece, the Bulgarian National Radio reported Sunday.
Born in 1937 in the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, Leviev graduated from the State Music Conservatory in Sofia where the renowned composers Pancho Vladigerov and Andrei Stoyanov were his professors. He started his career as musical director and composer-in-residence at the State Drama Theatre in Plovdiv, moving later to Sofia where he was conductor of the Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio between 1962 and 1966.
In 1965, he set up the Jazz Focus'65 band which toured the country and abroad until 1970 with great success. One of his best-known pieces from that time was an arrangement of Paul McCartney's Yesterday.
In 1970 Leviev left for Los Angeles on the invitation of Duke Ellis, and stayed there until 1977. In the early 1980s, he returned briefly to Bulgaria for a series of concerts. He toured extensively Europe and the United States.
Leviev also had an extensive teaching career. He was lecturer at the Jazz Studies Faculty at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles from 1988 to 1998; taught at the GROVE School of Music, Los Angeles, from 1974 to 1992; at the State Music School in Plovdiv (1960-1962); and led a master class at New Bulgarian University.
He was author of the arrangement of Blue Rondo a la Turk (Dave Brubeck) recorded by Al Jarreau for his Grammy 1982 winning album Breakin' Away. He was holder of a Grammy nomination for the Best Vocal Arrangement of Charlie Parker's, Confirmation, recorded by Manhattan Transfer for the album Mecca for Moderns, 1981.
He spent the final years of his life in Thessaloniki with his wife and singer Vicky Almazidu. LN/