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Our new conductor

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

The Firelands Symphony Orchestra's new conductor, Carl Topilow, is in Sandusky for a couple of days, playing golf with orchestra supporters, attending wine and cheese parties and tackling other onerous marketing duties.

Snagging this guy feels like a coup for the Firelands Symphony Orchestra. It's a small regional orchestra, but there's nothing small-time about Topilow.

Consider: He's the conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra (which he founded with his wife, by the way, revealing an entrepreneurial mindset.) He is the conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado and also conducts the orchestras of the Cleveland Institute of Music.

I'm a big fan of the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, and when I mentioned that as I was interviewing Topilow, he told me he recently conducted the composer's seventh symphony. Originally, it had a quiet ending, but Joseph Stalin, the Russian dictator, mass murderer and classical music critic, didn't like the work's finish and Prokofiev was obliged to write a new ending, Topilow explained.

Like other conductors, Topilow also serves as a guest conductor for many other orchestras. Here's a partial list:

Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra

Akron Symphony Orchestra

Albuquerque Opera Theatre

Amarillo Symphony Orchestra

Anchorage Symphony Orchestra

Annapolis Symphony Orchestra

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Austin Symphony Orchestra

Perhaps you noticed I only listed the A's. To avoid making this post too long, I'm omitting the Czech Republic, Houston, Mexico, Shanghai, Phoenix, St. Louis, etc. etc.

Firelands Symphony's opening concert is Sept. 13-14 in Sandusky and Norwalk; details here.

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