guest conductor

Carl Topilow

Michael Stern by Jennifery Taylor 2bg

Through his more than four decades as the NRO’s music director and conductor, Carl Topilow has influenced and nurtured countless young musicians and aspiring conductors.  In his new role as Conductor Laureate, he is remaining active with the organization and enjoying his work with music director Michael Stern.

Topilow is the founding conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and music director and conductor of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra in Sandusky, Ohio.  Past positions have included conductor and director of the orchestral program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and principal pops conductor with the Toledo Symphony, Southwest Florida Symphony and Mansfield Symphony.  He has served as guest conductor for 130 different orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries, invariably finding NRO alumni wherever his travels take him.

Carl’s book, The Orchestral Conductor’s Career Handbook and published by Rowman and Littlefield, is now available through www.rowman.com and www.carltopilow.com. Containing abundant references to his work with the NRO, it has been endorsed by past NRO guest conductors Leonard Slatkin, JoAnn Falletta, Gerard Schwarz, Giancarlo Guerrero, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and others.

Topilow’s wife Shirley is the President and CEO of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.  Their daughter Jenny, an NRO alumna from the 2001 and 2003 seasons, is a violinist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.  Their daughter Emily is a marketing specialist at the Cleveland Clinic and performs as violinist with a local community orchestra. Carl’s hobbies include reading, foreign languages, travel, golf, spectator sports, and especially enjoys his time with his two grandchildren, Edie and Arlo.

Topilow is proud of the accomplishments of his NRO assistant conductors.  The orchestras with which they have held or hold positions include the Annapolis Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Binghamton (NY) Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, Columbus (OH) Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Limoges (France) Opera, Louisville Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, New Haven Symphony, Quad Cities Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Springfield (MA) Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Symphony in C, Symphony of Southeast Texas, Thunder Bay Symphony, and Toledo Symphony.