About Carl Topilow
Topilow is renowned worldwide for his versatility, whether he is
holding a conductor's baton or his trademark red clarinet. He is
a multi-talented virtuoso who equally at home in classical and
popular music both as conductor and instrumentalist. Carl's pops
performances blend light classical, swing, jazz, Broadway,
Dixieland, and Klezmer music, usually finding occasion to
include a number on his array of brightly colored clarinets. His
unique approach to pops programming includes extensive audience
involvement and true showmanship.
Following his long time dream of conducting his own pops
orchestra, Carl founded the
Pops Orchestra. The orchestra, currently in its 17th season,
plays to large audiences in Severance Hall and in several other
venues throughout Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland Pops Orchestra's
diverse, innovative and electrifying programs have been
critically acclaimed. The orchestra has two CDs, Music to Grow
On, an exciting collection of music for children and adults of
all ages, and Live at the Pops, a stirring compilation of music
taken from live performances, as well as several sampler CDs
used for promotions.
Carl is also Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program
at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is currently in his 32nd
year as conductor of the CIM Orchestras, and is also head of the
Masters program in orchestral conducting. Graduates of this
program can be found as maestros with several leading
Carl recently completed his 35th season as Music Director and
Conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra, a summer music
festival based in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. He has
assisted in the training of talented young musicians and
conductors for positions in symphonic orchestras in the United
States and abroad.
In 2008, Carl was appointed Music Director and Conductor of
the The Firelands Symphony Orchestra, based in Sandusky, OH,
performing 5 masterworks and 1 outdoor pops concert each season.
During Topilow's tenure with the orchestra, the number of
subscriptions has increased from 56 to 505.
Carl has also served as Principal Pops Conductor for the
Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in Ft. Myers, Florida, as
well as for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.
As a guest conductor, Carl has appeared around the world with
nearly 100 orchestras, in 30 states in the USA, as well as
orchestras in Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, France,
Germany, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.
In addition to his busy conducting schedule, Carl avidly
pursues his passion for performing as clarinetist. He often
performs with his brother Arthur, a pianist, and the duo can be
heard on three CDs, Come in from the Cold, A View from the Top,
and Music of America.
Carl is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, with a
degree in clarinet performance and a masters degree in music
education. He has held conducting fellowships with the National
Orchestral Association with Leon Barzin and the Aspen Music
Festival with under Jorge Mester. Carl began his professional
career as Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor of the Denver Symphony
Topilow's wife Shirley is President and CEO of the Cleveland
Pops Orchestra and Director of the Morgenstern Dance Studio.
Daughter Emily is a student at Beachwood High School, and loves
her violin and dance classes. Daughter Jenny, a graduate of the
Cleveland Institute of Music and Carnegie Mellon University, is
a violinist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. This year
Carl became a grandfather, as Jenny's daughter Edie was welcomed
into the world.