About Carl Topilow

Carl 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 longtime dream of conducting his own pops orchestra, Carl founded the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. The orchestra, currently in its 22nd 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. A new CD, issued in 2016, commemorates the orchestra's 20th anniversary and includes a selection of live performances selected from concerts over a span from the past decade.

Carl is also Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he is also head of the Masters program in orchestral conducting. Graduates of this program can be found as maestros with several leading orchestras.

Carl is 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 550.

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 more than 120 orchestras, in 37 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 Orchestra.

Topilow's wife Shirley is President and CEO of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and Director of the Morgenstern Dance Studio. His daughter, Emily, attends Bowling Green State University where she is majoring in psychology and is a violinist with the university orchestra. His daughter, Jenny, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Carnegie Mellon University, is a violinist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

Graduates of Carl Topilow's masters program in orchestral conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music hold or have held positions with the following orchestras:

Annapolis Symphony, Arkansas Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Orchestra of Limoges (France), Louisville Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica de Minas Gerais (Brazil), Ohio Light Opera, Richmond Symphony, US Army Band "Pershing's Own."


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Carl Topilow has appeared as a guest conductor with these orchestras:

Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra
Akron Symphony Orchestra
Albuquerque Opera Theatre
Amarillo Symphony Orchestra
Anchorage Symphony Orchestra
Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
Arapahoe Chamber Orchetsra
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Aurora (CO) Symphony
Austin Symphony Orchestra
Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Belluno (Italy) Orchestra
Boca Raton Philharmonic Symphonia
Bochumer Sinfoniker (Germany)
Boise Philharmonic Orchestra
Boulder Philharmonic
Breckenridge Music Festival
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Calgary Philharmonic
Carnegie Mellon Symphony Orchestra
Cedar Rapids (IA) Symphony Orchestra
Charleston (SC) Symphony Orchestra
Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra
Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Philharmonic
Cleveland Institute of Music Wind Ensemble
Cleveland Institute of Music Youth Orchestra
Cleveland Opera Theatre
Cleveland Orchestra
Cleveland Philharmonic
Collegium Academicum (Geneva, Switzerland)
Colorado All State Orchestra
Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Columbus Symphony
Connecticut Orchestra
Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra
Denver Symphony Orchestra
Denver University Orchestra
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Elgin Symphony Orchestra
Erie Philharmonic Orchestra
Eugene Symphony Orchestra
Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra
Firelands Symphony Orchestra (OH)
Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra
Florida Symphony Orchestra
Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra
Four Corners Opera
Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra
Grand Junction Symphony
Hamilton (CANADA) Philharmonic Orchestra
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Indiana Chamber Orchestra (Fort Wayne)
Indiana University Orchestra
Janacek Philharmonic (Czech Republic)
Johnstown (PA) Symphony Orchestra
Lake Charles (LA) Symphony
Long Beach Symphony Orchestra
Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
Louisville Orchestra
Magdeburg (Germany) Philharmonic Orchestra
Manhattan School of Music Orchestra
Mansfield (OH) Symphony Orchestra
Maracaibo Symphony Orchestra (Venezuela)
Memphis Symphony Orchestra
Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra
Missouri Symphony Orchestra
Music in the Mountains (Durango, CO)
National Symphony of Mexico
New Haven Symphony Orchestra
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
New Mexico Symphony Orchestra
New World Symphony Orchestra (Miami)
Northwest Chamber Orchestra (Seattle)
Oberlin College Opera Theatre
Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra
Orchestra and Chorus of St. Louis
Orchestra of the University (Mexico City)
Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela
Orchestra of the State of Romania
Owensboro (KY) Philharmonic Orchestra
Pacific Symphony Orchestra
Philharmonic Society of St. Louis
Phoenix Symphony Orchestra
Penfield (NY) Symphony Orchestra
Pilsen Philharmonic (Czech Republic)
Portland (ME) Symphony Orchestra
Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Quad Cities Symphony
Reno Chamber Orchestra
Richmond (VA) Symphony Orchestra
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Academy of Music (London) Orchestra
Romanian State Orchestra
San Antonio Symphony Orchestra
Shanghai Ballet Orchestra
Shanghai Opera Orchestra
Shreveport Symphony Orchestra
South Bend Symphony Orchestra
Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra
Spokane Symphony Orchestra
Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra
Suburban Symphony (Cleveland)
Symphony of Southeast Texas
Syracuse Symphony Orchestra
Tacoma Symphony Orchestra
Toledo Symphony Orchestra
Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra
Tulsa Symphony Orchestra
Tuscaloosa Symphony
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Wheeling Symphony Orchestra
Wichita Symphony Orchestra
Windsor Symphony Orchestra
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Winston Salem Symphony Orchestra
Youngstown Symphony Orchestra