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Music Director

Carl Topilow 2018Carl Topilow
Music Director and Principal Conductor

Music Director and Conductor Carl Topilow, currently in his 41st year with the National Repertory Orchestra, has led the orchestra to the forefront of summer music festivals.  He has assisted in the training of talented young musicians and conductors for positions in orchestras in the United States and abroad.  His manner of presenting the music through musical illustrations and guides has enhanced the concert experience for the NRO’s appreciative audiences.  

Topilow is the founding conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and is also 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, principal pops conductor with the Toledo Symphony and Southwest Florida Symphony.  He has served as guest conductor for more than 120 orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries, invariably finding NRO alumni wherever his travels take him. 

Topilow’s wife Shirley is the Director of the Morgenstern Dance Studio and President and CEO of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.  Their daughter Jenny, an NRO alumna from the 2001 and 2003 seasons, is a member of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.  This fall, daughter Emily will be starting her senior year at Bowling Green State University (OH) where she studies psychology and marketing and performs as a violinist with the university orchestra. Carl’s hobbies include reading, foreign languages, traveling, golf, and especially enjoys his time with his two grandchildren, Edie and Arlo.

Topilow is particularly proud of the accomplishments of his assistant conductors.  They hold or have held positions with the following orchestras:

Annapolis Symphony
Bakersfield Symphony
Baltimore Symphony
Binghamton (NY) Symphony
Boise Symphony
Buffalo Philharmonic
Cincinnati Symphony
Cleveland Orchestra
Colorado Symphony
Columbus (OH) Symphony
Evansville Philharmonic
Houston Symphony
Illinois Philharmonic
Indianapolis Symphony
Ithaca College Symphony
Kansas City Symphony
Limoges (France) Opera
Louisville Orchestra
Mansfield Symphony
Naples Philharmonic
New Haven Symphony
Northwest Arkansas Symphony
Owensboro Philharmonic
Quad Cities Symphony
Rice University Orchestra
Richmond Symphony
Santa Fe Symphony
Seattle Symphony
Springfield (MA) Symphony
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Symphony in C
Symphony of Southeast Texas
Thunder Bay Symphony
Toledo Symphony
University of Minnesota Symphony