First-Ever Pops Youth Orchestra Launches in Cleveland

Carl Topilow with students from National Repertory Orchestra.

Carl Topilow with students from National Repertory Orchestra.

The first-ever concert season pops youth orchestra has been created in Cleveland, Ohio, with 50 young musicians forming the Cleveland Pops Youth Orchestra (CPYO). This invention is an educational and performing ensemble under the Cleveland Pops Orchestra founded by Pops Conductor Carl Topilow and President and CEO Shirley Morgenstern.

“I’m excited to start an orchestra whose entire focus will be on popular music!” Topilow said. “The orchestra is hard at work and looking forward to our first public appearances.”

Topilow, who has bolstered the training of talented young musicians and conductors for positions in symphonic orchestras in the United States and abroad for many years, has been hard at work with Morgenstern and The Music Settlement to create this innovative training orchestra. He will bring his years of talent and work as a conductor and musician to this initiative.

“It’s my chance to give something special to this generation of young people about this music,” Topilow said.

Children ages 11 to 18 will now play in an ensemble with a unique, symphonic pops repertoire, which includes multiple genres, from Broadway, Hollywood, jazz, and rock—the music of our American heritage. This variety of music will be explored and performed in both traditional and non-traditional settings, with rehearsals at The Music Settlement in University Circle, Cleveland. 

CPYO’s opening concert will be held on Monday, December 10, at Kulas Auditorium on the campus of John Carroll University in University Heights. Another performance is scheduled on December 17 at the newly opened Van Aken District in Shaker Heights.

Repertoire for their first pair of concerts includes well-known music from Hollywood: James Bond, Star Wars, The Incredibles, and Disney movies. Rock hits include “Hang on Sloopy” and the music of Queen. Also to be played are The Ashokan Farewell from the documentary series The Civil War, and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.