• FSO & CARL TOPILOW

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Welcome to the Firelands Symphony Orchestra and Music Director and Conductor Maestro Carl Topilow!

The Firelands Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1992 as a non-profit organization after 10 years as a growing chamber orchestra. Leadership shifted through many hands as the organization grew until May of 2008 when our current Music Director and Conductor Carl Topilow joined the Firelands Symphony Orchestra. The Orchesta has experienced tremendous growth in quality, subscriptions, attendance and exposure to world class soloists with Carl’s contribution. The Firelands Symphony Orchestra’s mission is to “Enrich lives through music” and continues to expand its musical offerings through the introduction of the Firelands Symphony Chorale led by Michael Shirtz, the FSO School of Music and many community engagement and outreach activities.

To learn more about the Firelands Symphony Orchestra and members please follow these links:

Enriching Lives Through Music


  • Music Education Engagement
    Each year, the Firelands Symphony Orchestra brings our guest artists and musicians into local schools across North Central Ohio to perform, teach and encourage choir, orchestra and band classes. Additionally, we bring an artist or ensemble to three elementary schools for a multi-grade interactive music presentation (up to 375 students).
  • Music Lessons
    ou can sign up at anytime. We offer lessons for: piano, guitar, music theory, saxophone, clarinet, viola, cello, voice, trumpet, and trombone. Call (419) 621-4800 to register!
    Learn More

SUPPORT THE FSO

Did you know that ticket sales cover only 25% of the cost of producing FSO’s concert series and community engagement programs? Nearly 3/4 of the orchestra’s budget comes from grants, special events and donations from concert-goers like you.

You can support the orchestra’s dynamic programs by contributing to the Annual Fund, becoming a Chair Sponsor or leaving FSO a legacy through a planned gift such as a will bequest or charitable gift annuity.

Ways To Donate


Event Schedule

  • Date
  • Event
  • Description
    • Date
      January 21, 2021
      7:00 pm
    • Event
      Session 2: The Next Steps: Developing A Career
      $0
    • Description
      Interactive ZOOM Sessions with Maestro Carl Topilow
      Carl shares his personal experiences as an emerging conductor through hard work, belief in his abilities, determination, and capitalizing on opportunities. From assembling concerts, finding openings for conductor positions, propelling his career through success in the Baltimore Symphony’s Conducting Competition, to the founding of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. LEARN MORE
    • Date
      January 26, 2021
      7:00 pm
    • Event
      Session 2: Innovation & Improvisation
      $0
    • Description
      Interactive ZOOM Sessions with Chorale Director Michael Shirtz
      Explore Brubeck’s musical genius with Shirtz and MSQ drummer Reggie Jackson as they discuss the famous Dave Brubeck Quartet and the songs and sounds that made them so popular in the 50s, 60s, and into the 70s. LEARN MORE
    • Date
      February 4, 2021
      7:00 pm
    • Event
      Session 3: Winning A Job and Keeping It!
      $0
    • Description
      Interactive ZOOM Sessions with Maestro Carl Topilow
      How do you sell yourself once you have been selected to audition for the position? How do you make a positive impression on the committee, the musicians, the board, the staff, and the audience? How do you survive and thrive past the honeymoon period? Carl answers these questions interspersed with his personal experiences demonstrating the special ways he learned how to stand out. LEARN MORE
    • Date
      February 9, 2021
      7:00 pm
    • Event
      Session 3: The Classic Quartet
      $0
    • Description
      Interactive ZOOM Sessions with Chorale Director Michael Shirtz
      Continued discussion about the Dave Brubeck Quartet with Shirtz and MSQ saxophonist George Michael. Examine the breakthrough album “Time Out” and the partnerships between Brubeck and his musicians. LEARN MORE
    • Date
      February 23, 2021
      7:00 pm
    • Event
      Session 4: From Jazz To Classical Composer
      $0
    • Description
      Interactive ZOOM Sessions with Chorale Director Michael Shirtz
      Shirtz provides an overview into Brubeck’s work as a composer of jazz, to his creations in American pop and classical music that spans all genres, including orchestral and choral works. LEARN MORE
    • Date
      March 9, 2021
      7:00 pm
    • Event
      Session 5: Mike's Favorite Recordings
      $0
    • Description
      Interactive ZOOM Sessions with Chorale Director Michael Shirtz
      Shirtz shares his favorite recordings, videos, and performances of Brubeck and where to find them. Includes an invitation for participants to discuss their favorites with the group. LEARN MORE
    • Date
      March 18, 2021
      7:00 pm
    • Event
      Session 6: On The Podium: Ways To Musical Integrity
      $0
    • Description
      Interactive ZOOM Sessions with Maestro Carl Topilow
      Experience the gestures which Carl has initiated and developed to use in his conducting and teaching to remove the awkwardness in a conductor’s approach, while proving to be an efficient manner of connecting with an orchestra, and enabling him to avoid the injuries which plague many conductors. LEARN MORE
    • Date
      March 23, 2021
      7:00 pm
    • Event
      Session 6: The Journey
      $0
    • Description
      Interactive ZOOM Sessions with Chorale Director Michael Shirtz
      Finale on Brubeck’s 100 years in becoming a leading jazz icon and an American legend, including the impact his music encouraged Shirtz and his career. LEARN MORE
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