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About Us



Enriching lives through music.


The FSO will inspire and unite our community and become the premier organization providing live quality music in North Central Ohio through concerts and other performances, music education, and community engagement.


As we seek to achieve our mission and vision, we will strictly adhere to our core values: to remain fiscally sound, be well managed and good stewards of the resources entrusted to us, embrace diversity and inclusiveness, and adhere to the highest ethical standards.


In 1983, a small group of musicians gathered to present a concert to a group of their friends at St. Mary’s Church in Sandusky, Ohio. Encouraged by the support of the community, the group flourished, and after years of performances and community engagement, developed into the professional orchestra we present to you today.

The orchestra, first known as The Fine Arts Chamber Orchestra, began under the direction of Timothy Claughbaugh who has served as the organist for St. Mary’s Church since 1982. Several interim conductors led the orchestra until J. Santos Perez became music director and conductor in 1992. It was at this time that the organization changed its name to The Firelands Symphony Orchestra (FSO) and was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity.


The Firelands Symphony Orchestra’s mission is “enriching lives through music.” Dedicated to this mission, and our goal of fostering a life-long appreciation and love for the arts, the FSO conducts year-round musical entertainment, community engagement, and education throughout the Firelands region.

Since 2008, Carl Topilow, FSO’s current music director and conductor, has dedicated his skills and talents to making the FSO who we are today. Since Maestro Topilow’s appointment as music director and conductor, FSO has expanded to include local and Cleveland-area professional musicians, as well students from both the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Maestro Topilow has also secured top emerging guest artists to perform with the orchestra for the Firelands region.

In addition to our concerts, we continue to foster our mission through our education and community programs. We offer a series of programs in local schools to expose children to music in their early development stages in preschool, and continue for their entire academic journey through 12th grade to encourage them to take advantage of the music courses offered in their schools (orchestra, band and choir). We also provide a variety of outreach events, such as bi-weekly concerts at local senior living facilities, family events, interactive music education activities, and more.

In addition, our School of Music offers affordable, private music lessons and masterclasses for students of all ages, taught by our highly experienced music instructors.


The vision of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra is to become the premier organization providing live quality music in North Central Ohio. We are well on our way to achieving this goal with our continued growth of our programs, community offerings, and artistic expression.

As the FSO continues to grow and change, we vow to always remain steadfast and true to our mission, as well as our values of being good stewards of the resources entrusted to us, embracing diversity and inclusiveness, and adhering to the highest ethical standards.

If you would like to stay up to date with us on this journey, please stay connected by joining our email list and following us on social media.

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Events & Tickets


free summer concert

Pops on the Peninsula


Firelands Brass Quintet


High Frequency Flute Quartet