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music director
& Conductor

Carl Topilow, Music Director and Conductor of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra

Carl Topilow

Music Director and Conductor

During Carl Topilow’s tenure as the Firelands Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director and Conductor, the orchestra has seen a dramatic improvement in the orchestra’s quality, a significant rise in subscriptions and concert attendance, and the appearance of world class soloists to our stage.

In addition to his work with the FSO, Topilow is Founding Conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, is Music Advisor for the National Repertory Orchestra, a summer festival in Breckenridge, Colorado, and was named Faculty Emeritus at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has served as principal pops conductor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra.

Topilow has performed as guest conductor with 128 different orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries. This season, his travels take him to orchestras in Paducah (KY), Toledo, Youngstown, and the Ohio Valley Symphony.

Topilow’s wife Shirley is President and CEO of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Their daughter Jenny is a violinist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Their daughter Emily is working at the marketing department of the Cleveland Clinic and graduated with her master’s degree in communication from the University of Akron.

Carl’s new book, The Orchestral Conductor’s Career Handbook published by Rowman and Littlefield, is now available through It has been acclaimed by prominent conductors Leonard Slatkin, JoAnn Falletta, and Gerard Schwarz.


Carl In Action