The Roaring Twenties

KeyBank Pops

Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle

Season: 2020-2021

February 27, 2021

Concert Time: 8:00 pm

Carl Topilow, conductor 
Connor Bogart O’Brien, vocalist

Ring in the new decade with a throwback to one of the most exhilarating times in history: the 1920s. Back by popular demand, singer Connor Bogart O’Brien returns to Toledo for a memorable evening of music inspired by the Jazz Age. Thrill to favorites, like All I Care About is Love and Mr. Cellophane from ChicagoMakin’ WhoopeeStardust, and more!

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Carl Topilow is renowned worldwide for his versatility, whether he is holding a conductor's baton or his trademark red clarinet. He is a multi-talented virtuoso who is equally at home in classical and popular music both as conductor and instrumentalist. Carl's pops performances blend the music of Broadway and Hollywood, as well as popular music, light classics and jazz, often finding an occasion to include a number on his array of brightly colored clarinets. His unique approach to pops programming includes extensive audience involvement and true showmanship.

Following his longtime dream of conducting his own pops orchestra, Carl founded the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. The orchestra, currently in its 24th season, plays its subscription series in Severance Hall and performs in several other locations throughout Ohio. The Cleveland Pops Orchestra's diverse, innovative and electrifying programs have been critically acclaimed. The orchestra has three CDs, Music to Grow On, an exciting collection of music for children and adults of all ages, Live at the Pops, a stirring compilation of music taken from live performances, and a 20th anniversary CD, which includes a selection of live performances taken from concerts over a span from the past decade.

Carl is Music Director and Conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra, a summer music festival based in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. He has assisted in the training of talented young musicians and conductors for positions in symphonic orchestras in the United States and abroad.

In 2008, Carl was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, based in Sandusky, OH. During Topilow's tenure with the orchestra, the number of subscriptions has increased from 56 to 550. Featured soloists have included pianists Sergei Babayan, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and Daniil Trifonov, violinists Danielle Belen, Andres Cardenes, Jaime Laredo, Kurt Nikkanen, cellist Sharon Robinson, guitarist Jason Vieaux, trumpeters Michael Sachs and Alan Siebert, and winners of the Sphinx Competition and Cleveland International Piano Competition. 

Carl served as Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music for 37 years. Graduates of his masters program in orchestral conducting can be found as maestros with several leading orchestras. He was named Faculty Emeritus after his years of service at CIM. 

Carl has also served as Principal Pops Conductor for the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in Ft. Myers, Florida, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, and the Mansfield (OH) Symphony Orchestra. 

As a guest conductor, Carl has appeared around the world with more than 120 orchestras, in 37 states in the USA, as well as orchestras in Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

In addition to his busy conducting schedule, Carl avidly pursues his passion for performing as clarinetist. He often performs with his brother Arthur, a pianist, and the duo can be heard on three CDs: Come in from the Cold, A View from the Top, and Music of America.

Carl is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, with a degree in clarinet performance and a masters degree in music education. He has held conducting fellowships with the National Orchestral Association with Leon Barzin and the Aspen Music Festival with under Jorge Mester. Carl began his professional career as Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra.

Topilow's wife Shirley is President and CEO of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Their daughter, Emily, attends Bowling Green State University where she is majoring in psychology and is a violinist with the university orchestra. Their daughter, Jenny, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Carnegie Mellon University, is a violinist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

Graduates of Carl Topilow's masters program in orchestral conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music hold or have held positions with these orchestras and others:

Annapolis Symphony, Arkansas Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Orchestra of Limoges (France), Louisville Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica de Minas Gerais (Brazil), Ohio Light Opera, Richmond Symphony, US Army Band "Pershing's Own."

A classical violinist since the age of five, Connor Bogart (Connor Bogart O'Brien) studied opera at the Eastman School of Music in New York, and has since toured the globe as a professional performer.

Notable theater performances have included leading roles in Miss Saigon (Chris) Sweeney Todd (Anthony) The Last Five Years (Jamie) Company (Bobby) Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Joseph) Forever Plaid (Sparky), as well as Altar Boyz (Abraham).

A native of Northeast Ohio, Connor decided to leave the violin behind to study vocal performance/opera at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in New York (U. S. News and World Report ranked #1 Music Conservatory in America 2010-2012) under the direction of Dr. Robert McIver. During his time at Eastman, he also auditioned for, and was subsequently accepted into the nationally ranked male acappella group, The University of Rochester Yellowjackets, (as seen on NBC's "The Sing Off") as a featured soloist. After recording several award winning albums with the group, a love of singing without instruments took hold and in subsequent years led to executive producing future Yellowjacket albums and being a national finalist for the world famous vocal band Rockapella in their search for a new second tenor.

Connor has been a featured soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra, The Cleveland Pops, The Symphony of Southeast Texas, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The Rochester Philharmonic, The Toledo Symphony, The Mansfield Symphony, The New Haven Symphony, The Akron Symphony, The Rappahannock Pops, Music In The Mountains (The Dallas Symphony), The Fireland Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He has served as executive music supervisor and composer to The Discovery Channel for their series, The Kustomizer, and as a songwriter, had had several of his original songs featured on national television.

"Inside Out", the lead single from his self titled first album, vaulted to the number one radio position in France, and held the position for several weeks. Two full-length albums followed, "Soliloquy" which featured a cover story in Scene Magazine, as well as the hit single "Ready To Fall", a national semi-finalist entry in Sony Music and Clear Channel's "Radiostar" competition hosted by Ryan Seacrest and KISS FM's Elvis Duran. His third album "Prizefighter" is his latest rock release.

He has since toured the U.S, and along with his band, has performed as the opening act on over 20 national tours, including Ashlee Simpson, Huey Lewis and The News, Edwin McCain, Richard Marx, Rick Springfield, Hall & Oates, and Mariah Carey.

Connor can currently be heard behind the scenes singing and recording jingles for companies such as Hasbro Toys and American Greetings, performing on tour with native Clevelander and Grammy nominee Jim Brickman, as well as in over 32 countries worldwide as a headlining act on Princess, Holland America, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cruise lines with his previous group of Broadway veterans, "The Matinee Idols", and his current solo show available in both English and Mandarin Chinese.

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