The Orchestral Conductor's Career Handbook

The Orchestral Conductor's Career Handbook

Carl Topilow


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Conductors face a multitude of hurdles as they strive to obtain a foothold in the professional world. Once they have attained a position, there are obstacles both on and off the podium to keeping that position as well as advancing in the profession. Founding conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, pedagogue, and frequent guest conductor for both pops and classical concerts, Carl Topilow is in a unique position to help conductors navigate their careers.

The Orchestral Conductor’s Career Handbook takes readers through the step-by-step process of establishing a career in orchestral conducting. Through his experiences with professional, pops, conservatory, community, youth, summer festival, opera and ballet orchestras, Topilow provides practical tips for conductors of any orchestra type and at any level of their development. Filled with personal stories from Topilow’s career, the handbook provides insights on an array of topics, including applying for conducting programs and conducting positions, connecting with audiences, developing interpersonal relations within the orchestra family, starting your own orchestra, interacting with donors, and beyond. It also presents fresh ideas for programming, rehearsing, and approaches to standard repertoire pieces.


Carl Topilow:

Carl Topilow has enjoyed an eclectic career holding music director positions with several orchestras including the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO), Firelands Symphony Orchestra (FSO), and founding conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra (CPO). He also served as conductor and director of the orchestral program and instructor for the master’s program in orchestral conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). He was named faculty emeritus upon his retirement from that position.