by Robert Rollin
Last Saturday evening the Youngstown Symphony presented an outstanding Powers Auditorium pops concert under gifted guest conductor Carl Topilow. Topilow heads the onducting degree programs at the Cleveland Institute of Music and is music director of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. The headliners included talented veteran vocalists Lisa Vroman and J. Mark McVey, and exceptional pianist Kathryn Brown. McVey achieved fame as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, and Vroman as Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera. Their Broadway lead credits number literally in the thousands. Brown, Associate Head of the Cleveland Institute’s Piano Department, is a remarkably gifted soloist and chamber performer with many competitions and international venues to her credit.
I had the pleasure of reviewing a CIM Orchestra concert last November. Toplilow conducted Ernest Bloch’s Viola Concerto and Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra beautifully. In Youngstown he displayed his pops talents, beginning the show in a bright red dinner jacket and playing an excellent My Funny Valentine jazz solo on his signature red clarinet. Concertmaster Calvin Lewis had started the Rodgers and Hart number, enabling Topilow’s surprise offstage entrance. [Read more…]