Philly Pops handing baton to Michael Krajewski as Peter Nero’s successor

    The Philly Pops has named Michael Krajewski as its new music director.

    Formerly known as Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, the orchestra was conducted by Nero, its founding music director, for 34 years.

    The Pops — just like the Philadelphia Orchestra, to which the Pops was legally tied — has recently come out of bankruptcy proceedings, which involved a contract fight between the producing organization, Encore Series, Inc., and Nero.

    The end result is Nero will finish out the current season, then leave the Pops to be a conductor-for-hire. Encore Series CEO Frank Giordano announced that the board chose Krajewski to replace Nero, “because he is one of … in fact, he is the one, the absolute best Pops conductor in the world today.”

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    Last summer Philadelphia saw the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Krajewski at the Mann Center for a wide-ranging selection of classical chestnuts including Wagner, Rossini, Bernstein, Copland, ending with the national anthem, with fireworks.

    He is a sought-after musician, currently the principal Pops conductor of the Houston, Atlanta, and Jacksonville symphony orchestras. He lives in Orlando, Florida.

    “My approach is in many ways very similar to Nero,” said Krajewski. “Programming Pops with music that people love. They love hearing it on the radio, in movies, and on Broadway. A nice, eclectic mix of music that people feel is part of their lives.”

    Krajewski is now the music director designate, working with the Philly Pops to program the 2013-2014 season. He will take over the music directorship next fall.

    Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously called the orchestra the Philly Pops with Peter Nero. The correct name is Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. The story also reported that Peter Nero was the founder of the orchestra. He was in fact the founding musical director.

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