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The Maestro

Known for his entertaining programs and clever humor, Michael Krajewski takes the helm as Music Director and Conductor of The Philly POPS® with the beginning of The POPS 35th season in July of 2013. He is a much sought after conductor of symphonic pops, and takes on his Philadelphia post while serving as principal pops conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

A conductor who brings an impressive list of symphony guest conductor experiences to his position in Philadelphia, he has worked with orchestras throughout the United States, Canada and around the globe. In the summer of 2012, he was guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra at The Mann Center. He has conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston and Cincinnati Pops, the San Francisco, Baltimore, Detroit, Indianapolis, Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis and National Symphonies, and numerous other orchestras across the United States. In Canada, he has led Ottawa's National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the Edmonton, Winnipeg and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies. Other international appearances include performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra in concerts in Belfast and Dublin.

A creative resource through many mediums, Krajewski is the conductor of the video Silver Screen Serenade with violinist Jenny Oaks Baker that aired worldwide on BYU Broadcasting.  He has led the Houston Symphony on two recordings - both holiday albums: Glad Tidings and Christmas Festival.

His musical collaborations are just as creative and extensive. One of The Philly POPS programs - The Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel taking place in February - was developed by Krajewski in partnership with touring artists AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle. He will take this concert all over North America. Among the list of internationally respected artists and groups with whom he has collaborated are flutist James Galway, mezzo soprano Marilyn Horne, pianist Alicia de Larrocha, guitarist Angel Romero, and pop artists Roberta Flack, Judy Collins, Art Garfunkel, Kenny Loggins, Ben Folds, Doc Severinsen, Patti Austin, Sandi Patty, Ann Hampton Callaway, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Chieftains, Pink Martini, Rockapella, Cirque de la Symphonie, Classical Mystery Tour and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

As he joins The Philly POPS, Michael Krajewski is eager to bring his sense of the unexpected and theatricality to the audiences of Philadelphia. "I think I have good instincts of what will work with Pops orchestras," he explained recently. "I enjoy finding artists who aren't playing with symphonies and working with them to develop programs that would be welcomed by the Pops audience. I seek them out and make new collaborations. It's the creative process that I value most, cultivating new works for Pops audiences like when I encouraged James Stephenson to compose the 'Concerto for Cell Phone,' which we'll be doing in Philadelphia during the April concert series."

Music has always been important to Michael Krajewski. He grew up in Dearborn, Michigan and discovered he was fascinated and energized by the open-air orchestral music played in the summertime by the nearby Detroit Symphony. "That huge sound coming from the stage hit me and overwhelmed me," he recalled with a smile, gesturing to emphasize the robust and exciting impact it had upon his whole body. Living in a community at the heart of the U.S. automotive industry, in a family with no experience with orchestras or elite music studies, he took piano lessons with the teacher from his church and happily practiced on an old piano. He joined school bands, learned the trumpet, accompanied the school choruses and played in the pit for the high school musicals.

As a music education major at Wayne State University in Detroit, Krajewski assumed he found a career path where he could fully devote himself to music. Yet when he became a music teacher, he quickly felt he had not reached his full potential as a musician. In a life-changing moment of clarity, he applied to the graduate program in conducting at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

As Krajewski furthered his training at the Pierre Monteux Domaine School for Conductors, his gifts were recognized. He became a Dorati Fellowship Conductor with the Detroit Symphony and later served as that orchestra's assistant conductor. "I was conducting the very same orchestra I adored as a child," he explained. "It was thrilling. I also learned a lesson that has been an important guide throughout my professional life: if you really want something, go for it."

Krajewski never expected to be conducting the highly respected Philly POPS, but he's thrilled he "went for it." He looks forward to many years in Philadelphia, a city he is appreciating more with each visit. Michael Krajewski lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife Darcy. When not conducting he enjoys travel, photography and solving crossword puzzle.


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