Guest Conductor and Pianist Revealed For No Name Pops' Peter Nero Tribute Concert

The concert will take place at the Kimmel Center on April 20 at 3 p.m.

By: Feb. 28, 2024
Guest Conductor and Pianist Revealed For No Name Pops' Peter Nero Tribute Concert
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Special guest conductor, Carl Topilow, and renowned pianist George Burton, will appear at the No Name Pops’ upcoming concert, Timeless: A Tribute to the Legacy of Peter Nero. The concert will take place at the Kimmel Center on April 20 at 3 p.m. What makes their participation in this performance significant is that they both worked with Peter Nero and were inspired by his talent. Tickets range in price from $51 to $121 and can be purchased at www.ensembleartsphilly.org or by calling 215-893-1999.

This production is the premiere appearance of famed conductor Carl Topilow in Philadelphia. Highlights of the music include such hits of Nero’s as Sunday in New York, The Summer of ’42, and pieces like “Fantasy and Improvisations,” “Scratch My Bach,” “Variations on I Got Rhythm” and many more. 

The two headliners share a special, personal connection with Nero. Topilow, Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music for over 40 years, performed with Nero at the Institute’s 10th anniversary concert. And Burton, an acclaimed pianist who grew up in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, garnered the winning votes of judges in the prestigious 2002 Peter Nero Piano Competition, including from Maestro Nero himself.  

Recognized as one of the most influential music educators in America today, Carl Topilow has been uniquely dedicated to his students at the Cleveland Institute for over 40 years, leaving an indelible mark on countless musicians who now play on stages worldwide. Reflecting on Peter Nero, Topilow said, "Peter was a virtuoso of the highest caliber – his style was so original, and his personality and charm went along with it."

George Burton began his virtuoso journey surrounded by the rich cultural tapestry of Philadelphia. His upbringing was deeply rooted in music, his mother a dedicated Philadelphia School District violin teacher, and his father an accomplished organist. His connection to Philadelphia is profound: "Growing up in Philadelphia,” he says, “I grew up learning from and listening to the greats in music – from the Philadelphia Orchestra to the best jazz musicians." Regarding the upcoming concert, Burton shared, "When I got the phone call from Matt Koveal, the executive director of The No Name Pops, I was speechless. Winning the Peter Nero competition made such a positive impact on my life …. It built my confidence in my ability to play piano. It is overwhelming to be filling such a 'big pair of shoes!' It's coming full circle for me."

About Maestro Carl Topilow:

Founding conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Carl Topilow’s eclectic programs have been acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. He enjoys a dual career as both conductor and clarinetist. Topilow has performed as guest conductor with 132 different orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries. In addition, he is Conductor of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, a regional orchestra based in Sandusky, Ohio, and after 42 years as conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO), a summer festival in Breckenridge, CO, he is continuing an active role with the orchestra as Conductor Laureate. He was named Faculty Emeritus after 37 years as Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and has served as principal pops conductor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and Mansfield Symphony Orchestra. Topilow is the author of The Orchestral Conductor’s Career Handbook, published by Rowman and Littlefield, is now available through www.carltopilow.com and www.rowman.com.

About Award-winning Pianist George Burton: 

George Burton, award-winning pianist, composer, and bandleader, is a transformative figure in contemporary jazz. His musical journey is rooted in Philadelphia's rich musical heritage where he lived in Mt. Airy, attended Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA) and won a Peter Nero piano competition. He blends classical, avant-garde, and traditional jazz effortlessly. His illustrious discography exemplifies a persistent pursuit to redefine jazz’s limits. His albums, The Truth Of What I Am: The Narcissist as well as Reciprocity, have garnered global acclaim, with the latter earning a NAACP Image Award nomination in 2021. Burton's latest release, The Yule Log, has been praised as a “stunning package of musical surprises” (LA Jazz Scene). The Yule Log beautifully showcases Burton's talent for merging diverse musical elements, this time weaving a rich classical tapestry accentuated by a powerful string trio, and marking yet another milestone in his boundary-pushing career. Like Peter Nero, Burton’s live performances offer an immersive experience marked by vibrant energy and a remarkable ability to connect with audiences. 




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