PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philly Pops on Tuesday announced the successor to artistic director and founding conductor Peter Nero, who will step down in 2013 after more than three decades as the group's leader and most recognizable face.
Michael Krajewski, 62, will take the baton as the Pops' musical director beginning in the organization's 35th season next fall, Philly Pops presenter Encore Series Inc. announced.
Krajewski has served as the principal Pops conductor with the Atlanta, Houston, and Jacksonville orchestras and appeared as a guest conductor with the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony.
"I'm incredibly honored to become part of the great tradition that is The Philly Pops," Krajewski said. "Peter Nero has truly built a fantastic ensemble of players and a national reputation for high quality music making. I look forward to building on what's been established and, more importantly, providing the audiences of the Philadelphia region exciting music experiences."
Nero, 78, announced in August that he was departing the Pops after 35 years as the leader and the face of the ensemble. The Grammy-winning pianist and conductor will close out the Pops' 2012-2013 season at The Kimmel Center in May and is expected to conduct the annual Independence Day concert at Independence Hall on July 3.
The Philly Pops had called Nero's contract too expensive and negotiated his departure as part of the bankruptcy filing in April 2011 by its then-parent organization, the Philadelphia Orchestra. The orchestra has since ended its relationship with the Pops and it emerged from bankruptcy in July.