Pianist with Broadway cred to assume Philly POPS conductor baton

Catch him July 3 for Independence Day-themed performance.

Steve Tawa
June 21, 2018 - 1:55 pm
Todd Ellison

Philly POPS


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Next year at this time, the Philly POPS will be bringing in a new conductor, Todd Ellison, to lead the ensemble in American popular music. In a mutual decision, current Music Director Michael Krajewski will conclude his six-year tenure next spring. 

He's a pianist with chops and a conductor now based in New York with plenty of Broadway, jazz and pop in his repertoire. And he has mutual respect for POPS musicians.

"I think they are the swingingest band I've ever heard," Ellison said. "Seriously, they can play any kind of music."

Ellison will begin his tenure as music director and principal conductor in July 2019. 

A spokeswoman for the POPS says the organization didn’t find a need for an extensive search to fill the music director’s spot, because it had an existing relationship with him.

Ellison has a long list of Broadway credentials as music director or supervisor of several hit productions that garnered Tony Awards.

"I've been able to conduct 17 Broadway shows in my time,"he said. "This is just another natural extension of all of that."

They include "An American in Paris," "42nd Street," and "La Cage aux Folles," as well as working closely with his mentor, Marvin Hamlisch.

"He was the one who really pushed me into this. He said 'You need to be doing POPS. You do what I do.' I took that as a pretty big compliment," Ellison said.

Ellison's next appearance with the full orchestra on July 3 for POPS on Independence for Wawa Welcome America. This winter, he'll lead the POPS for 11 shows featuring Christmas music.