Byron Stripling, leading the way with pops at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Posted on: October 28, 2020

“A heralded trumpet virtuoso who has played with jazz legends … appeared on many recordings … and has been known to sing and scat in rehearsals to get his point across, Byron Stripling is not your typical conductor,” writes Andrew Druckenbrod in the October issue of Pittsburgh Magazine. “Earlier this year, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tapped the 59-year-old to be its first principal pops conductor since the post was held by another multifaceted artist, Marvin Hamlisch…. The orchestra … wanted … a top musician who would build a longstanding relationship with audiences through charisma as much as programming…. ‘As principal pops conductor,’ ” says Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart, “ ‘you must be a smart communicator. Byron is just that.’ … Stripling will continue to live with his family in Columbus, but (when it is safe to do so) will frequently come to Pittsburgh to collaborate with local jazz ensembles and performers…. When Stripling will be able to lead the PSO on stage remains uncertain, but … he yearns to show how music can heal in this time of heightened racial tension and political divisiveness…. ‘The music brings us all together, and we begin to see the humanity in each of us,’ ” says Stripling.