Byron Stripling on what to expect in his first season as Pittsburgh Symphony’s principal pops conductor

Posted on: October 4, 2021

“Orchestral pops programming now ranges from film scores, cartoon medleys and video game music to rap artists and jazz and circus acts. It’s whatever fusion of orchestral music and flavor-of-the-day entertainment the ensemble selects,” writes Jeremy Reynolds in Thursday’s (9/30) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Byron Stripling, the newly minted principal pops conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, says, ‘All this is like this buffet table that people can take and they can eat from all of it.’… Mr. Stripling, 60, is only the orchestra’s second principal pops conductor after the late, great Marvin Hamlisch, who served from 1995 until his death in 2012…. ‘My influences are different from Marvin’s … Marvin didn’t go to a Black gospel church, right? … I’ll have ‘em all singing “Amen” by the end of the concerts,’ he added. ‘My audience always needs to be a part of the shows.’ … He made his live debut with the orchestra at Hartwood Acres in July, displaying an astonishing rapport with musicians and listeners alike…. A PSO spokesperson said the organization expects subscriptions to rise now that Mr. Stripling is in place…. Mr. Stripling said, … ‘If I can get anybody into that concert hall, they’re coming back.’ ”