Band leader and trumpeter will continue in his role as artistic director for Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

Columbus’ charismatic big band leader, trumpeter and vocalist, Byron Stripling, has been selected to lead the pops programming for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Stripling will be only the second person to direct the Principal Pops series, which was originated in 1994 by Marvin Hamlisch and directed by Hamlisch until his death in 2012.

Stripling, a Georgia native who lives in Westerville, will continue to serve as artistic director for the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, says CJO spokesman Terence Womble. “We look forward to being alongside his continued journey of uplifting humanity through music for the Columbus community and nation,” said Jim Negron, president of CJO’s board of trustees, in a press release.

In his role as conductor of Principal Pops, which is sponsored by PNC, Stripling will oversee programming that includes music from diverse genres including Broadway, movies, jazz, rock and soul.

“Byron Stripling is an exceptional musician, showman and orchestra leader” with an “infectious joy for making and sharing music,” said Melia Tourangeau, the Pittsburgh Symphony’s president and CEO, in a statement. “Byron’s incredible jazz chops will also open new opportunities for the orchestra and the audience. We know that Pittsburgh will find magic in this new Pops era.”

Stripling, who was profiled in Columbus Monthly in 2014, has served as CJO’s artistic director since 2002, serving up a crowd-pleasing mix of jazz and pop, attracting top soloists to Columbus stages and delighting audiences with his own musicianship and warm stage persona. He also is a frequent guest artist who has performed with more than 100 orchestras around the world. Striping was lead trumpeter and soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra and has played and recorded with the bands of Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Dave Brubeck, Lionel Hampton and others.

In a statement, Stripling expressed his excitement about the Pittsburgh opportunity. “I will use my podium and the music we perform as a delivery system to uplift this community and open even more hearts to the joyous sound of this orchestra,” he said.


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