COLUMBUS — Following a competitive search, the Columbus Symphony has appointed Stuart Chafetz as its principal pops conductor.

A leading figure among pops conductors across the country, Chafetz brings experience and innovation to his new role leading the Columbus Symphony in its year-round pops concert series. Through the 2018-19 season, he will design programs with enjoyable repertoire for widely diverse audiences and invite both well-known and rising guest artists for the CSO’s Pops Series, as well as its two outdoor summer concert series at the Columbus Commons, Picnic with the Pops and the family-friendly Popcorn Pops,

“I’m thrilled to embark on this exciting journey with the Columbus Symphony,” Chafetz said. “I look forward to working with Rossen, the musicians, board, and staff to create a truly cutting-edge, wonderful, and fun experience for our Columbus community.”

Having guest conducted the Columbus Symphony on many occasions over the years, including during the 2017 Picnic with the Pops season, Chafetz will make his first official appearance as principal pops conductor at the opening concert of the 2018 Picnic with the Pops season.

“I am delighted to have Stuart as a creative partner. His artistry, enthusiasm, and charming stage presence are contagious,” said CSO Music Director Rossen Milanov. Under his leadership, I expect our Pops programs will continue growing.”

Chafetz previously held posts as resident conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and associate conductor of the Louisville Orchestra, annually leads the Spring Ballet at the world-renowned Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Chafetz has also conducted the annual Nutcracker performances with Ballet Hawaii and principals from the American Ballet Theatre, and has led numerous concerts with the Maui Symphony and Pops.

“Stuart is one of the leading pops conductors in America today,” said Columbus Symphony Board Chair Lisa Barton. “We are thrilled he will be bringing his energy, humor, and art to our community.”

About Stuart Chafetz

Chafetz, a conductor with a dynamic podium demeanor and a refined sense of audience engagement, is increasingly in demand with orchestras across the continent. In the 2017-18 season, he can be seen conducting the orchestras of Seattle, Detroit, Naples, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Vancouver, and many more.

He’s had the privilege to work with renowned artists such as Chris Botti, 2 Cellos, Michael Bolton, America, Roberta Flack, George Benson, Richard Chamberlain, The Chieftains, Jennifer Holliday, John Denver, Marvin Hamlisch, Thomas Hampson, Wynonna Judd, Jim Nabors, Randy Newman, Jon Kimura Parker, and Bernadette Peters.

In addition to his conducting career, Chafetz is also a well-known timpanist. In the summers, Chafetz spends his time at the Chautauqua Institution where he conducts the annual Fourth of July and Opera Pops concerts with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra in addition to his role as that orchestra’s timpanist.

When not on the podium, Chafetz makes his home near San Francisco with wife Ann Krinitsky.

Chafetz holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music.

The 2017-18 season is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

The CSO also appreciates the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, supporting the city’s artists and arts organizations since 1973, and the Robert W. Stevenson, Preston Davis, and Kenneth L. Coe and Jack Barrow funds of The Columbus Foundation, assisting donors and others in strengthening our community for the benefit of all its citizens. 

About the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1951, the Columbus Symphony is the only full-time, professional symphony in central Ohio. Through an array of innovative artistic, educational, and community outreach programming, the Columbus Symphony is reaching an expanding, more diverse audience each year.

This season, the Columbus Symphony will share classical music with more than 200,000 people in central Ohio through concerts, radio broadcasts, and special programming. For more information, visit

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