One of America's foremost pops orchestras, the Cincinnati Pops named John Morris Russell as its next music director on Monday, effective Sept. 1, 2011.
Russell will take over the post vacated by Erich Kunzel, who headed the Cincinnati Pops from its founding in 1977 until his death in September 2009 at age 74. Kunzel led the orchestra to international fame with sales of more than 10 million recordings.
Among the orchestra's many recordings for the Telarc label is Copland: Music of America, which won a Grammy in 1997. The Pops's members are also the members of the Cincinnati Symphony, and the two orchestras are managed by the same administration.
The nature of pops concerts has changed considerably since the heyday of pops maestros like Kunzel and Arthur Fielder, who led some of the country's most visible orchestras. In recent years the format has become more eclectic, spanning medleys of TV themes, former American Idol contestants, video game music and celebrity crooners doing music from last year's blockbuster movie.
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