Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Press Release

The Milwaukee Symphony Announces 2024-25 Pops Season

Byron Stripling Appointed Principal Pops Conductor

By - May 2nd, 2024 01:39 pm
Byron Stripling. Photo by John Abbott/Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Byron Stripling. Photo by John Abbott/Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Milwaukee, Wis. 5/2/2024 – The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra announced plans today for the 2024.25 Pops Season. The MSO is also pleased to announce the appointment of Byron Stripling as the new Stein Family Foundation Principal Pops Conductor.

Stripling will be conducting three programs during the 2024.25 season, including: “When the Saints Go Marching In,” a tribute to the iconic music of the Jazz Age and New Orleans in September; “Twist & Shout: The Music of The Beatles,” highlighting the Fab Four’s early catalogue in March; and “Let’s Groove Tonight,” which celebrates the music of Motown and The Philly Sound in May 2025.

“I am delighted to be the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s new Principal Pops Conductor,” said Stripling. “I have had so much fun performing with this fantastic orchestra, getting to know this wonderful city, and sharing the joy of music with all of you.”

“All of us at the MSO, audiences and musicians alike, have enjoyed the artistry and energy Byron has brought to the MSO both on and off the stage,” said Mark Niehaus, MSO president and executive director, “We are thrilled to have him as our Principal Pops Conductor, and we are excited to see how he shapes our Pops programming. He has been celebrated everywhere he goes, conducting and performing with orchestras throughout the U.S. and the world. We are very fortunate that we will have his tremendous passion for sharing live music with us for years to come.”

The season also sees the return of Ben Folds, performing with the MSO for the first time at the Bradley Symphony Center in May 2025, as well as Grammy Award-winning artist Chris Thile, joining the orchestra in March.

The 2024.25 season includes the return of “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony” with creator and conductor George Daugherty, a film with orchestra production of Casablanca, and Assistant Conductor Ryan Tani leads the Holiday Pops performances with the MSO, Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, and Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble.

In addition to Holiday Pops, the MSO will ring in the season with performances of The Muppet Christmas Carol film with orchestra over Thanksgiving weekend and two Bradley Symphony Center Presents performances, including Canadian Brass and The King’s Singers.

The season will also include a film with orchestra production of Disney and Pixar’s Coco on November 2-3.

Pops Series subscriptions are on sale now. Single tickets to the Chris Thile and Ben Folds performances will go on sale June 3. Single tickets to all remaining performances will be available on August 12.

Byron Stripling Biography

With a contagious smile and captivating charm, conductor, trumpet virtuoso, singer, and actor Byron Stripling has ignited audiences across the globe. In 2020, Stripling was named principal pops conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and his baton has led countless orchestras throughout the United States and Canada. As a soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Stripling has performed frequently under the baton of Keith Lockhart, as well as being the featured soloist on the PBS television special Evening at Pops with conductors John Williams and Mr. Lockhart. Currently, Stripling serves as artistic director and conductor of the highly acclaimed Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

Since his Carnegie Hall debut with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops, Stripling has become a pops orchestra favorite throughout the country, soloing with over 100 orchestras around the world, including the Boston Pops, National Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, Seattle Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and orchestras throughout Europe and Asia. He has been a featured soloist at the Hollywood Bowl and performs at festivals around the world.

An accomplished actor and singer, Stripling was chosen, following a worldwide search, to star in the lead role of the Broadway-bound musical Satchmo. Many will remember his featured cameo performance in the television movie The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and his critically acclaimed virtuoso trumpet and riotous comedic performance in the 42nd Street production of From Second Avenue to Broadway.

In addition to multiple recordings with his quintet, work with artists from Tony Bennett to Whitney Houston, his prolific recording career includes hundreds of albums with the greatest pop, Broadway, soul and jazz artists of all time.

Stripling earned his stripes as lead trumpeter and soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Thad Jones and Frank Foster. He has also played and recorded extensively with the bands of Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Dave Brubeck, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, and Buck Clayton, in addition to Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and The GRP All Star Big Band.

Stripling was educated at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and the Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan. One of his greatest joys is to return periodically to Eastman and Interlochen as a special guest lecturer.


6- Series Pops

When the Saints Go Marching In

Friday, September 20 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, September 21 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, September 22 at 2:30 pm

Byron Stripling, conductor
Crystal Monee Hall, vocalist
Bobby Floyd, organist
Jim Rupp, drums

Join newly-appointed Principal Pops Conductor Byron Stripling on a journey through the classic melodies that gave birth to the Blues, featuring hits made famous by the icons of the Jazz Age and New Orleans favorites like Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Ma Rainey, and Louis Armstrong.

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony

Friday, November 8 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 9 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 10 at 2:30 pm

George Daugherty, conductor

Created by: George Daugherty & David Ka Lik Wog

“What’s up, Doc?” Follow Bugs Bunny and his Looney Tunes pals on their hilarious and unforgettable animated adventures while the musicians of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra perform the original score live under the big screen! Thrill to the reimagined classics of Rossini, Wagner, and more!

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements © & TM Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s24)

Hometown Holiday Pops

Saturday, December 14 at 2:30 pm
Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 15 at 2:30 pm
Friday, December 20 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 21 at 2:30 pm
Saturday, December 21 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 22 at 2:30 pm

Ryan Tani, conductor
Milwaukee Symphony Chorus
Cheryl Frazes Hill, director
Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble

Bring the entire family to the Bradley Symphony Center for Milwaukee’s favorite holiday tradition! Celebrate the season with a musical jubilee of cherished classics, yuletide carols, and festive sing-alongs with your one and only orchestra.

Casablanca: Film with Orchestra

Friday, February 14 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, February 15 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, February 16 at 2:30 pm

“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” Walk into Allen-Bradley Hall Valentine’s weekend and experience one of classic Hollywood’s most romantic tales on the big screen with live orchestral accompaniment. Cozy up with a loved one as you savor the story of Rick and Ilsa’s romance, the beautiful visuals, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performing Max Steiner’s Oscar-winning score of Casablanca live in sync with the movie.

Twist & Shout: The Music of the Beatles – A Symphonic Experience

Friday, March 28 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 29 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 30 at 2:30 pm

Byron Stripling, conductor

Principal Pops Conductor Byron Stripling returns with music of the Fab Four! Twist & Shout celebrates The Beatles in America, beginning with their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, and following their journey through the USA, including highlights from their Shea Stadium and Hollywood Bowl appearances that brought Beatlemania and the British invasion into the hearts of Americans everywhere. Twist & Shout includes such early #1 hits as “Love Me Do,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Help!,” “Yesterday,” and many more!.  Accompanied by hundreds of rare and unseen photos of The Beatles in the USA from the exclusive Beatles Photo Book Archives, Twist & Shout is the most authentic and unique concert project celebrating the early years of The Beatles in the USA.

Let’s Groove Tonight: Motown & The Philly Sound

Friday, May 23 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 25 at 2:30 pm

Byron Stripling, conductor
Vocalists: Chester Gregory, Ashley Jayy, and Brik Liam

Magic melodies come to life as the pop, soul and R&B sounds of Motown and the famous hits from the Philly Sound face off in this exciting concert experience LET’S GROOVE TONIGHT. Led by Broadway superstar Chester Gregory and vocal powerhouses Ashley Jayy & Brik Liam, this incredible program is full of classic hit songs made famous by The Spinners, The Stylistics, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Lou Rawls, Diana Ross, Gamble & Huff and Percy Sledge. Philly Sound hit songs, including “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” “You’ll Never Find A Love Like Mine,” “Love Train,” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” share the stage with Motown smash hits, including “What’s Going On,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” and” I’m Coming Out.”

Coco in Concert
Saturday, November 2 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 3 at 2:30 pm

Experience Disney Pixar’s Coco in Concert featuring a screening of the complete film with Oscar® and Grammy®-winning composer Michael Giacchino’s musical score performed by the MSO. In addition to the original score by Giacchino, Coco also features the Oscar®-winning song “Remember Me” by Oscar-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, as well as additional songs co-written by Germaine Franco and co-director and screenwriter Adrian Molina.

The Muppet Christmas Carol
Friday, November 29 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 30 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 1 at 2:30 pm

Experience Charles Dickens’s classic holiday tale as only the Muppets can tell it. Kermit and the gang help Ebenezer Scrooge, played by actor Michael Caine, find redemption and his holiday spirit one fateful Christmas Eve. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra plays the memorable score composed by Miles Goodman with songs by Paul Williams while the delightful family film plays on the big screen.

BSC Presents
BSC Presents concerts are presented without orchestra.

Canadian Brass
Thursday, December 5 at 7:30 pm
Ring in the holiday season with the internationally renowned, award-winning Canadian Brass performing seasonal favorites, holiday classics, and brass standards in an entertaining evening at the Bradley Symphony Center. With an international reputation as one of the most popular brass ensembles today, Canadian Brass has truly earned the distinction of “the world’s most famous brass group.” Masters of concert presentations, Canadian Brass has developed a uniquely engaging stage presence and rapport with audiences. Each of their concerts will show the full range from trademark Baroque and Dixieland tunes to new compositions and arrangements created especially for them–from formal classical presentations to music served up with lively dialogue and theatrical effects. The hallmark of any Canadian Brass performance is entertainment, spontaneity, virtuosity, and most of all, fun–but never at the expense of the music; whatever the style, the music is central and performed with utmost dedication, skill, and excellence.

The King’s Singers
Monday, December 16 at 7:30 pm
Celebrate the magic of Christmas with The King’s Singers, who have represented the gold standard in a cappella singing on the world’s greatest stages for over 50 years. They are renowned for their unrivaled technique, versatility, and skill in performance, as well as for their consummate musicianship, drawing both on the group’s rich heritage and its pioneering spirit to create an extraordinary wealth of original works and unique collaborations.



Chris Thile with the MSO
Saturday, March 15 at 7:30 pm
MacArthur Fellow and Grammy Award-winning mandolinist, singer, songwriter Chris Thile is a founding member of the critically acclaimed bands Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. Thile creates a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic for performers and audiences alike, giving the listener “one joyous arc, with the linear melody and vertical harmony blurring into a single web of gossamer beauty” (New York Times).

Ben Folds with the MSO
Saturday, May 3, 2025 at 7:30 pm
Emmy-award nominated composer, singer-songwriter, and pianist Ben Folds joins the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for a night of exceptional performances. Widely regarded as one of the major musical influences of our generation, Folds’ enormous body of genre-bending music includes pop albums with Ben Folds Five, multiple solo albums, and numerous collaborative records. His latest album, 2023’s What Matters Most, is a blend of piano-driven pop rock songs, while his 2015 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra soared to #1 on both the Billboard classical and classical crossover charts. For nearly two decades, Folds has performed with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, and currently serves as Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

About the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Ken-David Masur, is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee. The MSO’s 72 full-time professional musicians perform over 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. A pioneer among American orchestras, the MSO has performed world and American premieres of works by John Adams, Roberto Sierra, Philip Glass, Geoffrey Gordon, Marc Neikrug, Dobrinka Tabakova, and Matthias Pintscher, as well as garnered national recognition as the first American orchestra to offer live recordings on iTunes. Now in its 52nd season, the orchestra’s nationally syndicated radio broadcast series, the longest consecutive-running series of any U.S. orchestra, is heard annually by more than two million listeners. The MSO’s standard of excellence extends beyond the concert hall and into the community, reaching more than 30,000 children and their families through its Arts in Community Education (ACE) program, Youth and Teen concerts, and Family Series.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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