Principal Pops Conductor
Grammy Award winner Jeff Tyzik has earned a reputation as one of America's most innovative pops conductors, recognized for his brilliant arrangements, original programming, and engaging rapport with audiences of all ages. The 2012–13 season marks his nineteenth season as Principal Pops Conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He also serves as Principal Pops Conductor of the Oregon Symphony, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the Florida Orchestra. In April 2012, he was inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame, alongside Cab Calloway, Chuck Mangione, and five other notable figures.
Highly sought-after as a guest conductor, Tyzik has recently appeared with orchestras including the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the New York Pops, the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and the Dallas Symphony at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. This season, he also performs with orchestras across North America including the Detroit, Milwaukee, Seattle, and Toronto symphony orchestras. Tyzik made his U.K. debut in June 2010 in Edinburgh and Glasgow with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
A native of Hyde Park, N.Y., Tyzik began his life in music at age nine playing the cornet. He studied both classical and jazz throughout high school and went on to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied composition/arranging with Radio City Music Hall’s Ray Wright and jazz studies with the great band leader Chuck Mangione.
An accomplished composer and arranger, Tyzik has written over 200 works for orchestra, including a trombone concerto commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts and performed at Carnegie Hall. His timpani concerto was premiered by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in January 2010. Tyzik’s newest commission, Images: Musical Impressions of an Art Gallery, will debut on the RPO’s Philharmonics Series in November 2012.
His compositions and arrangements have been recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, Doc Severinsen and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Summit Brass, and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.
Tyzik won a Grammy Award for producing The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen, Vol. 1. In May 2007, harmonia mundi released his recording conducting works by Gershwin with pianist Jon Nakamatsu and the Rochester Philharmonic, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard classical chart. He also has produced and composed theme music for many of the major television networks and released six of his own albums.Tyzik lives in Rochester, with his wife, Jill. For more information, please visit jefftyzik.com.
With the RPO since: 1994
Hometown: Hyde Park, NY
Non-RPO activities and hobbies: Cooking and Travel
What music school did you attend, and who were your most inspirational teachers? Eastman School of Music; Ray Wright. Sam Adler, Donald Hunsberger, Warren Benson
Favorite books/movies: The Help, Water For Elephants, Midnight In Paris
What kinds of music do you enjoy listening to? All good music
And if you had to pick just one, what’s your favorite piece? Impossible, there are so many.
People would be surprised to know… I was an all-county football player in high school. I loved crashing into people on the field. I played both offense and defense and I miss it to this day.
What do you most enjoy about living in the Rochester area? The seasons and the people. I like the fact that in 15 minutes you can be in the city or a forest or down at the lake.
What are your favorite restaurants in Rochester, and why? 2 Vine, Sakura, Rocco. I like 2 Vine especially after concerts. Great food and a good place to wind down. Sakura is fantastic Japanese. Rocco has well-prepared simply cooked Italian food in a casual but fun setting.
The RPO is essential to the Rochester community because … The RPO adds soul and spirit to Rochester. I have seen the RPO change the lives of young people who have an opportunity to perform with us. We are also an economic engine that adds to the Rochester economy.
What sports team(s) do you root for? The Bills
Favorite late-night snack: Fruit and nuts ... or leftover squid. Once in a while I crave a simple piece of white birthday cake from Wegmans.
What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Go for a walk at Mendon Ponds with Jill
What is your most memorable musical experience? Honestly, there have been so many it's hard to say. Playing at the Hollywood Bowl for 18,000 people, or on stage at Eastman with Wynonna Judd and Don Potter or playing a community concert in a church on the west side. Of course conducting and having my daughter Jami singing. I really feel special and privileged every time I walk on stage.