The Seattle Symphony has a new Principal Pops Conductor: Jeff Tyzik. He replaces Marvin Hamlisch, who died suddenly in August.
Tyzik, a frequent guest conductor with the Seattle Symphony, was already slated to conduct “A Night at the Cotton Club,” a pops program celebrating the musical legacy of Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong (June 6-9, 2013). He will now step in for the late Hamlisch to conduct the Holiday Pops concerts, Dec. 6-9. (February’s “Hamlisch Plays Hamlisch” concerts have now become “Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch,” with Hamlisch’s personal friend, Larry Blank, guest conducting.)
Tyzik’s background is both eclectic and impressive. For 19 years he has been Principal Pops Conductor for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, where he also guest conducts classical concerts.
More recently, he was appointed Principal Pops Conductor for the Oregon Symphony, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Florida Orchestra. He has a deep background in jazz and has collaborated with Chuck Mangione, Tony Bennett, Art Garfunkel, Dawn Upshaw, the Chieftains, Mark O’Connor, Lou Rawls, Chris Botti and many others. He arranged and produced several records for Doc Severinsen, one of which, “The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen, Vol. 1,” won a Grammy Award.
He first guest-conducted the Seattle Symphony in 1999 in a program called “Tribute to Louis Armstrong.” Later engagements included an Italian-themed concert, that included everything from a Verdi overture to Broadway tunes, and a “Fabulous Forties” program that ranged from film music to classical pieces to swing music.
“In those three concerts alone,” he said in an interview Tuesday morning, “I got to see the flexibility of this great orchestra and how they can play essentially any music effectively, one right after the other.”
Following his guest-conducting appearances this season, Tyzik, who lives in Rochester, N.Y., will start his three-year contract on Sept. 1, 2013.
(Photo: Jeff Tyzik by Tyler Boye.)