MICHAEL KRAJEWSKI, conductor & host
“…his wry wit, as spontaneous as a stand-up comedian’s, emerged to amuse the audience. Krajewski turned to the orchestra to lead a bright, sassy account. It showed that he is as effective and entertaining a communicator in music as he is in words.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle
Known for his entertaining programs and clever humor, Michael Krajewski is a much sought after conductor of symphonic pops. He is the principal pops conductor of the Houston Symphony, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra - the first to hold such a title in Atlanta.
As a guest conductor Michael has performed with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; the Boston and Cincinnati Pops; the San Francisco, Baltimore, Detroit, Indianapolis, Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis and National Symphonies, and numerous other orchestras across the United States. In Canada he has led Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the Edmonton, Winnipeg and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies. Other international appearances include performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra in concerts in Belfast and Dublin.
Michael is the conductor of the video Silver Screen Serenade with violinist Jenny Oaks Baker that aired worldwide on BYU Broadcasting. On recording he has led the Houston Symphony on two holiday albums: Glad Tidings and Christmas Festival. In 2012/2013 Michael will be conducting his original Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel program all over North America featuring national touring artists AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle. Michael’s other collaborative programs have included such artists as flutist James Galway, mezzo Marilyn Horne, pianist Alicia de Larrocha, guitarist Angel Romero, and pop artists Roberta Flack, Judy Collins, Art Garfunkel, Kenny Loggins, Ben Folds, Doc Severinsen, Patti Austin, Sandi Patty, Ann Hampton Callaway, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Chieftains, Pink Martini, Rockapella, Cirque de la Symphonie, Classical Mystery Tour and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
With degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Michael furthered his training at the Pierre Monteux Domaine School for Conductors. He was a Dorati Fellowship Conductor with the Detroit Symphony and later served as that orchestra’s assistant conductor. He was resident conductor of the Florida Symphony and for eleven years served as music director of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra. Michael lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife Darcy. When not conducting he enjoys travel, photography and solving crossword puzzles.
ELLIOTT FORREST, visual producer & designer
Elliott Forrest is a Peabody Award winning broadcaster and producer. He regularly produces large-scale symphonic concerts working with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony, The Pasadena Pops and the Little Orchestra Society of New York in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues, including the Hollywood Bowl and Lincoln Center. Narrators for his concerts have included James Earl Jones and Sigourney Weaver.
He is currently heard on New York’s Classical Music Radio Station 105.9FM WQXR, WQXR.org and WNYC. He recently produced and hosted the WQXR Classical Comedy Contest from America’s premiere comedy club Carolines on Broadway, which was also on WNET, NY Public Television. He is the Director of the new PBS Special: CONSIDERING MATTHEW SHEPARD by Craig Hella Johnson. He’s hosted a regular series of events in NY Public Radio’s Jerome L. Greene Space, interviewing Mike Nichols, Wynton Marsalis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sting, Andrew Garfield, Tyne Daly, Sir Patrick Stewart and others. For the last two years, also in the Greene Space, he’s produced and directed a radio drama of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, in 2011 with F. Murray Abraham and in 2010 with David Hyde Pierce.
He is the host and producer of the national radio concerts of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; and hosts and produces podcasts for the New York Philharmonic. He’s hosted scores of live broadcasts from various locations, including the United Nations, parks, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, having made more than 50 appearances on stage at the legendary hall.
He’s been a ‘voice’ for CNN and LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER on PBS. He is the Artistic Director of ArtsRock, presenting live shows, concerts and events in Rockland County, NY. Elliott hosted and musically curated the RESONATING LIGHT series of classical chamber concerts at the Rubin Museum, NY.
For more than 12 years he was on the A&E Television Network as host of Breakfast with the Arts and Biography. In 1996 he co-hosted one of the Three Tenors concerts from Giants Stadium for PBS. He was featured on the Grammy Award winning comedy album WTWP Classical Talkity-Talk Radio with Peter Schickele. And though he won’t talk about it much, he was on the original GONG SHOW on NBC at age 19.
He holds a BA in Theater from the University of Texas in Austin.