Conrad Pope was classically trained at the New England Conservatory, Princeton University, and in Europe. After receiving the George Chadwick Medal, the school’s highest honor, upon his graduation from the New England Conservatory, Pope went on to study
at Munich’s Hochschule fur Musik and at Tanglewood, before completing graduate studies at Princeton University. Active in the contemporary music world, Pope founded a concert series at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and staged a number of American premieres while Director of the Music Production Company, working with, among others, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Peter Sellars.
In addition to regular performances in the United States, his work has garnered international attention: Pope’s “Sonata for Violoncello Alone” was the American entry in the Paris Biennale, for example, while Milan showcased his “Piano Variations” during its Musical Nel Nostro Tempo festival. Pope’s “Summer Sketches,” commissioned by Hartt School of Music, Hartford, Connecticut appears regularly on orchestra concerts throughout the United States. In spring of 2006, the Spokane Symphony Orchestra and Eckart Preu, conductor, premiered Pope’s new orchestral work “Purple Prose,” greeted with a standing ovation and critical acclaim. December 2010 saw the premiere of Conrad’s most recent concert work for orchestra commissioned by the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute at their festival in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
Among the awards his work has received are the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Fellowship and Fulbright Fellowship, while grants include: the New York State Arts Council, the MacDowell Foundation, the Alice Ditson Foundation, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and Meet the Composer. Pope was also awarded First Prize by the Pacific Composers Forum Composition Competition.
Audiences at Tanglewood during the summer of 2009 were brought to their feet by John Williams’ tribute to Busby Berkeley performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This rousing piece featured Pope’s reconstructions and arrangements of classic themes from Busby Berkeley musicals, including such extravaganzas as 42nd street, Babes on Broadway, and Golddiggers.
For the 79th Academy Awards tribute to film music of Ennio Morricone, Conrad Pope arranged music from selected scores by the celebrated giant of film scoring.
For the 74th Academy Awards tribute to film music, John Williams asked Pope to reconstruct film scores to 20 classic films: Exodus, Casablanca, and Cinema Paradiso, to name a few. Mr. Williams has gone on to include this tribute to Hollywood’s golden era as a staple of his concerts from Boston’s Symphony Hall, to Avery Fisher Hall with the New York Philharmonic, and to the Hollywood Bowl.
When Seiji Ozawa retired as principal conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Pope was asked to arrange and adapt four classic songs from the American Songbook for the legendary soprano Jessye Norman and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Under the direction of John Williams, these arrangements were premiered with the BSO.
In 2009, Pope was asked by legendary film composer James Newton Howard to collaborate in orchestrating “I Would Plant a Tree, ” James’ first original work for the concert stage that was debuted by The Pacific Symphony under the baton of Carl St. Clair in February of 2009. This same year Pope collaborated again with James Newton Howard and orchestrated his arrangements for acclaimed concert singer and recording artist Josh Groban, which were produced by the iconoclastic Rick Ruben.