Houston Matters

How the ‘Rocky’ Theme Became the Personal Anthem for Outgoing Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski

(Above:Michael Krajewski served as the Houston Symphony’s principal pops conductor for 17 years before his final concerts May 26-28, 2017. Photo: Derek Stokely | Houston Public Media)For well over a decade, Michael Krajewski has had an inside joke with Houston audiences: he likes to pump up the crowd and add a little pizzazz to the […]

Outgoing Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski - DStokely(Above:Michael Krajewski served as the Houston Symphony’s principal pops conductor for 17 years before his final concerts May 26-28, 2017. Photo: Derek Stokely | Houston Public Media)For well over a decade, Michael Krajewski has had an inside joke with Houston audiences: he likes to pump up the crowd and add a little pizzazz to the start of the Houston Symphony pops concerts he conducts by having the orchestra introduce him — out of the blue — with the theme song from Rocky. 

Well, just this past weekend (May 26-28, 2017), symphony patrons had their final chance to hear the Rocky theme as Krajewski took the stage. That’s because those were his last shows before stepping down as the symphony’s principal pops conductor.

However, before his departure, Krajewski talked with Houston Public Media’s Catherine Lu and reminisced about his nearly two decades with the symphony. And he shared some stories — ranging from which artists he has most enjoyed working with, to the program he’s the most proud of, to how he came up with his personal theme song.

Over the years, Krajewski has helped put Houston’s pops programming on the map, by creating unique and unconventional shows, such as Cirque de la Symphonie (featuring cirque acrobats choreographed to live symphonic music) and PaintJam (featuring speed-painter Dan Dunn, creating large-scale paintings within the time frame of short orchestral pieces played live).

MORE: Catherine Lu’s Extended Interview with Michael Krajewski (Houston Public Media, May 26, 2017)

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