Berkowitz to sit in for injured RSO conductor in Pops Series opener Oct. 12

Michael Berkowitz

Online Staff Report

Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO) Music Director Steven Larsen, who recently sustained an injury, will be unable to conduct this Saturday’s (Oct. 12) opening Rockford Health System Pops Series concert. In his absence, the RSO has announced that famed conductor Michael Berkowitz will be conducting the RSO in his absence. Berkowitz appeared with the RSO during the 2006/07 season on the Simply Sinatra concert.

Berkowitz has an outstanding reputation as a pops conductor,” Larsen said. “While I’m very disappointed not to be able to conduct this weekend, the RSO couldn’t be in better hands.”

Larsen is expected to make a full recovery and be back conducting the RSO for the Nov. 9 Classics Concert.

Berkowitz is the principal pops conductor of the Santa Rosa Symphony in Santa Rosa, Calif. Most recently, he served as music director/conductor for Liza Minnelli, working with her on her Tony Award-winning Liza’s At The Palace on Broadway and in concerts around the world.

Berkowitz served as Marvin Hamlisch’s music director for nine years, appearing with him at the White House, the London Symphony and the Academy Awards, as well as virtually every symphony in the U.S. He also had a 13-year working relationship with arranger Nelson Riddle, as his drummer, assistant conductor and musical contractor.

On Broadway, Berkowitz has collaborated with theater legends such as Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne, Michael Bennett, Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins and Michael Kidd. In addition to Minnelli, Berkowitz has appeared with Elaine Paige, Michael Crawford, Beyonce, Harry Connick Jr., Steve Lawrence, Helen Reddy, Jon Bon Jovi, Chuck Berry, Ringo Starr, Roger Daltrey, Hal Linden, Sting and Billy Joel, to name a few.

The Saturday, Oct. 12, concert, featuring saxophone quartet Capitol Quartet and a special appearance by the Rockford Wind Ensemble, begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Coronado Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are still available online at or by calling the RSO Box Office at (815) 965-0049. Ticket prices range from $22 to $65. Student tickets are $7.

Posted Oct. 10, 2013

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