APO was founded in 2015 with a mission to build community through the preservation, promotion, and reimagination of American popular music.
Through live and virtual performances, accessible educational initiatives and community collaborations, APO makes the highest quality art for the broadest possible audiences. Seeing an opportunity to challenge the status-quo of the repertoire a typical orchestra performs, Founder and Music Director, Luke Frazier, created The American Pops with the intent of breaking the mold of the traditional pops orchestra.
This new, distinctly “American” orchestra brings together versatile musicians, combines classical and reimagined programming focused around American Popular music, and presents each concert with an approachable, fresh spin in order to engage diverse audiences and make attending a live orchestral show more fun than ever.
Since its inception, APO has appeared in over 25 PBS Specials, including Wicked in Concert, Black Broadway, and United in Song. Through non-traditional orchestral settings, APO aims to deliver popular American classics to those who already know and love them, while also introducing these timeless pieces to younger generations in approachable settings.
In addition to our Mainstage concerts and performances for television, each APO season contains newly imagined children’s stories toured to underserved areas and live streamed monthly to over 100k children in all 50 states, the Annual NextGen National: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow Vocal Competition, and multiple community outreach programs!
APO has performed in venues across the world including: The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Smithsonian, Georgetown University, Northwestern University, The Arsht Center, Kravis Center, 54 Below, Axelrod Center, The White House Historical Society, International Monetary Fund, The LA Music Center and more.
APO has been lucky to work with an unbelievable list of world class artists across all genres including: Patti LaBelle, Judith Light, Vanessa Williams, Kathy Najimy, Indigo Girls, Renée Fleming, Dionne Warwick, Lea Salonga, Rita Moreno, Audra McDonald, Stephanie Hsu, Fran Drescher, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cynthia Erivo, Betty Who, Paige Davis, André De Shields, Morgan Fairchild, Elaine Paige, Ariana Debose, Claybourne Elder, Peabo Bryson, Sandi Patty, Leslie Jordan, Midori, Billy Gilman, Matt Doyle, Kristin Chenoweth, Gavin Creel, and more.
The American Pops Orchestra wouldn’t be the same without the generous support of our APO Family.
Producing family friendly arts and cultivating music education resources is our way of inspiring the next generation of great musicians and vocalists.
From inspiring young artists from diverse backgrounds through our outreach programs to partnering with nonprofit organizations across the country, we are proud to build our APO family.
Growing up in West Virginia and spending most of his career in New York City and Washington DC, Luke knows the breadth of audiences that can have their lives changed by music of all kinds. Luke, a classically trained pianist and conductor, spends every day focusing not only on musical excellence but also about using music as a tool to connect people from all walks of life.
The American Pops Orchestra has made it a priority to not only maintain Pre-COVID content in a virtual form, but also create new content to keep our audience engaged and our musicians employed. As an organization that strives to break the mold of concerts, we are using COVID-19 to reimagine our normal operations. Since March we have streamed two full original concerts, created solo performances by instrumentalist and vocalists, rethought our Music and Mindfulness series as a more often and virtual event, and partnered with organizations across the country in our virtual trivia series.
In addition, APO has held multiple in-person socially distanced outdoor Porch Concerts that provide our audience with the opportunity to safely see live art despite the current situation around us. Throughout the pandemic, APO has employed hundreds of musicians and artists and in a time when many other organizations couldn’t. In the words of Maestro Luke Frazier, “we never stopped.”
Moving forward, APO is proud to present our NextGen National vocal competition which will include students from across the country competing virtually for the chance to win a monetary prize and the opportunity to perform in a future APO MainStage Show. This will include a virtual audition and semi-finals with a live (COVID permitting) finals in Spring of 2021. APO has also filmed multiple productions that will be broadcast nationally on PBS. APO has been grateful to keep creating and making music despite the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will keep working to bring you, our valued audience, original and unique content.
To support APO as we keep moving forward you can click here, so that we can continue to employ more artists and musicians. If you have any questions about what APO has been doing during the pandemic, please email email@example.com. Thank you and stay safe.