About The American Pops Orchestra

Founded in 2015 by Maestro Luke Frazier, The American Pops Orchestra (APO) is dedicated to bringing American popular music to diverse new audiences in dynamic ways.

APO’s mission is to build community through the preservation, promotion and reimagination of American popular music. Through live and virtual performances, educational initiatives, and collaborations APO makes the highest quality art accessible to the broadest audiences.

We reimagine American popular music through non-traditional orchestral settings – from art galleries to the Lincoln Center to your television screen on PBS. Connecting versatile musicians with Broadway performers, music stars, and other artists to bring American popular music to life, our modern take on classic music is what makes APO performances so unique.

In addition to our Mainstage concerts and performances like United in Song on PBS, each APO season contains newly imagined children’s stories, fitness and mindfulness yoga practices, the Annual NextGen National: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow Vocal Competition, and multiple community outreach programs!

Following the onset of COVID-19, APO was presented with the opportunity to further engage local and national audiences through online artistic content and virtual adaptations of in-person programs.

Get to know the APO family and our community and education initiatives:

Join the APO Family

The American Pops Orchestra wouldn’t be the same without the generous support of our APO Family.

Education

Producing family friendly arts and cultivating music education resources is our way of inspiring the next generation of great musicians and vocalists.

Our Impact

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.

Meet Maestro Luke Frazier

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.

Learn more about luke

Meet The Musicians

Violin 1
Sarah D’Angelo
Sonya Hayes

Flute/Piccolo
Sarah McIver

Trombone
Jerry Amoury

Violin 2
Laura Frazelle
Marissa Murphy

Clarinet
Shawn Buck

Guitar/Banjo
Jim Roberts

Viola
Stephanie Knutsen
Matthew Maffett
Elizabeth Stahr

Trumpet
Brandon Cave

Piano
Alex Tang

Cello
Danielle Cho
Barbara Brown
Jihea Choi

French Horn
Chandra Cervantes

Meet The Orchestra Staff

Marianne Cheng
Coordinator of Education and Community Engagement
Rowdy Gilbert
Director of Development
Hannah Gudeman
General Manager
Jim Kelly
Orchestra Personnel Manager
Zach Peaslee
Operations Manager
Madison Russell
Operations and Outreach Coordinator

A Message from The APO

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 hannah@theamericanpops.org. Thank you and stay safe.