By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the more celebrated splits developed this year between the Philly Pops organization and its world-renowned music director, Peter Nero.

The Pops was dragged into bankruptcy in 2011, when the Philadelphia Orchestra filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, but as they exited bankruptcy, the Pops board decided to end its relationship with the Maestro, unless Nero would accept a lower salary.

Nero, the Grammy Award winning pianist and conductor, was the founding music director of the Pops in 1979.

“The pops is me. Peter Nero and the Philly Pops is trademarked and I own it,” said Nero.

He will wind up his long-running stay next May, and is expected to conduct the annual Independence Day POPS concert. But the baton gets handed to Michael Krajewski, who will succeed Nero next season.

“All of the things you love about the Philly Pops are going to continue on for many years to come,” said Krajewski.

He is currently the principal pops conductor of the Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville Symphony Orchestras.

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