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Press Releases

Danko Druško Takes the Baton as Assistant Professor of Orchestral Studies for the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music at Chapman University

August 15, 2023 | By Cerise Valenzuela Metzger
Director of Public Relations

Chapman University’s College of Performing Arts proudly announces the appointment of Danko Druško, who assumes the role of Assistant Professor of Orchestral Studies within the esteemed Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music, beginning with the fall 2023 semester. 

Druško, a distinguished conductor and educator, brings a wealth of experience to his new role. Born to Croatian immigrant parents in Germany, he is a first-generation college graduate.

Druško commands the podium as a guest-cover conductor for the iconic Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford. He also serves as artistic director of the California Orchestra Academy, which provides universal access to high-level music education for students around the globe. He has collaborated with world-renowned artists such as Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Lukáš Vondrácek, Ledisi, Simone Young, Thomas Wilkins, David Newman, Café Tacvba and Gustavo Dudamel. 

Giulio Ongaro, dean of the College of Performing Arts, reflects on this pivotal appointment, sharing, “We are thrilled to have a musician and educator of Danko’s caliber join Chapman’s music conservatory. He will be a valuable resource for our students, and I look forward to his contributions to the college.” 

Award-Winning Conductor and Musician 

Druško's work has earned awards and distinctions from around the world, including the prestigious Friedrichshafen City Art Award, the 2011 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, and the first and only prize in conducting by the County Culture Foundation of Lake Constance in Germany. Prior to his conducting career, Druško worked as a professional trumpet player in symphonies and opera pit orchestras in Germany and performed as a tenor in several operas. 

As a conductor, Druško has led professional, university and youth orchestras, as well as choirs throughout Europe and North America. He partnered with Los Angeles-based artist Frances Stark to create a pedagogical version of the opera “The Magic Flute” for the Absolut Art Award, re-orchestrated the entire opera for youth wind soloists and string orchestra and led the recording of the project at the same Hollywood studio where music stars Michael Jackson and Metallica previously recorded some of their most famous albums. The collaborative installation premiered at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and appeared in major museums around the world including London's Institute of Contemporary Arts, New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. 

Described as a "miracle worker" by Peninsula Reviews, Druško is attuned to the needs of his communities and believes music has no boundaries. He advocates for the learning and performance of regional and traditional music, uniting audience members of all backgrounds in the concert hall. He previously held positions as Director of Orchestra and Opera at the Northern Illinois University School of Music and associate instructor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. As artistic and music director he implemented lasting structures in California’s El Sistema program (YOSAL) in Salinas and the Monterey County Youth Orchestra; he also founded the Hoosier Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir in Indiana. 

Druško holds a doctor of music degree in orchestral and opera conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He received his master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Eastman School of Music in New York and holds Staatsexamen degrees from both the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Trossingen and University of Konstanz, Germany. He taught abroad for the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (Pedagogical Exchange Service), the sole public organization in Germany working on behalf of the Federal States to promote international exchange and cooperation. He also passed the highly competitive physical aptitude test required to study sport science in Germany. Druško is an avid outdoor enthusiast and finds inspiration for his music in nature. 

About Chapman University

Founded in 1861, Chapman University is a nationally ranked private university located in Southern California. Chapman is categorized by the Carnegie Classification as an R2 “high research activity” institution and offers personalized education to more than 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The campus has produced a Rhodes Scholar, been named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, and hosts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. Based in the City of Orange, Chapman also includes the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine. In 2019, the university opened its 11th college, Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler School of Engineering, in its newest facility, Keck Center for Science and Engineering. Learn more about Chapman University: www.chapman.edu.


Media Contact:

Cerise Valenzuela Metzger, Director of Public Relations | cmetzger@chapman.edu | 714-289-3143

Carly Murphy, Public Relations Coordinator | carmurphy@chapman.edu | Desk: 714-289-3196 | Mobile: 714-497-9683




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