Born to Croatian parents in Germany, Danko Druško is guest Cover Conductor for the LA Phil at Walt Disney Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford. He is also Artistic Director of the California Orchestra Academy (formerly COJAC) and Music Director of El Sistema USA/Salinas and the Monterey County Youth Symphony. He has collaborated with artists such as Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Lukas Vondracek, Ledisi, Simone Young, Thomas Wilkins, David Newman, Café Tacvba, Gustavo Dudamel, and more. Drusko was Director of Orchestra & Opera and taught conducting at the Northern Illinois University School of Music. He began teaching at universities in 2008 when he worked for the University of Guelph in Canada. He was Associate Instructor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is a frequent guest conductor, clinician and pre-concert lecturer.
Drusko has conducted professional, university and youth orchestras throughout Europe and North America such as the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Frankfurt Opera, Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Budapest Operetta, Metropolitan Orchestra Lisbon, Rochester Philharmonic, Naples Philharmonic, University of Florida School of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, University of Nebraska-Omaha School of Music, Jacobs School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Guildhall School of Music, Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Trossingen, Idaho State Civic Symphony, Santa Clara University Orchestra, San Diego Youth Symphony, California Music Educators Association Honor Orchestra, California Association of Independent Schools Honor Orchestra, and YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, LA Phil), among others. He was invited to some of the most competitive conducting competitions with orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra and Frankfurt Radio Symphony.
Drusko was a recipient of the 2011 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and won the first and only prize in conducting by the County Culture Foundation of Lake Constance in Germany (2012). In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Friedrichshafen City Art Award, a distinction given to promising artists every two years in their effort to promote cultural advancements in the region. Described as a "miracle worker" by the Peninsula Reviews, Drusko is sensitive to his communities and believes that music has no boundaries, advocating for the performance of regional and traditional music, thus filling concert halls and uniting audience members of diverse backgrounds.
Drusko founded the Hoosier Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir 2016, recruiting 250 musicians to perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in its inaugural concert at the Indiana Memorial Union’s Alumni Hall. He partnered with LA-based artist Frances Stark to create a pedagogical opera of ‘The Magic Flute’ for the Absolut Art Award. For this collaboration Drusko re-orchestrated the entire opera for youth wind soloists and string orchestra. In an intensive six-week summer session recruited students perfected the arrangement and later on recorded it in the same Hollywood studios where Michael Jackson and Metallica recorded their music. The collaborative installation premiered at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and appeared in major museums around the world such as London's ICA, New York's MoMA, the Smithsonian, and many more.
With career beginnings as a trumpet player, Drusko competed in Germany’s national competition for young musicians “Jugend musiziert” after which he was invited to study trumpet at the Augsburg College of Music, today the Leopold Mozart Zentrum. Along with work as a professional trumpet player in symphonies and opera pit orchestras in Germany, Drusko also enjoyed performing as a tenor in several operas and toured with orchestras to Spain, Italy, Denmark, Poland and the United States.
Drusko holds a Doctor of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He received his Master's Degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Eastman School of Music and holds Staatsexamen degrees from both the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Trossingen (B.M. & M.M.) and the University of Konstanz (B.A. & M.Ed. English Literature & Linguistics; minor in Philosophy & Ethics). He worked abroad for the PAD, 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 in order to study sport science in Germany. Drusko currently lives in what John Steinbeck described as paradise with his wife, son, and pets.