Born to Croatian parents in Germany, Danko Druško is Artistic Director of COJAC (California Orchestra and Jazz Academy), and Music Director of El Sistema USA/Salinas and the Monterey County Youth Symphony. He is guest Cover Conductor for the LA Phil at Walt Disney Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford, and has collaborated with artists such as Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Lukas Vondracek, Ledisi, Simone Young, Thomas Wilkins, Café Tacvba, Gustavo Dudamel, and more. Drusko was Director of Orchestra & Opera and taught conducting at the Northern Illinois University School of Music. 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, and YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, LA Phil), among others.
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 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. He was invited to some of the most competitive conducting competitions with orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra and Frankfurt Radio Symphony.
He is an advocate for new music and 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.
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 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.