Danko Druško is a sought-after conductor and educator based in California. Born to Croatian parents in Germany, Druško comes from a modest background of immigrant parents; he is a first generation college graduate and Assistant Professor of Orchestral Studies at Chapman University. Druško is a frequent guest Cover Conductor for the LA Phil at Walt Disney Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and The Ford. He also serves as the 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 artists such as Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Lukáš Vondráček, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Ledisi, Simone Young, Philippe Jordan, Thomas Wilkins, David Newman, Louis Langrée, Eva Ollikainen, Café Tacvba, Gustavo Dudamel, and more.
Druško's work has earned him several awards and distinctions, including the prestigious
Friedrichshafen City Art Award in 2014, given to promising artists every two years in their effort to promote cultural advancements in the region. He was also 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). 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.
Druško has conducted professional, university, and youth orchestras, as well as choirs
throughout Europe and North America, including: Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Budapest
Operetta, Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, Metropolitan Orchestra Lisbon, Rochester Philharmonic, Naples Philharmonic, Idaho State Civic Symphony, Santa Clara University Orchestra, San Diego Youth Symphony, 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, California Music Educators' Association Honor Orchestra, California Association of Independent Schools Honor Orchestra, Imperial Valley Music Educators' Association, and YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, LA Phil), among others.
In addition to his work as a conductor, Druško partnered with LA-based artist Frances Stark and legendary music producer H.B. Barnum (Aretha Franklin, Jackson 5, Puff Daddy, etc.) to create a pedagogical opera of 'The Magic Flute' for the Absolut Art Award. He 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 Michael Jackson and Metallica previously recorded some of their most famous albums. 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.
Described as a "miracle worker" by the 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 NIU School of Music and Associate Instructor at the IU Jacobs School of Music. As Artistic and
Music Director he implemented lasting structures in both the El Sistema program in Salinas
(YOSAL) and the Monterey County Youth Orchestra; he also founded the Hoosier Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir in Indiana and the California Orchestra Academy. His mentors include Cliff Colnot, Arthur Fagen, David Effron, and Manfred Schreier.
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 and holds Staatsexamen degrees from both the Staatliche
Hochschule für Musik in Trossingen (Music Education) and the University of Konstanz (English Literature & Linguistics). He taught at the University of Guelph, Canada, as part of the PAD (Educational Exchange), 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 outdoorsman and finds inspiration for his music in nature. He currently resides in Monterey County with his wife, cellist Ameena Khawaja and their 2-year-old son.