Conductor Douglas Droste is recognized as possessing “obvious joy” for making music and a “sure sense of timing” when on the podium. Those under his baton routinely acknowledge his in-depth interpretations, keen sense of communication, and personable ability to empower musicians. Droste is the Artistic Director of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Director of Orchestras at Ball State University, and Conductor of the Music for All Summer Symposium Youth Orchestra.
In Muncie, Droste has been called “The People’s Maestro” because of his rapport with MSO musicians, audience members, and presence in the community. He has been praised for dynamic performances and innovative programming. Droste has helped develop the MSO’s Family Series within the organization’s ever-expanding lineup of community engagement offerings. Droste programs accessible pops concerts, including the annual Festival on the Green, Holiday Pops, and Picnic and Pops with the Ball State University “Pride of Mid-America” Marching Band.
At Ball State, Droste conducts the Ball State Symphony Orchestra, opera productions, and oversees the orchestral conducting program. In addition to performing traditional and contemporary repertoire, the BSSO has enjoyed unique collaborations with the BSU Jazz Ensemble, Ron McCurdy and his Langston Hughes Project, Sensory Friendly concerts for children with special needs, and a recording with Tony Award winner Sutton Foster, “Take Me to the World,” released in June 2018. The BSSO was selected to perform at the 2019 College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as the Indiana Music Education Association Conference (2016, 2019), and as the featured orchestra at the Music For All National Choral Festival (2018, 2019).
Recent guest conducting includes the orchestras of Kansas City, Indianapolis, Columbus, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Midland-Odessa, Chappaqua, Fox Valley (IL), and Amarillo Virtuosi. In 2014, Droste and jazz violinist Christian Howes were invited on a goodwill cultural exchange by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, where he guest conducted the INSO-Lviv Symphony Orchestra and led a conducting masterclass. Demonstrating his versatility, Droste has conducted pops concerts with artists such as Ben Folds, The Flaming Lips, Pink Martini, Michael Cavanaugh, Time for Three, Under the Streetlamp, John Pizzarelli, and Disney’s All-American College Orchestra Alumni, among others.
A dedicated advocate of music education, Droste regularly conducts youth and all-state orchestras, serves as a clinician and adjudicator for school orchestras and festivals, and has guest conducted at the prestigious Midwest Clinic. As conductor of the Music for All Summer Symposium Youth Orchestra, he has overseen unprecedented growth in the program, including collaborations with Black Violin, Quattrosound, and Project Trio. Droste is a Yamaha Performing Artist and Master Educator and is also affiliated with the American String Teachers Association and Festival Disney.
A talented violinist, Droste has soloed with the MSO and Amarillo Virtuosi, and has performed with the orchestras of Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Nashville, Memphis, Lubbock, and the Lancaster Festival. He is a former student of John Gilbert and the late Michael Davis. Droste is also skilled on viola, trumpet, and as a tenor.
Droste has held positions at Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Oklahoma Youth Symphony, Austin Peay State University, and Liberty Union-Thurston School District (OH). He studied conducting at the Pierre Monteux School, the Oregon Bach Festival with Helmuth Rilling, as well as other prominent conducting seminars. His primary conducting mentors include Gary Lewis, Michael Jinbo, and Larry Rachleff. Droste holds degrees from The Ohio State University and Texas Tech University.