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 musicians, audience members, and presence in the community. He has led dynamic performances with the MSO and has been praised for his innovative programming of mixing new works with traditional repertoire. Droste has helped develop the MSO’s new Family Series, and has expanded its community engagement with concerts such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Concert, a Toddler Pops concert, and the popular Young People’s Concert, “Music is Science!” Droste programs accessible pops concerts, including the annual Festival on the Green, and Picnic and Pops featuring 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. The BSSO also performs a diverse mix of standard repertoire and contemporary music, and has enjoyed unique collaborations with the BSU Jazz Ensemble, Ron McCurdy and his Langston Hughes Project, and in addition, performs an annual Sensory Friendly concert for children with special needs. The BSSO performed at the 2016 Indiana Music Education Association Conference.
Recent guest conducting includes the orchestras of Columbus, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Midland-Odessa, Fox Valley (IL), and the 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, Project Trio, Under the Streetlamp, John Pizzarelli, and Disney’s All-American College Orchestra Alumni. Upcoming appearances include the Kansas City Symphony with the Canadian Brass, and return engagements with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.
A dedicated advocate of music education, Droste regularly conducts youth orchestras and serves as a clinician and adjudicator for school orchestras and festivals. As Conductor of the Music For All Summer Symposium Youth Orchestra, he has overseen unprecedented growth in the program. He most recently led the orchestra in a collaboration with the hip-hop duo, Black Violin. 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 performed as a soloist with the MSO and Amarillo Virtuosi, and has performed with the orchestras of Fort Wayne, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Nashville, Memphis, Lubbock, and the Lancaster Festival (OH). He is a former student of John Gilbert and the late Michael Davis. Droste is also skilled on viola and trumpet, and has sung tenor with a variety of choral ensembles.
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.