- John Koshak is Conductor and Professor Emeritus, Chapman University, and Music Director and Conductor Emeritus and holder of the Ambassador and Mrs. George L. Argyros Music Director's Chair of the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra. His leadership of the OCYSO established the orchestra as one of the prominent youth orchestras in the United States and has brought national attention to the arts in Orange County. He recently completed his thirty-two year tenure at Chapman University where he served as Director of Orchestras and Instrumental Music. At the university Professor Koshak was responsible for building Chapman's nationally prominent orchestra program and one of the nation's leading undergraduate conductor training programs in orchestral conducting.
To honor his achievements and contributions, Chapman University recognized John Koshak as Conductor and Professor Emeritus and established the John Koshak Visiting Professorship. The university also established the John Koshak Practice Studio in Oliphant Hall, the newest music building on the Chapman University campus.
Critics both at home and abroad have enthusiastically reviewed Maestro Koshak. A Los Angeles Times reviewer wrote: "Carefully regulating each crescendo, Koshak made every climax powerful, dramatic and exhilarating without exhausting his resources at the first fortissimo." In Germany, the Rhein Zeitung reviewer wrote: "both the overall harmonic picture and the artistic discipline can be attributed to the conductor, John Koshak." Of the Brahms Symphony No. 1, the critic described Koshak as a "true Salzburgian." While in Australia, the Sydney Herald music critic wrote: "John Koshak presided over first rate string sounds in the Barber Adagio, and in a Gabrielli Canzona made the brass ring out triumphantly, while Bernstein's Candide Overture hustled along with irresistible panache." About Maestro Koshak's Celebration/Finale Concert with the OCYSO, Timothy Mangan, from the Orange County Register, wrote, "A medley from West Side Story, followed, the orchestra showing a fine sense of its brash and sentimental style, and judging the instrumental balances well, Koshak led them in precise but expressive motions, giving them just what they needed for accuracy's sake without fuss, but also gently shaping the musical flow."
Koshak has conducted orchestras in Australia, China and Europe, and has conducted honor, festival and all-state orchestras in California, Nevada, Montana, Washington, and New York. He has served as artist-in-residence and guest conductor at the Sydney (Australia) Conservatorium of Music and was twice invited as guest conductor of the Pan Pacific Music Festival in Australia.
Maestro Koshak has toured extensively with his orchestras, including performances in Europe, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and New York. He has conducted in some of the world's greatest concert halls, including the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria, the Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria, the Sydney Opera House, Australia, and New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall.
Prior to his appointment to the faculty of Chapman University, he was a public school music educator and conductor in New York, Germany, New Jersey, and California. In Orange County, California, Professor Koshak was recognized for his work in music education when he received the Irene Schoepfle Award for distinguished contributions to Orange County music and by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County which presented him with their Golden Lyre Award for his work with their music education programs and for his artistic leadership of the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra. Arts Orange County recognized him and the OCYSO with the Arts Educator of the Year Award. With the OCYSO Maestro Koshak has conducted youth concerts in Orange County for over a half million Orange County students.
While conducting and teaching in Europe, Professor Koshak received recognition by the United States Government, which granted him the Superior Performance Award for his work in Germany. He and his orchestras have twice received the ASCAP Award from the American Symphony Orchestra League for the performance of American music. At Chapman University, Professor Koshak received the Faculty of the Year Award from the Chapman Alumni Association for his outstanding teaching and conducting. Arts Orange County recognized his music and arts leadership by giving him their prestigious Artistic Visionary Award for lifetime achievement in the arts. He is the author of the conducting book, The Conductor's Role: Preparation for Individual Study, Rehearsal and Performance that is now in its 5th edition.
Professor Koshak received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Pennsylvania State University, his Master's degree from Columbia University, and his Conducting Diploma from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. He serves as Chair of the Mentoring Committee of the Conductors Guild.