Dr. J.A. Kawarsky


Dr. J.A. Kawarsky is Professor of Music Theory and Composition, and founding Program Director of the Bachelor of Music Theater degree at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ. Dr. Kawarsky has a Bachelor of Music degree from Iowa State University and holds an MM and DMA from Northwestern University. This past fall, he conducted and music directed the critically acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd at City Theater Company in Wilmington, DE. In the recent past he conducted the National Tour of Peter Pan and was vocal director for the second National Tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. As a Professor at Westminster Choir College, Dr. Kawarsky has taught courses in the History of the American Musical, analytic courses that included a comparative analysis course on “Rent” and La Boheme, a course on the Analytic History of the Broadway Song, and an analysis course on Sondheim’s Follies. These courses were offered within the music theory and music theater curricula and included music theater majors as well as students from other musical disciplines. As a composer, he has written for all genres including solo instrument, orchestra, band, choral, vocal and theater. Recently, he received his 11th Composer Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). His 40 minute work Prayers for Bobby for choir, orchestra, narrator and soloists, has received numerous performances throughout the United States and Canada and was recorded by the New Jersey Men’s Chorus. Dr. Kawarsky has been commissioned by numerous ensembles for original works and arrangements. In October of 2006, he was awarded the Outstanding Alumnus award from Iowa State University and was presented with a premiere of a new work for orchestral winds and alto saxophone solo, Fastidious Notes. Yelton Rhodes Music of Los Angeles, Transcontinental Music of New York and Southern Music of San Antonio publish his music. The Iowa State University Wind Ensemble recently premiered his new composition commissioned by 17 universities, Red Training Reels.