Dr. Zachary Daniels is an American conductor driven by an artistic mission to bring passionate, informed performances to audiences and connect with concert goers on an educational, artistic, and cultural-relevancy level. Thorough score study, understanding the source material, and drafting a creative interpretation of the score lay the foundations of Daniels' highly charismatic, educator's mindset podium presence. Dr. Daniels has brought excitement to the concert halls, instilled a deep love of the underlying music in his ensembles, and inspired audiences to think about music differently. He currently conducts the Oklahoma Community Orchestra, which he first directed in Spring of 2023 as an emergency guest conductor on just over a week's notice. In December, he will make his ballet conducting debut with the Central Oklahoma Ballet company on their annual production of The Nutcracker.
Having conducted across the United States, Dr. Daniels primarily performs with the Oklahoma Community Orchestra, a civic orchestra based in Oklahoma City/Edmond. As a man with a multi-faceted career, he has appearanced regularly at College Music Society conferences as a performer, composer, and adjudicator, participated in Music Theory Roundtables, had pieces presented at the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States annual conference, and had music included in the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival as well as several state Music Educators' Conferences. Previous conducting positions include Assistant Conductor for the Irv Wagner Big Band, Director of the University of Oklahoma New Music Improv! Ensemble, Assistant Director for the OU New Music Ensemble, a wide variety of chamber music conducting at the University of Oklahoma, directing the Drury University Chamber Orchestra and Wind Symphony, and going back as far as directing the Glendale High School orchestras throughout his high school years for a variety of works including several of his own world premieres and working with guest artists.
Zachary is passionate about bringing new music to audiences, and bringing old music under a new spotlight to audiences with the hope of giving them something new to take awayf rom the piece. He has given world premieres by composers Dr. Edward Knight, Nikki Krumwiede, Celka Ojakangas, Kyle Dillingham, Dr. Kyle Vanderburg, and a great number of student composers some of which he has commissioned in the past. Dr. Daniels has also worked with artists such as Kyle Dillingham, Lucas Ross, Dr. Irvin Wagner, and Dr. David Hayes in addition to several Young Artists as soloists in a wide-ranging set of repertoire ranging from Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, to Grazyna Bacewitz's Piano Concerto, to Ed Knight's The Flickering Fiddle.
Dr. Daniels' mentors in conducting include Andy Johnston, Dr. Christopher Koch, and Dr. Irvin Wagner. He earned a BA in Music Composition and Double Bass performance from Drury University in 2014 before moving to Norman, Oklahoma for graduate school at the University of Oklahoma where he earned his MM and DMA ('16/'19) in Composition while also assisting in direction of the New Century Ensemble, directing the New Century improv Ensemble, and directing various chamber groups while also managing the composition studio under the supervision of Dr. Marvin Lamb and Dr. Konstantinos Karathanasis.