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Douglas C. Orzolek

Professor and Department Chair, Symphonic Band Director

Music, Film & Creative Enterprise

  • Expertise
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Music Education, Instrumental Music, Conducting, Assessment and Evaluation, Musical Acoustics

Douglas C. Orzolek, PhD, is a Professor of Music, Chair of the Department of Music, Film & Creative Enterprise, and Symphonic Band Director at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Orzolek teaches music education methods and techniques, conducts the Symphonic Band, and teaches musical acoustics, music literature and conducting. He also teaches core classes, courses related to instrumental music education and advises papers in both the master’s and doctoral level music education programs.

Dr. Orzolek’s scholarly contributions have been published in the Journal of Band Research, WASBE Research Journal, Contributions to Music Education, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Research and Issues in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education and General Music Today. His publications also include several book chapters on assessment, the status of research in music teacher education and secondary general music education including The Oxford Handbook of Assessment Policy and Practice in Music Education. He has made presentations at several national and international conferences and he has been a guest conductor for state, regional and conference honor band festivals. He continues to serve as a curriculum consultant to several schools and districts and is the music education advisor to the Playful Learning Lab and OKGO Sandbox.

Dr. Orzolek is a Past-President of the Minnesota Music Educators Association as well as a former MMEA Advocacy Chair. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Band Directors Association, the co-chair of the 2007 Minnesota Arts Education Standards Revision Committee and several other committees related to music education and teacher preparation. Nationally, he is a past chair of the Society for Music Teacher Education, was the local chair for the 2004 NAfME/MENC National Conference and he served on the editorial committee of Update: Applications of Research in Music Education. He currently serves as the Academic Editor and Chair of Music Educators Journal.

Prior to his time at St. Thomas, he taught instrumental and general music at Vestal High School in Vestal, New York and was the Director of Bands at Thomas Jefferson High School in Bloomington, Minnesota. He received the Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, the Master of Education in Music Education degree from Penn State University, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education degree from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Orzolek was named to the Minnesota Music Educators’ Association Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Thomas Jefferson High School Fine Arts Hall of Fame in 2016. He was named to the Mansfield University Music Alumni Honor Roll in 2002 and received the Mansfield University "Distinguished Young Alumni" Award in 2001. In 2003, the students of St. Thomas named him the “Distinguished Educator of the Year.”