Dr. J.A. Kawarsky (b. 1959) is Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton in New Jersey. Kawarsky received his B.M. in composition from Iowa State University and his M.M. and D.M.A. from Northwestern University, where he studied with John Paynter, Alan Stout, and Frederick Ockwell. In 1982, Kawarsky conducted the Opera Company of the Negev Region in Be’er Sheva in Israel. Before coming to Westminster in 1989, he taught at Fort Hays State University, the University of Wisconsin, and Moraine Valley Community College.
A well-known coach and director/conductor in the theater world, Kawarsky conducted the 2007 national tour of Peter Pan and prepared the music for the 2nd national tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He has been a music director at Stagedoor Manor, French Woods, Harand Camp for the Arts, Long Lake Camp of the Arts in New York, as well as for the Franklin Theatre Works of Clinton in New Jersey. He was the founding conductor of the New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus (Delaware Valley Men’s Chorus), and has also served as conductor of the Lehigh Valley Gay Men’s Chorus, Voices Chorale, and was chosen to conduct Sing for the Cure for the Komen Foundation National Conference in 2002, and transcribe a new/reduced orchestration of the work.
As a composer, he has written for many genres including solo instrument, orchestra, band, and choral music.