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J. Calloway Cieslak

Music & Artistic Director 
Symphony Of New Orleans,
Co-Choirmaster Voices of New Orleans


Joseph “Calloway” Cieslak began his career in conducting when co-founding the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra in 2012 and Co-Directing the group for the following 6 years. In 2015, Calloway founded the Voices of New Orleans Choir and served as its choirmaster for its first 3 years. Between these two ensembles, he led and assisted for dozens of concerts during his tenure, including collaborations with professional soloists from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, choral-symphonic masterworks, and even an interactive multimedia concert. Under his direction, this orchestra and choir grew to be one of the largest and most prominent community ensembles in the city, which still produces unique and engaging concert experiences for new audiences.


In addition to this conducting experience, Calloway has regularly attended conducting clinics and workshops to hone his technique and deepen his understanding of the profession, including the Bard Summer Conducting Institute and the South Carolina Summer Conducting Institute. Calloway has also sought to study a wide breadth of topics to help inform his work on the podium. He has primarily studied piano, but also voice, clarinet, and violin in order to broaden his understanding of different instruments. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Loyola New Orleans (summa cum laude) and a Master’s Degree in Composition from the University of Denver. Through his time teaching, composing, and working with community musicians, Calloway has developed a musical philosophy that focuses on the personal connection that musicians and audiences find in their music.


He recently graduated with a Master's in Orchestral Conducting from the University of North Texas under Maestro David Itkin. In the Fall of 2022, he returned to New Orleans to work with the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra (now Symphony Of New Orleans) as its Music & Artistic Director, and is looking forward to revitalizing the organization post-pandemic.

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