Joseph Cieslak is the Co-Director and Co-Founder of the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra, as well as the current Director of the Voices of New Orleans Choir. Joseph graduated cum laude from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor's in Music Education. While at Loyola, he received several honors, including the Presser Undergraduate Award for artistic and academic excellence, an Outstanding Composition Student Award, and 6 semesters of Dean's List. During his time at Loyola, Joseph studied piano from Dr. John Murphy, clarinet from Mr. John Reeks and Dr. Stephanie Thompson, voice from Dr. Marcus St. Julien, and composition from Dr. William Horne.
Joseph has conducted NOVO for 3 years now, and has also had the opportunity to conduct chamber ensembles of talented Loyola students and alumni for recitals and chamber music. Like Chris, he also was accepted to the prestigious Bard Conductor's Institute, where his teachers included Harold Farbermann, Mark Gibson, and Apo Hsu. Joseph is an active composer and regularly produces arrangements and compositions for NOVO and VONO. His works have been performed and read by NOVO, the Loyola Concert Band and Wind Ensemble, and the Loyola Symphony Orchestra.
A proud supporter of the public school system and an active music educator, Joseph teaches Strings and General Music in St. Tammany Parish. An itinerant teacher, his schools include Bonne Ecole, Whispering Forest, and Clearwood and Slidell Jr. High. A passionate advocate for music education and expansive arts outreach, Joseph believes firmly in "tearing down the ivory tower" - reevaluating traditions surrounding classical music and how they affect its accessibility. On the podium, he is an enthusiastic musician, and always excited for the opportunity to make music with NOVO and VONO.