Donald Draganski was born in Chicago in 1936 and is a life-long resident of the metropolitan Chicago area.
He attended Maryville Academy High School in Des Plaines as a day student. All of the skills that served him later as a musican were honed at the high school while under the tutelage of its bandmaster John Yaccino. He picked up a working knowledge of all the instruments of the orchestra; gave lessons to younger students; managed the music library; learned music manuscripting and transposing cleaned and repaired the instruments; shined the marching band's shoes -- in short, it constituted an apprentice of an earlier era. Thus, when entering college, his familiarity with the more down-to-earth aspects of music-making served him in very good stead.
He received his BMEd degree in 1958 from De Paul University in Chicago where he studied bassoon under Wilbur Simpson of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also studied composition for one year with Alexander Tcherepnin.
He was fortunate in being assigned as bassoonist to the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra during his tour of active duty inthe Army from 1960 to 1962. The Orchestra toured throughout western Europe – Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands – giving concerts for the most part to civilian audiences, and functioning as one of Uncle Sam's most effective cultural ambassadors.
Upon returning to the States, he taught school for three years before returning to earn a degree in Library Science in 1966 from Dominican University (then known as Rosary College). He worked as a professional librarian for thirty-two years until his retirement in 1998. During those last twenty-five years he held the post of Music Librarian at Roosevelt Universit, serving faculty and students of Chicago Musical College.
His compositional efforts began while still a teenager, but none of his juvenalia survives, and his first significant ettempts at composition date from 1958. Although never employed as a full-time musican, he continues to play and write, sharing his efforts with whoever finds pleasure in his output. Since 1998 he as been composer-in-residence of the Pilgrim Chamber Players.
As a bassoonist he has over the years played in various woodwind quintets, and he was also a founding member of the The North Winds which is now, alas, defunct. (His involvement with woodwind quintets over the years explains the preponderance of music for that combination in his list of compositions.) At present he plays bassoon with the Evanston Symhony Orchestra.
He makes his home in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife Antje. They have three grown children: Thomas, a High School math teacher; Christine, an oncologist; and Mark, an accountant.
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