James Jirak has been the Artistic Director of the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale since 1996. He is an Associate Professor of Music at Boise State University, where he leads the long-standing University Singers and teaches courses in Music Theory, Music Education, Conducting, and Jazz Techniques. Jirak also co-directs the annual Hymns of Thanksgiving Chorus and Orchestra here in Boise.
In addition to conducting, Jirak has performing experience ranging from studio and jazz singing to opera and musical theater roles, as well as ballet and modern dance. He has performed as a vocal soloist on the BSU Faculty Artist Series and he is a charter member of the local Critical Mass Vocal Arts Ensemble. In 1997 he was chosen to perform Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” in Carnegie Hall as a member of the Festival Chorus under the direction of Mr. Robert Shaw.
Dr. Jirak holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Colorado State University, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Wyoming, and a Doctor of Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado.
An active clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator, Dr. Jirak’s professional memberships include the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the National Association for Music Education, and life membership in the American Choral Director’s Association.
In September of 2017, Dr. Jirak was honored to receive Mayor Bieter’s Award for Excellence in Education. A native of Nebraska, he began his teaching career in Teton County, Wyoming, where he taught music to all grades (K-12, both vocal and instrumental) for 11 years.