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Director of Orchestras, 

Cory Zilisch


Cory Zilisch is the Director of Orchestras at Westport Middle School in Louisville, Kentucky. He has taught orchestra in the city of Louisville for 5 years. In addition to teaching orchestra at Westport, “Mr. Z” also assists with the Eastern High School Band program and leads the jazz program at Eastern. Cory also serves as the chair for all of the Jefferson County Public Schools middle school All-County events. During Cory’s tenure at Westport Middle School since 2014, the orchestra program has grown by over 400% in just two years. (From 45 to 180+ members) While under Mr. Zilisch’s direction, the orchestra programs at Westport have consistently received Distinguished ratings at all KMEA Orchestra assessment festivals.

Cory attended the University of Louisville and received his Bachelors Degree in Music Education in 2011. His primary instrument of study was trombone, under Dr. Brett Shuster. Mr. Zilisch is also an active performer in the Louisville Concert Band and performed recently with the band at the 2013 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. He is an active member of the American String Teacher’s Association, and the National Association for Music Education. While attending UofL, Cory spent two summers (2008-2009) as a marching member of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. Before attending the University of Louisville, Cory attended North Hardin High School under the Direction of Charles F. Campbell. While attending each school Cory was able to perform at the KMEA state conference multiple times, The National Concert Band Festival, The 2004 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and Carnegie Hall NY.

Cory has been a pioneer in the area of string education. Under his direction, the Westport Orchestra boasts one of the first middle school “Electric Orchestra” programs. With inspiration from Mark Wood, the founder of the ‘Trans-Siberian Orchestra’, Mr. Zilisch has propelled the Westport Orchestra into the 21st century using state of the art instruments and technology. The “Rock N’ Warhawks” electric orchestra is a unique performing ensemble that utilizes electric instruments, choreography and improvisation. The electric group performs very often in many community events and functions. Cory has been a leader in the use of technology and has been sought after as a clinician for other teachers and music education students. Cory has presented at the JCPS music teacher’s in-services, American String Teacher’s Association National Conference, University of Louisville, University of Michigan, University of Delaware and will be presenting at the 2017 KMEA State Conference. Cory has also received numerous awards including a recent selection as a quarterfinalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award and the District 12, 2016 Middle School Music teacher of the year. Mr. Zilisch was also selected as the Kentucky Music Educator’s Association 2017 state Middle school teacher of the year.