Dr. Michael Yonchak is an Associate Professor, Director of Bands, and Coordinator for the Percussion and Commercial Music programs at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. He is also a freelance percussionist in the greater Columbus (OH) area, performing with a range of groups such as the Korey Black Jazz Quartet, Acoustic Edge (country/bluegrass), and the Flamenco Company of Columbus.
Dr. Yonchak earned the Bachelor of Music in Education (’00) and Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting (’03) degrees from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Wind Conducting at the University of Kentucky. He is an energetic supporter of new music, securing extensive grants and funding to support commissions, consortia, and other initiatives featuring contemporary composers for wind ensemble and percussion. To further support these efforts, Dr. Yonchak holds an Executive Board position with the New Works Project of Seattle, WA - an organization dedicated to lowering financial barriers and increasing representation to promote equity in commissioning and performing new music.
His ongoing research is varied: music pedagogy, performance practice, music history, popular culture, protest music, and aspects of American composer Frank Zappa. This collection of topics has fueled multiple publications, clinic presentations, guest scholar residencies, sabbatical projects, public lectures, and a documentary film "kickstarter" associate producer credit in Alex Winter's Zappa (2020).
Dr. Yonchak is listed with the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild, and a trained HealthRHYTHMS facilitator through Remo, Inc. These affiliations focus on leading interactive drum circle experiences and percussion-centered workshops in health and wellness for all ages.
Finally, Dr. Yonchak holds honorary memberships in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi, and Tau Beta Sigma. He is an endorsee for Murat Diril Cymbals (muratdiril.com), Vic Firth, Inc., and JDUB Cajons (jdubcajons.com).