John Zdechlik lived his entire life in Minnesota and was been a vibrant part of the music education community as a teacher, composer, conductor, and clinician. From 1970 to 1997, he taught music theory and conducted instrumental groups at Century College in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

He started in music playing the piano, then trumpet, and by the age of 16 had gigs with local dance bands, playing and arranging. He studied music education and composition at the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate and graduate degrees.

His works for band include standards in the repertoire like Chorale and Shaker Dance, Psalm 46, and Celebrations. He composed over 60 works for band, small ensembles, and solo musicians. He was a member of the College Band Directors National Association and the Minnesota Music Educators Association. In l989, he was elected to membership in the American Bandmasters Association.

John is pictured here (at the piano) in the Rich Clausen band.

At Century College, he formed the concert band and jazz ensemble and established an annual Jazz Festival in 1990. Under his leadership, the Century College Concert Band and Century Jazz Ensemble opened to a community members. Read more from band member Reggie Buresh.

Read more about his compositions:

  • A Composer’s Insight, Volume 3: Thoughts, Analysis and Commentary Masterpieces for Wind Band. 2006. Salzman, Timothy (Ed.). Meredith Music Publications: Galesville, MD.
  • Composers on Composing for Band. 2006. Camphouse, Mark (Ed.). GIA Publications: Chicago, IL.
  • Chorale and Shaker Dance: A Teaching-Learning Unit. 2000. Garofalo, Robert. Meredith Music Publications: Galesville, MD.

John’s remains are interred in the Garden Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.