John-Kevin (JK) Hilbert has a wide variety of professional experiences as an artistic director, conductor, composer/arranger and educator in musical genres ranging from classical to Broadway to pop, involving choruses and orchestras of every size. Born in St. Joseph, MIchigan, he recently returned home to Michigan, following 24 years living in the Los Angeles area, to be closer to his family. In California he was on the faculty at Brentwood School as Director and Conductor for the Musical Theater program and Music Director of Madrigals, Concert Singers, Women’s Choir and Chamber Orchestra. He was also Director of Music at St. Augustine-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Santa Monica.
Previously JK was Artistic Director of Oakland Lyric Opera, vocal coach and chorus conductor for San Francisco Opera, and Assistant Conductor for Sacramento Opera. He has conducted more than 95 Broadway shows in California and elsewhere, and won a Shellie award as Best Musical Director in the Bay Area for Guys and Dolls. He has conducted at Tanglewood Music Festival, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall and has been the Artistic Director for Music at the Westwood Mozart and Bach Festivals in Los Angeles. As Director of Music at Westwood Presbyterian Church from 1998-2013, JK conducted more than 60 sacred oratorios, including the popular Los Angeles Westside Messiah Sing-Along.
JK has completed all academic and performance requirements for a D.M.A. in conducting at Michigan State University. He holds a Masters in piano performance and undergraduate degrees in voice and piano performance from MSU, and is certified to teach K-12 music. While at MSU he was an assistant conductor of the Michigan State University Orchestras and served as music director for both Broadway and opera productions at the Wharton Center. He is a prolific composer, having scored musicals, classical vocal compositions, films, and advertising themes.
JK is a proud member of and advocate for the LGBTQ community. In 2013 he composed and directed the musical One of a Kind, which celebrates diversity and addresses bullying, coming out, and discrimination across multiple generations. He is passionate about coaching singers and actors and embraces every opportunity to teach and inspire a new generation to find their voice.
“There is no greater experience on earth than singing with other voices in a chorus, creating beautiful unisons and glorious harmonies,” he says. “It is in this unique environment of music-making that voices become one and have the power to change lives.”
JK shares his home with his rescue dog Jazmine, a chiweenie (chihuahua-dachshund mix).