Andrew Osman

Poly High Music Director Andrew Osman retires after 36 years.

Orchestra and Symphonic Winds Director Andrew Osman has stepped off the Poly High School podium after 36 years.

With a degree in Music Education and teaching credential from UCLA, Osman said he initially took the job at Poly as a starter job. However, he quickly realized it had a special place in his heart.

“I realized there was a lot of potential there,” he said.

The potential Osman referred to includes the diverse student body, robust academic programs, and strong administration.

“Things were growing at Poly,” he said. “And I was never going to find a better place with the unique combination of elements.

“I’m proud of the breadth of the program, and of the approach and trust that we’ve be able to instill.” 

He said his students’ appreciation of music goes beyond the classroom.

“They have a very healthy love and appreciation of what they’re doing,” he said. “It’s not just in music but it carries beyond music and what they do in their lives.”

Osman said he is able to help encourage, motivate, guide, and challenge his students because in his experience, they want to be good.

Osman said he doesn’t use awards or competitions as motivators. Instead, he focuses on the music.

“It’s the value of the music itself, you owe it to yourself, the composer of the pieces, to do the best you can,” he would tell his students.

“This is what I’m proud of. Kids appreciate it because they want to do something well, and music itself becomes a good reward.”

Osman is one of four musical directors at Poly along with Brian Dokko (choral director), Julia Gustafson (piano teacher), and Chris Stevens (jazz and marching band director).

He teaches the instrumental musical side of the program. Courses Osman has taught include the Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra, Symphony Strings, String Orchestra, Concert Band and Symphonic Winds Ensemble.

Under Osman, Poly High’s music program received numerous honors, including performances at the California Music Education Association (CMEA) conference, the Orange County Performing Arts Center Invitational Festival, a concert with world-renowned American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, and a performance of legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein music with Bernstein in attendance.

As evidence of his impact on the community, the Long Beach Unified School District recently voted to rename the renovated Poly High auditorium The Andrew P. Osman Performing Arts Center.

A dedication ceremony and reception is set for 1 to 4 p.m. this Sunday, June 23, at Poly High School to honor Osman’s retirement.

For more information on the Poly High music program, go to or call 562-591-0581.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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