The Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra (KJSO), the flagship ensemble and namesake of the organization, is led by Andrew Koehler, who also serves as a professor of music at Kalamazoo College and is the music director of the acclaimed Kalamazoo Philharmonia. In addition to the KJSO’s three annual performances of professional-level repertoire in historic Chenery Auditorium, the KJSO also tours internationally, and offers a dynamic chamber music training program for select KJSO members who are coached by area professional musicians.
Preparation for younger string players hoping to one day join the Junior Symphony is provided by the three tiers of the Prep String Orchestras (PSOs). The Training Orchestra provides the youngest string players an opportunity to reinforce basic skills; those students can then go on to the Concert String Orchestra, and eventually the Symphonic String Orchestra, where the emphasis shifts to building technical and orchestral playing proficiencies. A distinguished KJSO alumna and noted pedagogue, Audrey Lipsey, is the director of all three ensembles. The Prep Winds Ensemble (PW) was established in 2015 to provide parallel training for younger woodwind and brass players. The PW is directed by respected performing and teaching artists Jesse Williams and Luke Conklin.
Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestras (KJSOs) is financed entirely by individual and business patrons, state and local grants, ticket sales, and special fund raising events. All KJSOs programs are tuition free so that every student, regardless of means, can participate. KJSOs alumni go on to academic and career success at astonishing rates, and some can even be found in major American and international orchestras, devoting their lives to the power of sharing music.
Read about KJSO’s History & Accomplishments.
Through the power of music, we instill excellence in youth and enrich our community.