Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra

Our outstanding youth symphony provides an orchestral experience of the highest quality for talented young musicians in Southwest Michigan. Players are drawn from the Kalamazoo metropolitan area and surrounding communities in nine counties. Orchestra members do not pay tuition, but are assessed a minimal registration fee and a modest annual  fundraising expectation per family, which can be met in several different ways.  The orchestra is financed by individual and business contributions, state and local grants, and fundraising events.

Membership is open by audition to young musicians through (and including) college age, with the average age being 16. The orchestra’s season begins in early September with a two day “Tune-up” Camp. For the following eight months, the 70-80 member orchestra rehearses once a week for three hours on Sunday afternoon.

Three concerts are presented in Kalamazoo each year. Typically, at the orchestra’s winter concert, the featured soloist is the bronze medal winner of the Julius Stulberg International String Competition, a competition for young string players established as a memorial to the conductor who led and inspired young musicians for over 30 years.

KJSO Chamber Ensembles

The Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Ensemble Program usually includes a woodwind quintet, a brass quintet, and two string quartets. The players in these ensembles are invited to the program by the Music Director; they represent among the most advanced musicians in the KJSO, and act as ambassadors for the orchestra to the larger community.

Ensemble playing develops advanced musical technique and interpretation, promotes active listening skills, and allows for sensitive and flexible playing as individual members of a small group. The skills developed in the ensemble strengthen members’ leadership in the full orchestra.

The KJSO ensembles are coached by prominent local teaching artists, including members of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. Each ensemble gives educational presentations at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo, outreach performances at area senior residences and other community events, and plays in prelude performances in the KJSO concert series.

Audition Requirements


Our alumni perform with:

  • Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Houston Symphony Orchestra
  • Seattle Symphony orchestra
  • Austin Symphony Orchestra
  • Fargo Symphony Orchestra
  • Kansas City Symphony Orchestra
  • San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Portland Symphony Orchestra
  • Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra
  • Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Liege Philharmonic Orchestra, Liege, Belgium
  • Fry Street Quartet, Utah State University
  • Seraph Brass, Louisiana State University
  • Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
  • Southwest MI Symphony Orchestra
  • Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra