About KSO | Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
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About KSO

Our Mission: To serve our community through outstanding musical listening and learning experiences

Our Vision: Symphonic music is a part of everyday life throughout our community

Our Values:

Musical excellence & outstanding musicians
Unique artistic collaborations
Sustainability through organizational excellence
Innovative symphonic music and learning experiences
Continually expanding a diverse audience

Our History:

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra's history begins with its founder, Mrs. Leta G. Snow, local civic leader and future founder of the national League of American Orchestras

Mrs. Leta Snow

Mrs. Snow felt that a local symphony orchestra was essential for developing a community with an attractive quality of life. 

The KSO’s first concert, featuring an all-volunteer orchestra, was on December 21, 1921 at the Masonic Temple under conductor Chester Z. Bronson. Now, 100 years later, the KSO is achieving artistic and institutional growth and excitement with more than 80 professional musicians under the leadership of Music Director Julian Kuerti (appointed in 2018). What began as one woman’s dream a century ago has become, through the unwavering support of the Kalamazoo community, an integral part of the region’s cultural life.

Today, the KSO makes symphonic music a part of everyday life, sharing lifelong musical experiences and learning throughout our community. We are on the stage—and online—actively collaborating with other Kalamazoo area organizations to inspire, care for, educate, and connect people through the arts.

Now Available! KSO Commemorative 100th Anniversary Book

KSO Commemorative 100th Anniversary BookAs we celebrate KSO’s auspicious 100th Anniversary, we are thrilled to give you this beautifully crafted story of our orchestra, 100 Years of Great Music: Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra by Zaide Pixley and Jane Rooks Ross.

Drawing on the voices of musicians, conductors, community leaders, patrons, and staff, and enhancing the narrative with pictures and references to repertoire, 100 Years of Great Music tells the KSO’s compelling story of people determined to have great orchestra music and musicians in Kalamazoo. In every decade, local leaders and supporters met the challenges and maximized the opportunities of their time to make this remarkable orchestra a vital part of our community.

100 Years of Great Music: Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra has two parts.

· Part I: “Great Ensemble” (1921-1996), written for KSO’s 75th Anniversary by Zaide Pixley (pp. 1-93).

· Part II: “Great Music” (1997-2021), written by Jane Rooks Ross and Zaide Pixley, completes the 100-year history (pp. 94-194).

Now, as we celebrate the KSO’s centennial, we are on stage, and in the community, and actively collaborating with other Kalamazoo area organizations to inspire, educate, and connect our residents through the joy of sharing live orchestral music.

View online version of KSO 100th Anniversary Book