About the Orchestra

The mission of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra is to engage, educate, and enrich the community through music.

The Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra is a non-profit orchestra for the community which consists of community professionals, students, and dedicated amateur musicians.

The KSO started informally in 1976 and began performing concerts in the fall of 1977. It now rehearses once a week and programs at least five public concerts per year. A board of directors composed of citizens from the community, the music director, the general manager, and other appointed officials, establishes the orchestra’s plans and policies, all in service of the KSO's mission "to engage, educate, and enrich the community through music."

The KSO is a longtime member of the Illinois Council of Orchestras (ICO) and has been the recipient of multiple awards for excellence from the ICO.


Our History

From 1980 through 2002, the orchestra’s rehearsals, concerts, and development were directed by the first official conductor of the KSO, Arthur D. Montzka. Art Montzka's experience teaching instrumental music from the elementary-school though college levels, performing as a violinist and organist, conducting other orchestras, and his administrative experience with several musical organizations made him the right choice to take the KSO from a small, informal group of local musicians to a true "orchestra for the community."

Since 2003, Linc Smelser has been the orchestra’s conductor and music director. He brings to the orchestra his experience conducting other community orchestras and youth and college orchestras and his relevant experience performing in the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and many other orchestral and chamber ensembles as well as a rich and varied solo performing career. During his tenure, the KSO has increased in size, talent, and community impact. The KSO's recent history includes concerts featuring premier soloists, a significant educational outreach program, and annual scholarships awarded to local music students.