History of the KSO
Origins of the KSO
Arthur D. Montzka (1933-2002)
First Official Conductor of the KSO
From 1980 through 2002, the orchestra’s rehearsals, concerts, and development were directed by the KSO's first official conductor, Arthur D. Montzka. Art Montzka earned music degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Eastman School of Music, and he brought his experience teaching instrumental music from the elementary-school though college levels, his experience performing as a violinist and organist, his experience conducting other orchestras, and his administrative experience with several musical organizations.
Art Montzka previously was the conductor of the Livingston Community Symphony in New Jersey and the Rockford Area Youth Symphony in addition to directing orchestras in the DeKalb School District. He had performed as a violinist with the Seventh Army Symphony, the Livingston Community Symphony (NJ), the Fine Arts Orchestra (NJ), the Baroque Performance Institute (OH), The Pro Art Orchestra of Oberlin (OH), the Rockford Symphony Orchestra (IL), the Rockford Chamber Orchestra (IL), and the DeKalb Arts Quartet (IL), and he was the organist at the Federated Church in Sycamore. He had held administrative positions with the New Jersey School Music Association, the All New Jersey Orchestra, the New Jersey All State Orchestra, the New Jersey American String Teachers Association, the Oberlin Chapter of the Music Educators National Conference, the Illinois American String Teachers Association, and the Illinois Music Educators Association. Art Montzka was also a board member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the official photographer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and was honored as the Suzuki Chairholder and received the Distinguished Service Award in 1994.
Art Montzka was instrumental in creating the KSO Young Artists Concerto Competition. After his sudden death in 2002, the competition was renamed in his honor.