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Biography
Now in his third year as music director/conductor with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, Christopher Kelts is preparing to embark on the orchestra’s 52nd season.

Through his programming selections, Kelts has expanded the audience base for the KC Civic Orchestra. He has also expanded the concert season feature one extra “classical” series concert to an “Encore” holiday concert and educational outreach. The Civic Orchestra, under the baton of Christopher Kelts, invites soloists from all over the United States: from local talent such as guitarist Doug Neidt to internationally acclaimed violinist Mark O’Connor.

In addition to Kansas City Civic Orchestra, Mr. Kelts has been appointed Director of Orchestras at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Chris is also co-artistic director and conductor for the Springfield (MO) based The Opus 6 Project: a chamber group of musicians devoted to baroque performance practice and the Op. 6 works of Corelli and Handel.

A native of St. Louis, Mr. Kelts has had many opportunities to perform in his home city. He has been the recipient of the Arts for Life for his musical direction in local theatre, served as guest conductor for the St. Louis Suburban Honors Orchestra, Hickman Mills Honors Orchestra and has given many clinics to local and state wide middle and high schools. He has also served as an adjudicator for the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA).

Other conducting engagements include: assistant conductor of the Kansas City Ballet, Chamber Orchestra of the Ozarks and the Urban Cultural Project (Kansas City).

Mr. Kelts completed his formal conducting training at Illinois State University and University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. His teachers have included Glenn Block, Robert Olson and Paul Vermel. While in his studies at UMKC Conservatory, Chris served as the assistant conductor for the Conservatory Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. He also served as Opera conductor of many of the Conservatory’s opera productions. Mr. Kelts has conducted stage productions as: Le nozze di Figaro, Il Ritorno di Ulisses in Patria, Susannah, Pirates of Penzance, Hansel und Gretel, Guilio Cesare, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi and recently premiered Tonatzin.

Not limited to his studies in orchestral conducting, Mr. Kelts formally trained as a violist where he studied at Missouri State University and Illinois State University. Mr. Kelts has ample symphonic experience as a violist. Recent positions have included; Springfield (MO) Symphony Orchestra, Peoria Symphony, Opera of Illinois Orchestra and the Fort Smith Symphony Orchestra. His teachers have included Amy Muchnick, Kate Hamilton and Karen Tuttle.

For over nine years, Mr. Kelts has served on the summer faculty for Missouri State University’s String Institute (String Fling) and recently is conductor for Stringendo/Heartland’s Summer Chamber Music festival. Christopher Kelts is also a member of the Conductor’s Guild.
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