top of page
  • southkansassymphony

Symphony names new conductor, incorporates as non-profit

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

South Kansas Symphony, Inc. (SKS) has named a new conductor and is operating under a new management format leading into the Fall 2023-Spring 2024 concert season.


The symphony has operated under the umbrella of Southwestern College’s Performing Arts Department since the 1990s. Following the elimination of the performing arts degree programs among other departmental cuts in Fall 2022, the South Kansas Symphony Advisory Board elected to move forward in the process of incorporating as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit entity and is now operating independently from the college. The symphony’s advisory board transitioned to a nine-member working board of directors serving as the ensemble’s governing body. Five board members are current symphony musicians; four members are community members not currently performing with the symphony.

Southwestern College has been accommodating to the recent switch in operations and is allowing for the symphony’s continued use of Richardson Performing Arts Center, alternate performance/rehearsal facilities, the music library, rented instruments, stage equipment, and student/staff support.

Winfield’s Legacy Regional Community Foundation is handling all financial needs of the symphony, including incoming donations, contract salaries, income/expenses, and additional needs.

New conductor

Headshot of Dr. Michael Christensen
Dr. Michael Christensen

The symphony is excited to announce Dr. Michael Christensen as its new conductor. Dr. Christensen is joining the ensemble following the departure of Dr. Amber Peterson, who served nine years as the college’s Associate Professor of Music and Kilmer Endowed Chair of Strings Education prior to the departmental cuts. Dr. Christensen, Director of Instrumental Music at Cowley County Community College, is contracted solely through SKS, Inc. and will not take on teaching responsibilities at Southwestern College.

Prior to coming to the Cowley County area in 2019, Dr. Christensen held faculty appointments at Coffeyville Community College and The University of Texas at Brownsville. Dr. Christensen received his education at The University of Oklahoma and Texas Tech University, earning his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in 2015. He currently resides in Arkansas City. When he is not teaching or directing ensembles, he is often hiking nearby nature trails or spending time with friends in Winfield.

A public meet & greet will be held on Sunday, August 13 from 2pm to 4pm at College Hill Coffee. Symphony supporters, donors, musicians, and the general public are invited to join the SKS board at the come & go reception to get to know Dr. Christensen ahead of the upcoming concert season.

2023-24 Season

The symphony’s upcoming season will kick off with its first concert on Sunday, October 15 at 6:00pm in Richardson Performing Arts Center (RPAC). Additional regular season concerts will take place on December 3, March 3, and April 28, all at 3:00pm in RPAC. Follow the South Kansas Symphony Facebook page to stay up to date on upcoming performances, opportunities to support the symphony, and more.

About South Kansas Symphony, Inc.

South Kansas Symphony, Inc. is a not-for-profit symphony orchestra located in Winfield, KS. The symphony performs four regular season concerts each year in Richardson Performing Arts Center at Southwestern College. Governed by a nine-member volunteer board along with a conductor, the symphony invites local amateur and semi-professional musicians to take part in providing low-cost, live music opportunities for Winfield and the South Central Kansas region.

18 views0 comments


bottom of page