Christopher Kelts is the new Director of Orchestral Studies & Assistant Professor of Music Missouri State University and is the Music Director and co-founder of the Kinnor Philharmonic Orchestra. A native of St. Louis, Dr. Kelts has had many opportunities to perform in his home city. He has been the recipient of the “Arts for Life” Award for his musical direction in local theatre, served as guest conductor for the St. Louis Suburban Honors Orchestra and clinician to to many St. Louis School Districts. Kelts has also served as a guest clinician for the Hickman Mills Honors Orchestra (Kansas City) in addition to giving 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 have included: assistant conductor of the Kansas City Ballet, Chamber Orchestra of the Ozarks, Topeka Symphony Orchestra and the Urban Cultural Project (Kansas City).
Dr. Kelts completed his advanced 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 maintained the position as Opera conductor of many of the Conservatory’s opera productions. Dr. 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. Chris has worked with stage directors, Linda Ade Brand, Marciem Bazell and Richard Gammon.
Not limited to his studies in orchestral conducting, Dr. Kelts formally trained as a violist where he studied at Missouri State University and Illinois State University. Dr. 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. Chris Kelts continues to perform in various chamber and orchestral ensembles. For over ten years, Chris had served on the summer faculty for Missouri State University’s String Institute (String Fling) and is faculty/conductor for The Heartland Summer Chamber Music Festival. Christopher Kelts is a member of the Conductor’s Guild and College Orchestra Director’s Association.