Artistic Staff

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Andrew Koehler
Music Director and Conductor, Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Koehler is currently the music director of the Kalamazoo Philharmonia, which he leads as part of his position as an associate professor of music at Kalamazoo College. His innovative and thoughtful programming there was honored with the 2014 American Prize Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming. He also holds concurrent posts as music director of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra, and as the cover conductor of the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, frequently leading the group in rehearsal and in concert. More recently, he organized and conducted concerts with the Arcato Chamber Ensemble, made up of musicians from the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids Symphonies. The group’s premiere performance was hailed as “…exceptional under his baton” by the Kalamazoo Gazette.

He is active as a guest conductor at home and throughout the world. In recent seasons, he has appeared with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Orchestra; the Lyatoshynsky Chamber Orchestra in Kyiv, Ukraine; the Ruse Philharmonic in Bulgaria; the St. Cloud Symphony in Minnesota; the Festival South Chamber Orchestra in Mississippi; and, with only a weekend’s notice, the American Opera Group Orchestra in Chicago. He has additionally led ensembles under the auspices of the Aspen Music Festival, the 2006 Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition (where he advanced to the final round and won the audience favorite prize), and the 9th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Conductor’s Competition in Katowice, Poland (where he won First Distinction and the Youth Jury Prize). Always eager to work with young musicians, he has also led the Vermont All-State Youth Orchestra and was previously music director of the Chamber Orchestra of the University of Chicago as well as the Akademisches Sinfonie-Orchester of Vienna, Austria.

Born in Philadelphia to Ukrainian parents, Andrew began his musical studies on the violin at the age of five. He is a graduate of Yale College, where he completed a B.A. in Music and German Studies (graduating with honors and distinction in both majors). During his time there, he served as assistant conductor of the Yale Symphony Orchestra and won the Seldin Memorial Prize in Music. He holds a certificate in conducting from the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, where he studied for two years as a Fulbright scholar, as well as a Masters degree from Northwestern University. His principal teachers have been Victor Yampolsky and Leopold Hager; he has additionally worked with David Zinman, Jorma Panula, Neeme Järvi, and Mariss Jansons, among others.

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Audrey Lipsey
Conductor, Prep and Training String Orchestras

Audrey Lipsey has been teaching violin for 39 years and has been the Executive Director of Crescendo since 2000. She was Associate Concertmaster for the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Audrey performs widely in the community with the following groups: Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (Assistant Concertmaster), Opus IV String Quartet and the Renaissance String Quartet.

She taught in early childhood settings for 18 years after teaching strings in the public schools for eight years. For her significant contributions to music education, Ms. Lipsey was awarded the Community Medal of Arts from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo in 2002; the Mary McLeod Bethune Communication, Arts, & Letters Award from the Kalamazoo Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 2003; and the Prism Award for Excellence in Music Education from the Kalamazoo Alumni Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota Professional Women’s Music Fraternity, Inc. in 2006. In 2012 she was presented with a Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA of Kalamazoo for her years of dedication to the education of area youngsters.She holds a B.A. from Western Michigan University and undertook graduate work at the University of Michigan; she also holds a Child Development Associate Certification.

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Noah Krzan
Assistant Conductor, Prep and Training String Orchestras

Native Michigander Noah Krzan is on the faculty of the Crescendo Academy of Music, teaching string bass. While completing dual degrees at WMU, he was a member of several orchestras and ensembles. He has been a member of the Kalamazoo Symphony since the age of 19. He is also a math instructor for Kalamazoo Public Schools.

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AnnMarie Welton
Conductor, Prep Winds

AnnMarie Welton has been teaching music for more than 15 years in the Kalamazoo area, most recently as Director of Bands and Choirs at Albion Public Schools.  Serving her 31st season as Second Bassoonist in the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, AnnMarie also performs on the Tuba in the Kalamazoo Concert Band, Clarinet in the Marshall Community Band and the Kalamazoo College Band, and Viola in the Kalamazoo Philharmonia.

Mrs. Welton was born and raised here in Michigan, the youngest of three musical children who were born to parents who were music teachers and performers as well.   Her education includes an Associate of Arts degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College in 2008 where she became a member of Phi Theta Kappa graduating with honors.  In addition, Mrs. Welton received her Bachelor of Music Education degree in 2011 from Western Michigan University with membership in Sigma Alpha Iota, professional music fraternity for women.

In the late summer and through the fall, AnnMarie can be found on the football field working as marching band staff.  Her unique skill set allows her to be both a brass and a woodwinds coach.  Mrs. Welton has also created and taught color guard routines which were used for public performance.

AnnMarie continues her education as she pursues a master’s degree in Music Education Philosophy.  She is also a member of The American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA) and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).