The Northland Symphony is a group of professional, student and community musicians that offers free, high-quality performances to the Greater Kansas City area for over 50 years.

Our Mission

Our organization includes a professional/student/community symphony orchestra that perform five concerts per season, as well as two youth ensembles - The Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and Metropolitan Youth Sinfonia - that perform three concerts per season. We play a wide variety of quality classic symphonic literature for every music-lover. Our concerts are informal, family friendly and always without charge.


We've always prided ourselves for providing quality musical performances without charge to those who otherwise might not have the opportunity or resources to enjoy the works of great composers.


We provide student and community musicians with the opportunity to maintain their skills and broaden their musical horizons by performing quality orchestral music with seasoned musicians.


We’re committed to providing performance opportunities for young choral and instrumental musicians, instilling an appreciation of the arts’ importance within our diverse community.


Our History

The Northland Symphony Orchestra was established in 1967 by a small group of local musicians to provide a quality opportunity for student and community musicians. We now have a waiting list for musicians, have added two youth ensembles and play with hundreds of Northland students as we celebrate over half of century of providing free, high-quality concerts to the Northland and Greater Kansas City community.


Upcoming Events

Our concerts are presented without charge, are informal and family friendly. Our fundraisers and gifts help us maintain the funds necessary to make sure our concerts remain ACCESSIBLE to everyone.


James Murray III

Conductor / Music Director

The 2019-2020 season will mark Maestro Murray’s 23rd season as Music Director and Conductor of the Northland Symphony Orchestra.  With Jim’s leadership, the dedication of the orchestra members and the hard work of the Board of Directors, the Northland Symphony Orchestra has become one to the most respected community orchestras in the area.  The ensemble has developed a reputation for the consistent quality of their performances combined with innovative and unique programs.  According to the Kansas City Star, Maestro Murray’s programming “betrays an inventive sense of fun”.  In addition to featuring the music of standard composers, Jim has also included the music of Alwyn, Bantock, Bloch, Butterworth, Corigliano, Cowell, Cutcliffe, Fine, Finzi, Hovhaness, Ives, Khachaturian, Mobberley, Moncayo and Turina, among others.

Recently featured as a Mover, Shaker and Stalwart by KCMetropolis.org, Maestro Murray is also the Music Director & Conductor of the Heritage Philharmonic (formerly the Independence Symphony) as well as the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Kansas City, an ensemble that he helped to found.  He is also in frequent demand as a guest conductor and clinician with many area ensembles.

Jim had just began studying conducting, when, as a member of the Rome Festival Orchestra, he stepped in to lead a rehearsal for the conductor who was delayed.  When the conductor arrived, he allowed Jim to finish that rehearsal and then invited him to conduct two pieces, Copland’s Quiet City and Gounod’s Petite Symphonie, on a concert the following week.  Jim’s formal training includes a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance from William Jewell College, where he studied with Dr. Phillip C. Posey and a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Denver, where he studied with Dr. Horst Buchholz.

Jim’s passion for music is equaled by his passion for teaching.  Off the podium, he is the Music Coordinator and Instructor of Music at Metropolitan Community College—Maple Woods.  In 2009 Jim was one of eighteen educators to receive the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Outside the classroom and concert hall, Jim and his wife, soprano soloist and choral conductor, Nicole Murray, pursue the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world.  At the start of this orchestral season, Jim and Nicole have ridden more than 400 different roller coasters.  They both continue to rate Millennium Force at Cedar Point as their favorite coaster.


Thank You Sponsors!

The Northland Symphony is especially grateful to all of our donors and sponsors of this year's 53rd Season Giving Campaign. The people and companies below are what make the Northland Symphony's mission possible each year. Please show your gratitude by patronizing them when possible.

Foundation Support 

Martha Lee Cain Tranby Foundation
Muriel Kauffman Foundation
Missouri Arts Council
Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund

Corporate Support

KC Strings
McConnell & Associates
Streamline Print & Design
The Royal Room at Briarcliff

Friends of NSO

Shon and Stacy Adamson
In honor of Brenda Allen
Larry and Hazel Anders
Edie Ballweg
Paige Buckmaster
Rachel Cerra
Richard and Rozella Decker
Mary Duren
Jean Dwyer
Michael and Amy Fitzgerald
Suzann Geringer
Phil and Jeanne Goodin
Scott and Stacey Green
Douglas Harlan
Richard and Lucia Huonker
Mary Kuehn

Friends of NSO

John and Gwen Marshall
Cassie Meschke
In memory of Marilyn Murray
James and Kristin Niederberger
Rudy and Patricia Papenfuhs
Amy and Jeff Peak
Karen Rankin
Peggy and Corey Reil
Raymond Rowe
Maribeth Samenus
Kathryn Schaefer
Melissa Stan
John Stower
Darrel and Linda Thomssen
In honor of Julia Wharton
Loren and Dixie Youngers


Board of Directors

The Northland Symphony Orchestra board of directors provide leadership, management, direction and guidance for the orchestra.

Paige Buckmaster, President
Melissa Stan, Vice-President
David Wiseman, Treasurer
Luce-Virlynn Apollon, Secretary

John Koster
Cecelia Peak
Parker Stanley
Karianne Waterland
Jim Murray

Support Staff

The staff works tirelessly for the betterment of all of our ensembles and the proliferation of arts in the Northland.

Karianne Waterland, Exectuive Director - MYO/MYS
Courtney Ryan, Orchestra Manager - MYO
Andrew Waterland, Orchestra Manager - MYO/MYS
Alyssa Gorman, Orchestra Manager - MYS
Ashley Koster, Orchestra Administrator - NSO


Get in Touch!


Our Info

Please feel free to contact us regarding questions, playing inquiries, private events, fundraising opportunities, or anything else! We’re able to respond fastest if you fill out the form.

P:  816.945.2436
E:  info@northlandsymphony.org

Northland Symphony Orchestra
P.O. Box 11084
Kansas City, MO 64119

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