2019 Carol Chatelain Young Artist Competition Winner

Meet Allen Zhang, the winner of our 2019 Carol Chatelain Young Artist Competition. At the age of 6, Allen began suzuki listening training at his elementary school in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. In 2013, at the age of 11, he began studying with Simon Gollo, current Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at New Mexico State University.

In 2014, Allen moved to Manhattan, Kansas with his family. In the same year, he joined the Gold Orchestra directed by Dr. David Littrell, University Distinguished Professor of Music at Kansas State University. Allen participated in the 2015 Midwest Music Camp at the University of Kansas, in which he won the Outstanding Overall String Musician Award and a full scholarship for the subsequent year. He attended the 2016 Nuevo Mundo Festival & Academy in Oranjestad, Aruba, studying under internationally acclaimed musicians Dmitri Berlinsky and Richard Young. Allen was chosen as the state representative at the West Central Division for the 2017 MTNA Junior Strings Competition and the 2018 and 2019 MTNA Senior Strings Competitions. Allen was a finalist in the 2017 Kansas City Symphony Young Artist Competition and was the winner of the 2017 Midwest Chamber Ensemble Youth Concerto Competition, performing the third movement of the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor. In the summer of 2017, he studied under James Buswell at the 2017 Vianden International Music Festival and School through a grant from the Koch Cultural Trust. He was also selected to the 2017 Esterhazy String Quartet Seminar under full tuition scholarship. Allen was also awarded third place in the 2017 International ENKOR Competition. Allen was selected as the concertmaster for the 2018 Kansas All-State Orchestra. After receiving Overall Winner and Strings Division Winner of the Topeka Young Artist Competition, Allen performed the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor with the Topeka Symphony Orchestra. He also performed with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra while attending the 2018 Brian Lewis Young Artists Program, studying under Brian Lewis, Sean Riley, and Simon James. Selected as principal second for Carnegie Hall’s 2018 NYO2 orchestra, Allen studied with accomplished orchestral violinists Alex Kerr and Amy Oshiro-Morales as well as conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto.

Allen currently studies with David Colwell, Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Kansas, and Ben Sayevich at Park International Center for Music.

Allen will be performing with KCCO at our Celebrating 60 Years! concert at Helzberg Hall on May 4th.


Musician Spotlight – Michael Tolbert

Michael Tolbert graduated with a Master’s degree in clarinet performance from Western Michigan University and plays clarinet all around Kansas City. For the last seven seasons he has served as principal clarinet of Kinnor Philharmonic, KC’s own Jewish orchestra, and since 2014 he has played with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. He can also be heard in chamber music settings with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble and when he organizes and performs in chamber concerts benefiting AIDS Walk Kansas City. As a drag performer, Michael played solo jazz clarinet as emcee for The Girlie Show (2011-2014) and while competing in national drag pageantry, winning the talent category at Miss Gay America 2011 and, most recently, Miss Gay Nebraska United States 2019.

Michael is thrilled to be involved with KCCO for another season and to be spotlighted this quarter. He hopes that the synergy created by the orchestra, its board, its conductor, and its generous audience will compel Kansas City’s classical music community to continue supporting KCCO for another exciting finale concert at Helzberg Hall in May.

Final Concert of 2018-2019: Celebrating 60 Years!

The Kansas City Civic Orchestra is excited to return to Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for our final concert of this, our 60th consecutive season of offering quality orchestral concerts to the Kansas City metro area. In addition to fantastic performances by our talented musicians, the concert will also feature the winner of our Carol Chatelain Young Artist Competition.

Please note that tickets will be required for this performance. Adult tickets are available for $20.00 (fees included). Students 21 and younger may reserve tickets for free by calling the Kauffman Center (816.994.7222) and using code KCCOStudent.



Celebrating 60 Years!
Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.
Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (directions and parking info)

— Program —

Festive Overture in A major, Op. 96 – D. Shostakovich

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47 – J. Sibelius
    Allen Zhang, Carol Chatelain Young Artist Competition Winner

Symphony No. 1, in C minor, Op. 68 – J. Brahms
Un poco sostenuto – Allegro
  Andante sostenuto
  Un poco allegretto e grazioso
  Adagio – Piu andante – Allegro non troppo, ma con bio


KCCO would like to thank Frank and Jeanne Chatelain Townsend and The Clinton Family Fund for helping make this performance possible.

2019 Carol Chatelain Young Artist Competition

KCCO is excited to announce our 2019
Carol Chatelain Young Artist Competition!

KCCO’s sixth annual competition for young artists has been renamed in honor of our dear friend, the late Carol Chatelain. The Carol Chatelain Young Artist Competition gives KCCO the opportunity to engage with and support young musicians in the Kansas City area. The winner of this year’s competition winner will have the opportunity to perform with the orchestra at a world-class venue – Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts! The winner will also receive a cash prize of $500. This year’s auditions will take place on Sunday, March 2nd. We invite all musicians aged 13 to 19 to participate!

Bethlehem Kelly, 2018 Competition Winner

How to Enter

  • Please read the competition rules below
  • Download the application form
  • Obtain a recommendation from a music instructor
  • Mail the form and $25 application fee to: Kansas City Civic Orchestra, P.O. Box 224, Shawnee Mission, KS 66201

Applications must be received by February 23, 2019.

  1. Competition audition date is: Sunday, March 3, 2019 at Atonement Lutheran Church between 3:00pm and 6:00pm (time will be assigned).
  2. The concerto competition is for ages 11-19.
  3. Perform a solo orchestral work that is no less than 9 minutes and no greater than 20 minutes in length, from memory (can be a movement from a standard concerto or a multi-movement work).
  4. Audition time slots will be up to 15-minute intervals (accompanist cuts are encouraged for the audition).
  5. The competition is open to all instrumentalists (except piano, saxophone, and percussion).
  6. First place winner will receive a performance with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra on Saturday, May 4, 2019, 3:00pm at Helzberg Hall (Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts) and a prize of $500.00.
  7. Second place may receive acknowledgement at our May 4, 2019 performance.
  8. Kansas City Civic Orchestra reserves the right to have both first and second place winners perform at the May 4 concert.
  9. Winner(s) must be available for rehearsals on:  April 23 and April 30 (between 7:30pm-9:30pm) and Saturday, May 4 at Helzberg Hall (between Noon-2pm.) Specific times within these rehearsals will be assigned at a later date.
  10. All room/board/transportation is at the expense of the competition participant.
  11. The $25.00 application fee is non-refundable.
  12. Audition date/time/place is non-negotiable.
  13. An audition time will be emailed to participant within one week of the application deadline.
  14. Competition participants must supply their respective instrument at audition/performance.
  15. Competition participants must supply their own accompanist at audition.
  16. Judges may come from within or may be guests of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra.
  17. Winner selection will be announced and emailed at the end of the audition day.
  18. Judges’ decision is final.
  19. The Kansas City Civic Orchestra can decide not to award winners/prizes.
  20. Failure to abide by these guidelines and rules may result in participant’s disqualification.

Feel free to contact our music director with any additional questions.

A Fond Farewell to 2018

We hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season with plenty of friends, family, and delicious food! KCCO closed out this year with two fantastic “Sounds of the Season” performances – the Friday night concert was preceded by our annual Silent Auction Fundraiser, which included some great items, and on Saturday our special guest conductor for Sleigh Ride was KMBC Chief Meteorologist and KCCO tympanist Bryan Busby.

Fabulous concerts aren’t all that we’ve been up to during the first part of our 60th season – our outreach committee has been busy sharing their love of music with the community. Our coordinators have performed 66 sessions at 15 locations for just over 2,300 students, inspired approximately 130 aspiring musicians at our fifth annual Instrument Petting Zoo, and performed 72 sessions for seniors since September!

KCCO would like to thank you, our listeners and supporters, for making these concerts and outreach events possible. We are especially grateful to those of you who contributed toward our recent campaign for $5,000 in matching funds – we reached our goal and received an additional $10,000! These funds help us cover the costs associated with the concerts and outreach programs that we offer to the community at no cost.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at our March concert, “Legend, Lyricism, and Ludwig”, and our May performance at Helzberg Hall. Until then, we wish you a very happy new year!