Artistic Staff

Steven D. Davis
Symphony Orchestra Conductor

Conductor Steven D. Davis is a lauded, versatile, and cosmopolitan conductor who has inspired ensembles around the world. In constant demand as a guest conductor, he has conducted across four continents, working with ensembles in cities such as Bangkok, Beijing, Lisbon, Sydney, and regularly conducts in his favorite city, Kansas City.

Davis has worked to break down barriers as a conductor by leading performances across many genres. He has been celebrated as a conductor of wind ensembles, orchestras, opera, ballet, and cutting edge new music ensembles. In addition to conducting symphonic repertoire of historically significant composers, such as Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg and Stravinsky, Davis is fervently committed to performing new repertoire. This commitment has been praised by prominent contemporary composers including Chen Yi,  John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Osvaldo Golijov, Stephen Hartke, David Lang, James Mobberley, Narong Prangcharoen, Bernard Rands, Paul Rudy, Steven Stucky, Frank Ticheli and Zhou Long.

Davis currently serves as professor of conducting, and conductor of the Conservatory Wind Symphony at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory. As conductor of the UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony, he has initiated countless collaborations with other artists and genres, including dance, theater, visual art, and film. Numerous world premieres have been dedicated to the ensemble during his tenure as artistic director.

Davis is a proud advocate for artistic music education and has been a guest lecturer, conductor, and clinician at numerous music and music education conferences across the world.  Most notably, he has performed at five Midwest Clinics in Chicago, and has led a myriad of All-State ensembles across the United States. His most recent guest conducting and teaching engagements include the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Beijing Modern Music Festival, and the Texas All-State Symphonic Band.  Davis also serves on the Orchestra and Wind Ensemble conducting faculty of the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp.

Davis is now in his sixteenth season as the conductor of the Youth Symphony of Kansas City’s Symphony Orchestra. Under his direction, the Symphony Orchestra has performed at the Kansas and Missouri Music Educators Conferences, the Midwest Clinic and on its 2016 Ireland Tour. Davis is also the resident conductor of newEar, Kansas City’s premier new music ensemble. Annually, he hosts the Kansas City Conducting Symposium, one of the largest conducting symposiums in the country.  He has received many awards and honorary memberships in professional organizations.


Raffaele Cipriano
Repertory Orchestra Conductor
Raffaele Cipriano is an esteemed Italian conductor, opera coach, and composer, excited to work with the Youth Symphony of Kansas City and guide young musicians in learning masterpieces of symphonic literature.

Trained at the prestigious Conservatories of Padua and Venice, he excels in orchestral conducting, collaborative piano, opera repertoire, and composition. In 2015, he pursued a doctorate in orchestral conducting at KU, mentored by Maestro David Neely, graduating with honors in 2018. Cipriano has garnered acclaim through collaborations with esteemed organizations like Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence Opera Theater, and Landlocked Opera. He served as assistant/cover conductor at Sarasota Opera and currently holds the position of assistant conductor for the Topeka Symphony Orchestra. He has recently joined the Music faculty at Washburn University as a lecturer and Director of Orchestra.

Notable achievements include music direction for Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, and Carmen for Lawrence Opera Theater, conducting A Chorus Line in Topeka, and guest conducting the Springfield Symphony. Based in Kansas City, Cipriano is the music director and conductor of the Overland Park Orchestra and serves as music director at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Shawnee.
Michelle DavisMichelle Davis
Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor

Michelle Davis has been a string orchestra educator for 30 years in Illinois, Michigan and Missouri. She has taught strings/orchestra at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Currently, she is the conductor of the Liberty High School Orchestras in Liberty, Missouri. In addition, she teaches private lessons to aspiring violin and viola students. Previously, she taught beginning strings and junior high orchestra in Oak Park, Illinois, and middle school orchestra in Farmington Hills, Michigan. She just finished a two-year tenure as Orchestra Vice President of the Missouri Music Educators’ Association.

Michelle has been a guest conductor in school districts across the state, and has presented clinics at state and national conferences, including The Michigan Music Educators’ Conference and The American String Teachers’ National Conference. In 2008, she was Liberty Public School District’s “Teacher of the Year.” Michelle is a graduate of The University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in viola performance and a master’s degree in music education. She is a member of The Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and American String Teachers’ Association (ASTA). She lives with her husband, Steve Davis, and her two goldendoodles, Maddy and Henry.


Amanda Kremer
Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor

Amanda Kremer is originally from Springfield, Mo. She graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. Amanda played horn with the Minnesota Symphonic Winds and completed her master’s degree in educational leadership from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Ms. Kremer conducted with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony for three years, and prior to that was a GTCYS sectional coach for several years. She also has 12 years of classroom teaching experience. Amanda and her husband Nate moved to Overland Park, Kan. in 2015 and are enjoying life with their three daughters.


Anna Cook
Debut Orchestra Conductor

Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, Anna Cook is a music educator and cellist in the Kansas City area. She holds cello performance and music education degrees from Bethel College and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Fort Hays State University. Anna began her teaching career in Wilson, Kansas, and is currently the orchestra director at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, KS, where she has been since 2015.

Anna is married to her husband Ryan and enjoys photography, traveling, and playing with her twin toddlers, Andy and Hal.


Matthew Pavon
YSKC Workshop Conductor

 Matthew Pavon is a recent Missouri State University graduate with a Master’s in Music. He is active inSpringfield, MO, and the Northwest Arkansas region as a professional violist and conductor. 

Matthew has served as the assistant conductor for the Missouri State University Orchestra and as the director of the Student Repertory Ensemble. He is also the founder and Music Director of the Galloway Chamber Orchestra in Springfield, Missouri. Other musical engagements include guest conducting for the Missouri Philharmonic Orchestra, Drury University Orchestra, and the Kansas City Civic Orchestra.

Along with his conducting, he is an active orchestral musician as an assistant-principal violist with theSpringfield Symphony Orchestra and a substitute for theSymphony of Northwest Arkansas.

Matthew lives in Springfield, MO, with his wife, Leianna, and two dogs, Koda and Ellie.