NSO Season 57 Campaign

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Our People


Karianne Waterland

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Northland Symphony Orchestra Association

Karianne Waterland smiling while holding a violin.Karianne Waterland is excited to be the newly appointed Executive Director of the Northland Symphony Orchestra Association. Karianne has served as Executive Director for the Northland Symphony Youth Orchestra and Sinfonia (formerly the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and Sinfonia) for 15 seasons. And for over twenty years, she has enjoyed performing as a member violinist of the Northland Symphony.

Karianne has worked with various arts organizations, including internships with the Kansas City Symphony, American Heartland Theatre, and the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, she has worked with the Harriman-Jewell Series and Theatre League in Marketing, Education and Business Affairs. In 2010, she received a National Education Grant from the Broadway League for her project, “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” with the tour of Wicked in Wichita, KS.

A violin & viola studio instructor with experience and continuing training in the Suzuki Method, Karianne has fostered the artistic development of growing musicians in Kansas and Missouri, with students achieving top Festival Solo ratings and acceptance in District & State Honors Orchestras. She serves as a festival and orchestral adjudicator and music clinician throughout the Kansas City area. Continuing education in Arts Management through the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Karianne cherishes time with her husband, Andrew, and their two sons, Warren and Wesley.

Artistic Staff

James Murray III

MUSIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR, Northland Symphony Orchestra

FOUNDER & CONDUCTOR, Northland Symphony Youth Orchestra

James Murray's photo.Over his 20+ years in the Kansas City area, James Murray has established himself as a consummate professional on and off the podium. He has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Northland Symphony Orchestra since 1998, Music Director and Founding Conductor of the Northland Symphony Youth Orchestra (formerly the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra) since 1997 and Music Director and Conductor of the Heritage Philharmonic since 2005. He has conducted hundreds of concerts containing over 350 pieces of music representing well over 150 composers.

After making his orchestral conducting debut in Rome, Italy he went on to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in music performance from William Jewell College, where he studied with Dr. Phillip C. Posey and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Denver, where he studied with Dr. Horst Buchholz. Additional training includes the world-renowned Conductor’s Institute of South Carolina.

A versatile performer, guest conducting appearances have included the Kansas City Baroque Consortium, the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, the Independence Symphony, the Kansas City Cello Ensemble, William Jewell College Opera, Shawnee Mission Theater in the Park, and the Centennial Philharmonic. Jim is frequently in demand as a clinician and over his career has worked with the fine high school orchestral musicians from school districts around the entire Kansas City metropolitan area; from Liberty to Olathe, Independence to Park Hill, Lee’s Summit to North Kansas City, and from Raytown to St. Joseph. Additionally, he has served as the conductor/clinician for the St. Louis All-Suburban Orchestra and the Kansas City Metro 3 All-District Middle School Orchestra.

Off the podium, Jim has served as the Music Coordinator & Instructor of Music at Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods since 2003. An award-winning educator, he has received both the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Excellence in Higher Education Award from the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Jim is married to soprano and conductor Nicole Murray with whom he has been fortunate to share the stage numerous times over his career. When not involved in educational or musical pursuits, Jim and Nicole seek out the highest, fastest, and most interesting rollercoasters to ride around the world. 

Parker Stanley smiles while holding a baton.
Parker Stanley

CONDUCTOR, Northland Symphony Youth Orchestra

Parker Stanley graduated from Bethel College in 2008 with his Bachelors in Music Education. 2010, he obtained his Master’s in Cello Performance from the University of Iowa. Since then, he has been working in the public schools. He has taught in Newton, KS, and for the last ten years, he has taught middle school orchestra for the Liberty Public Schools. Parker played for the Northland Youth Orchestra (formerly Metropolitan Youth Orchestra) as a student. In 2016, he joined Mr. Murray as one of the conductors. He helped to start the Northland Youth Sinfonia in their first two years, and because of school teaching duties, he took a few years off, but he is thrilled to be back working with the students.

Barbara Miller

CONDUCTOR, Northland Symphony Youth Sinfonia

Barbara Mathis Miller is recently retired as an Orchestra Director with the North Kansas City School District.  During her seventeen year tenure with the District, Ms. Miller taught at all levels, from beginning 5th grade strings, to directing the District’s 8th Grade Honor Orchestras, as well as two highly successful orchestras at North Kansas City High School.  Both high school orchestras consistently earned the highest ratings at State Music Festivals and were awarded Overall Champions at competitive festivals in Chicago and Nashville.  Under her direction, the North Kansas City Hornet Orchestra was selected to present as an exhibition orchestra at the 2019 Missouri Music Educator’s Conference. In 2020, Ms. Miller received the NKCSD Excellence in Teaching Award.

Barbara Miller holding a viola.
Carrie Shuck smiling.
Carrie Shuck

CONDUCTOR, Northland Symphony Youth Sinfonia

Lifelong musician Carrie Shuck is a well-respected instrumental music educator in Kansas City. Ms. Shuck received her Bachelors, Master’s and Education Specialist degrees at Northwest Missouri State University and currently serves the North Kansas City School District, teaching AP Music Theory and assisting with band and orchestra throughout the district’s middle and high schools. When Ms. Shuck is not inspiring student musicians, you can find her performing baritone saxophone with the NorthWinds Symphonic Band and Fountain City Saxophones or playing drums for KC Current’s Surface Tension. Outside of music, Ms. Shuck enjoys travel, photography and spending time with her Siberian Husky, Nikko.

Joel Gordon

DIRECTOR, Northland Symphony Youth Saxophone Ensemble

Born in Iowa, grown in Missouri, and sprouting throughout the Midwest, Joel Gordon is a saxophonist and educator on a journey to cultivate relationships with music and people. As a saxophonist, Joel performs with {tres}, recently releasing “Centennial” on Navona Records. Premieres include the International Saxophone Symposium and the American Single Reed Summit. As a jazz musician, Joel leads a “chordless” quartet, the Happy Habitat. The group has featured many saxophonists including Adam Larson. Passionate about education, Joel’s students have participated in opportunities including the NAfME All-National Honor Concert Band and Interlochen Saxophone Institute. Joel has also helped establish programs including the Northland Student Jam Session and Kansas City Area Youth Jazz. Joel holds a BA in Music and Master of Arts in Education of Music from Truman State.

Joel Gordon smiles while holding a saxophone.

Administrative Staff

Alyssa Gorman

ORCHESTRA MANAGER, Northland Symphony Youth Orchestra

Irene Taboada

ORCHESTRA MANAGER, Northland Symphony Youth Sinfonia

Board of Directors

The NSOA board in 2023
Paige Buckmaster


Karen Hall


Rebecca Baumgartner


Elizabeth Honeycutt-Otte


Luce-Virlynn Apollon


Karianne Waterland


Jim Murray


Jay Shutts


Rachel Blankenship


Daniela Bone


Shirin Felfeli


Lynn Horsley


Andrea Johnson


Chris Wright


Scott Wagner


Quinn Mills