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Kansas City Symphony's Michael Stern talks with Matthias Pintscher about passing the baton

Conductor Matthias Pintscher leads the Kansas City Symphony in Helzberg Hall, March 2023
Eric T. Williams
Conductor Matthias Pintscher leads the Kansas City Symphony in Helzberg Hall in March 2023.

Classical KC's Dan Margolies speaks with current Kansas City Symphony music director Michael Stern and incoming music director Matthias Pintscher about the new appointment, synergy with the musicians and taking the ensemble to the next level.

At the end of 2024, Michael Stern will step down from the podium of the Kansas City Symphony and pass the baton to his successor: Conductor and composer Matthias Pintscher.

Pintscher has worked with some of the world's greatest orchestras as a conductor, and has had his works performed by ensembles around the world, such as the New York Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra.

So, what does it mean for the Kansas City Symphony to have this highly acclaimed conductor and composer step into the role of music director?

"This is exactly what we were all hoping for," says Stern. "The contact between Matthias Pintscher and the Kansas City Symphony was immediate — it was electric."

Pintscher's first appearance with the orchestra as a guest conductor was in March and his appointment came days later.

"I felt instantly that this was not a debut. It felt like we knew each other for, for a while, maybe even for quite a while," says Pintscher.

"I was just sharing music and we mutually hit it off," he adds. "This whole energy and welcoming warmth was actually continuing throughout this entire week of rehearsals and performances."

Hear Dan Margolies' full conversation with Michael Stern and Matthias Pintscher above.

You can listen to the Kansas City Symphony on Classical KC Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. on 91.9 FM or at

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
Sam Wisman is a Senior Producer for 91.9 Classical KC and a backup announcer for KCUR 89.3. Email him at
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