About Us

The Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra was founded in 2003 by Miles Kusik and Jackie Zito to bring the plucked string orchestra tradition back to Kalamazoo.

The KMGO is a comprised of area musicians and is based on the mandolin orchestras that were extremely popular in the late 1800’s — early 1900’s. Our instrumentation is mandolin 1, mandolin 2, mandola, mandocello, guitar, and bass.

We perform a wide variety of musical styles such as classical, ragtime, world-folk, American standards, and modern. We have performed in many settings including concert series, museums, libraries, wineries, and Kalamazoo “Art Hops”.

We have commissioned and premiered the following works for mandolin orchestra:

Water MusicElizabeth Start
Passages Through MexicoVictor Garcia
Kalamazoo Swag — James Kellaris
Concerto for Mandolin & Orchestra — Elizabeth Start
Passacaglia — Elizabeth Start
Pleasant PeninsulaJohn Goodin
Kalamazoo Suite — James Kellaris

We have hosted workshops and concerts by international virtuosi:

Chris Acquavella – Germany
Carlo Aonzo — Italy
Richard Walz — France
Tamara Volskaya — New York & Russia
Quartet Seasons – Bulgaria