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About

Conductor Biographies

Amber PetersonDr. Amber Dahlen Peterson, is an Assistant Professor of Music and the Mazie Barnett Kilmer Chair for Strings Education at Southwestern College. Through this position, she conducts the South Kansas Symphony, coaches the Williams String Quartet, and teaches violin, viola, music education, history, appreciation and theory courses. Dr. Peterson completed her Ph.D. in Music Education, with a cognate in Music Cognition and Psychology, at Case Western Reserve University. She also holds music education degrees from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She completed the Suzuki Violin Teacher Training program at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Dr. Peterson has performed with many symphonies, pit orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Ohio. She currently plays with the Delano Chamber Orchestra and the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, Dr. Peterson taught orchestra in Moline, Illinois, teaching at the elementary, middle and high school levels. She has also served on the staffs of the Cole Family Summer Music Festival, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Illinois Summer Youth Music, Illinois Ambassadors of Music and the Cleveland Music School Settlement. Dr. Peterson’s research has primarily focused on music teacher education and music cognition. Her work has appeared in American String TeacherContributions to Music EducationArts Education Policy Review and Visions of Research in Music Education. She has presented sessions for state music education conferences in Ohio, Iowa, Illinois and Kansas, as well national conferences of the American String Teachers Association, the American Educational Research Association, the Symposium on Music Teacher Education, and the National Association for Music Education.


Jose Batty is an active teacher and performer in the Oklahoma metro area.  He currently serves on faculty at El Sistema Oklahoma in Oklahoma City as a conductor and violin teacher.  Recently he has taught at the NextGeneration Performing Arts Camp in Joplin, Missouri where he coached small chamber ensembles and violin sectionals.  Jose has a small but active violin studio with students winning principal chairs in their respective orchestras.  Jose is also an active performer, serving in the concertmaster role at the University of Central Oklahoma as well as the Oklahoma Haydn Festival and is a member of the Enid Symphony.  Jose has earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Violin Performance from the University of Central Oklahoma.  When Jose is not teaching or performing he enjoys reading and watching Netflix.  He is looking forward to a fantastic season with this Youth Orchestra!


Aidan Wells is a Piano Performance student at Southwestern College. He was the Senior Division winner for South Kansas Symphony’s 2016-17 Season Concerto Competition, and has been the Symphony’s Assistant Conductor since Fall of 2017. Aidan is heavily involved as a collaborative pianist at Southwestern and in the surrounding region. Additionally, he has worked to guide the promotion of the Southwestern College Summer Music Festival, an event with which he has also been a Faculty Assistant and Counselor. He is an active member in various other ensembles outside of piano, such as A Cappella Choir, SC Percussion ensembles, Southwestern College Choral Union, and Jazz Band, in addition to collaborating with the Southwestern College Theatre program for Musicals and other stage productions. Beyond piano, Aidan is currently studying cello, marimba, and organ, as well as applied composition. Organizationally, Aidan is currently the Members Master for the College’s student theatre organization as well as the President of Tone Builder’s, the student music organization. He can regularly be heard playing piano and organ at the First Presbyterian Church in Winfield.


Ismail FaridIsmail “Ish” Farid, Southwestern College Youth Symphony Executive Director Originally from Singapore, Ish and his family immigrated to the USA in July, 2000 and settled in Winfield, December 2002. A professional musician and entertainer since he was 20, Ish started playing the piano since the age of six and was trained under the London Royal School of Music program. At 16, he taught himself jazz and pop. After active duty with the Singapore Armed Forces, Ish launched his music career. He started as a restaurant pianist, then moved on to perform with jazz combos, lounge and show bands. During his professional career, Ish also coordinated holiday shows with hotels and accompanied and performed with singers from different parts of the world. Ish completed his professional degree with the Trinity College London, earning him the LTCL title. He is currently the Assistant Director of Orchestras with USD 465, Winfield, and Executive Director for the Southwestern College Youth Symphony. He teaches Jazz & Pop piano, improvisation and orchestral strings. Besides doing gigs with his daughter, Ish composes and does arrangements for string ensembles.


Linda Newby, Programs Manager, is a fourth grade teacher for USD 465 in Winfield. She enjoys reading and attending athletic events. Linda joined the orchestra, band, and choir on Southwestern College’s 2008 trip to Italy, and became close to many musicians. Her current role as Programs Manager for the symphony is to organize, plan, and help with the Golden Circle and other events. Linda is also a member of the Symphony’s Advisory Board. This is her seventh season as manager.

South Kansas Symphony Advisory Board

  • Rae Lynn Baker
  • John Baker
  • Diana Williams
  • Pam Taylor
  • Linda Newby
  • Eva Farid
  • Amber Peterson

Office Staff

  • Linda Newby – South Kansas Symphony Programs Manager
  • Ashton Humbert – South Kansas Symphony Student Librarian; 
    Southwestern College Youth Symphony String Assistant
  • Eva Farid – Southwestern College Youth Symphony Stage Manager; 
    Southwestern College Youth Symphony String Assistant 
  • Quenton Todd - Southwestern College Youth Symphony Percussion Assistant
  • Brandon Pew – South Kansas Symphony Stage Manager
  • Jessica Arnoldy- Southwestern College Youth Symphony Student Librarian

Contact Information

Snail Mail: SKS, Performing Arts Office, 100 College St., Winfield, KS 67156

Phone: (620) 221-7720

Email: Amber Peterson —-Amber.Peterson@sckans.edu

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