Kimberly Helton

Flute / Piccolo

Dr. Kimberly Bachelder Helton is instructor of Flute at Simpson College. She has been third flute/piccolo with the Cedar Rapids Symphony since 1997, and has been piccoloist for Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra for ten seasons. Ms. Helton was also acting second flutist in the Des Moines Symphony for 2012-14 seasons, with several opportunities to serve as acting principal during this tenure. She has performed in festivals and presented master classes in Russia and throughout the Midwest. As a guest soloist, she has performed with numerous symphonies, including Utah Symphony, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Arapahoe Philharmonic, Des Moines Community Orchestra, Drake University and Grinnell College Orchestras. As a chamber musician, Ms. Helton is a member of the Simpson Lyric Wind Trio, Linden String/Flute Quartet and Polaris Wind Quintet—winners of the 2002 NFA Chamber Music Competition. Polaris/Helton commissioned two new works in 2011 and which was featured on a CD release in 2012. She was artist-in-residence at the Aberystwyth Music Festival in Wales and performs regularly with the prestigious Des Moines Mozaiques Chamber Ensembles, for Salisbury House Chamber Music Series, Nielsen Concert Series, and Brenton Arboretum Series. Dr. Helton was coordinator of 2002 Iowa Flute Festival at Grinnell College and will coordinate the 2016 IFF at Simpson College. She is invited to present classes and lectures at the festival annually. She both performed for and assisted with presentations at the National Flute Convention in Las Vegas in 2012. Ms. Helton maintains a large private studio in Des Moines, IA. She has four children, all of whom are musicians playing in the Des Moines Symphony Academy Youth Orchestras and supporting community outreach through the arts in Des Moines.


Des Moines, IA

Year Joined Orchestra Iowa


Education & Teachers:

B.M. in Flute Performance, Brigham Young University, 1991
M.M. in Flute Performance, Drake University, 1994,
D.M.A. in Flute Performance and Pedagogy, University of Iowa, Performance Fellowship 2001

Susan Goodfellow, Nathan Jones, Betty Mather and Tadeu Coelho.

Favorite Symphonic Piece:

Elgar Enigma Variations and Beethoven Ninth Symphony

Favorite Memory With Orchestra Iowa:

Performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Brucemore, with the great community choir behind us, and thousands from the CR community in front of us – lighted cell phones over head. The whole program was filled with hope that we would have complete recovery from the flood.

How did you start playing your instrument?

My parents are professional musicians so we lived with music in the house 24/7. After years of piano lessons, I asked for a violin in the 5th grade. My dad brought me home a flute instead to try out. It took me a few days to make a sound, but I loved the rich sound after I learned! It reminded me more of singing than any other instrument.

Who are your musical inspirations?

My parents are a huge inspiration to me. My mother is a genius pianist and remarkable teacher. My father is an enthusiastic band director and lovely trombonist. Their examples of integrity, hard work, and artistic grace are in my heart every day. The flute teacher who inspired me the most is Susan Goodfellow. She is the reason I have a career in performing and teaching. Timothy Hankewich is my greatest inspiration as a conductor. It is worth the drive from Des Moines to Cedar Rapids to play for him!

If you weren’t a professional musician, what career would you have?

I would be a writer. I have a minor in English and love great books! OR a photographer since I am obsessed with taking pictures all the time!

List three things always found in your refrigerator:

Yogurt, cottage cheese and chocolate bars.

Who would play you in a movie?

Elastic Girl from the “Incredibles”