Jason Heilman

Host, Classical Tulsa

Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman is no stranger to Tulsa’s concert audiences, having been a frequent speaker at concerts by Tulsa Camerata, Chamber Music Tulsa, and other local groups. Originally from Wisconsin, Jason grew up in Tulsa, where he began playing trumpet in his middle school band. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Tulsa, a master’s degree in music history from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in musicology and European Studies from Duke University. Jason’s area of expertise is the music of Vienna circa 1900, and while he was completing his dissertation, he lived in Vienna for a year and a half. Officially, he was there as an invited fellow at the IFK International Research Center for Cultural Studies, but in reality, he spent most of his time attending concerts and sampling the city’s many bratwurst and kebab stands.  Jason has taught music courses at Duke and at the University of Texas at Austin, but his real calling is inspiring people to experience the vast diversity of classical music firsthand. After returning to his hometown of Tulsa, he and three other local musicians co-founded Tulsa Camerata in 2010. In addition to his innovative role as Tulsa Camerata’s concert narrator, he also served for two years as its executive director. When Tulsa Camerata commissioned Michael Daugherty’s This Land Sings: Songs of Wandering, Love, and Protest Inspired by the Life and Times of Woody Guthrie, Jason wrote the narrator’s part and performed it at the world premiere in Tulsa in April 2016. Jason met his wife, Rosalyn, when they were both sixth graders at Byrd Middle School and they married twenty-five years later. His three passions in life are music, beer, and coffee, and he doesn’t consider a day complete without all three.