American Music

On this edition of our show, we speak by phone with the pianist, composer, and bandleader Amina Figarova, who was born in Azerbaijan in 1966 and is now based in New York City. She began to study music as a child, eventually attending the Baku Conservatory, and became a classical concert pianist while still a young girl. Later she was drawn to jazz at the Rotterdam Conservatory --- and later still at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

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On this edition of StudioTulsa, Rich Fisher speaks with local saxophonist and composer Denny Morouse. The Pittsburgh native was a fixture in New York City music circles from the 1970s through the 1990s, working with pop superstars like Stevie Wonder, with various studio/commercial outfits, and with jazz legends like the drummer Art Blakey and the organist Larry Young. Morouse moved to Tulsa a few years ago, during the terminal illness of a close family member, and he's been based here since.

On this edition of ST, we present an equal-parts tuneful and thoughtful conversation with Noam Pikelny, the Grammy-nominated banjoist who's probably best known as a founding member of the progressive bluegrass group known as the Punch Brothers. Pikelny will be performing at the OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, tonight, Monday the 10th; he'll take the stage --- for a concert entitled "An Evening of Bluegrass" --- alongside Bryan Sutton, Ronnie McCoury, Luke Bulla, and Barry Bales.

On this installment of ST, we speak with veteran classical musician and conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos, who was named Artistic Director of the OK Mozart Festival last fall.

On this edition of ST, we welcome back Machele Miller Dill, an assistant professor of musical theatre here at the University of Tulsa. Dill is directing "Spring Awakening," which the TU Department of Theatre will present in the Lorton Performance Center (here on the TU campus) from tomorrow night (the 11th) through Sunday afternoon (the 14th).

On this installment on ST, we are pleased to welcome the classical-music husband-and-wife team of violinist Dylana Jenson and conductor-cellist David Lockington. Both will appear as special guests tomorrow night (Saturday the 6th) at the Tulsa PAC's Chapman Music Hall at 7:30pm, which is where and when the Tulsa Symphony will present its final "classics concert" of the current season; Jenson will be the Guest Soloist and Lockington, the Guest Conductor.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the poet/playwright/actress/musician Lenelle Moise as well as the actress/singer/songwriter Karla Mosley, who comprise the dynamic and diversely talented duo behind "Expatriate," a two-act, two-woman drama-meets-music performance piece that was presented Off-Broadway to glowing reviews in 2008, and that will soon be offered here in Tulsa by the Living Arts Gallery as part of that organization's New Genre XX Festival.

On February 23rd, March 1st, and March 3rd, Tulsa Opera will present Frank Loesser's masterful "Broadway opera" --- as some have called it --- "The Most Happy Fella," with all three performances happening at the Tulsa PAC. A classic American musical that dates back to the middle 1950s, "The Most Happy Fella" is the show that gave us the beloved pop tunes "Standing on the Corner" and "Big D." Our guest on StudioTulsa is the internationally renowned baritone --- and current associate professor of voice at the University of Oklahoma --- Kim Josephson, who stars in this production.

The Tulsa Youth Symphony, now comprised of more than 150 middle-school and high-school musicians from throughout Northeastern Oklahoma, will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. For more than 40 of those years, our guest on ST has been at the helm of this outstanding local arts organization; in fact, just last month, Ron Wheeler --- who's been the CEO and conductor of the Tulsa Youth Symphony since 1972, and who's also a violinist with the Tulsa Symphony --- was given the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Music Educators Association.

When Bruce Sorrell was starting his tenure, about a year ago, as Executive Director of Chamber Music Tulsa, someone told him that this outstanding organization --- which will turn 60 next year, and which has been bringing world-class music ensembles to our community for decades --- was "one of Tulsa's best-kept secrets." As he tells us on this edition of ST, Sorrell wants to change this.

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