Classical Music

Jiro Schneider / Frank Salomon Agency

The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet will perform this coming Monday evening (the 9th) in a concert featuring Spanish Renaissance music, Manuel De Falla's "El Amor Brujo," and a range of eclectic works ranging from English composer John Dowland to Chet Atkins and Dweezil Zappa. On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with one of this Grammy Award-winning ensemble's members, former Tulsan Matthew Greif.

Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme" is, of course, the musically sumptuous tale of four young Parisienne bohemians and their loves and losses. (It's also, as many of us know, the basis for "Rent.") Tulsa Opera's 68th season gets underway this weekend with this popular opera. Karin Wolverton stars as Mimi, and Sony Music recording artist Nathan Granner (of "American Tenors" fame) makes his company and role debut as Rodolfo. We're joined on this edition of ST by Tulsa Opera's artistic director, and conductor for the production, Kostis Protopapas, who talks in detail about this opera.

Our guest on this edition of StudioTulsa is Daniel Hege, who is the newly appointed Principal Guest Conductor for the Tulsa Symphony. Tomorrow night, Saturday the 26th, at 7:30pm, the symphony will present its first Tulsa PAC concert of the new season; it's an evening entitled "Experience the Exotic." On the program: Rimsky-Korsakov's famous tone poem, "Scheherazade," as well as Liszt's "Piano Concerto No.

Tulsa Ballet gets its new season underway this evening at 8pm (Friday the 11th) with an all-new, three-part "Creations in Studio K" program. This show will feature world-premiere pieces from Jorma Elo (resident choreographer for Boston Ballet), Dwight Rhoden (artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet), and Tulsa Ballet resident choreographer Ma Cong. Performances will happen September 11th through the 20th in Tulsa Ballet's 300-seat Studio K Theater.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the nonprofit program known as Sistema Tulsa. Per its website, Sistema Tulsa "envisions how a comprehensive and inclusive music program can positively impact the social, cognitive, and aesthetic realms of youth development. Supported by partnerships with the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church and the Tulsa Public Schools, Sistema Tulsa plans to provide a model for accessible, ensemble-based music programs that enrich the lives of local youth across varied underserved communities.

On this edition of ST, we offer another installment in our ongoing series of interviews with organizations vying to be included in the Vision 2025 sales tax extension for the City of Tulsa. This extension is expected to go before voters in the spring of 2016, and over the past couple of months, many area organizations (from Gilcrease Museum to the Tulsa Zoo; from Tulsa Transit to Langston University) have been presenting proposals in this regard to the Tulsa City Council. We at StudioTulsa are speaking with certain of those groups whose ideas seem especially interesting and/or feasible.

Our guest is Sara Solovitch, a former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer whose articles have appeared in Esquire, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. She has also been a health columnist for the San Jose Mercury News -- and she seriously studied piano in her younger days. These formative at-the-keyboard experiences greatly influence her first book, which Solovitch discusses with us today.

On this edition of ST, an interesting conversation with Dr. Margaret Martin, who more than a decade ago founded The Harmony Project, beginning with 36 students and a $9,000 check from The Rotary Club of Hollywood; today, The Harmony Project is the largest nonprofit in Los Angeles dedicated exclusively to music education for youth in low-income communities.

John Williams -- the still-active genius who created the music for such classic movies as "Jaws," "Star Wars," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "E.T.: The Extraterrestrial," and "Schindler's List" (to name just a handful) -- is arguably the greatest composer ever to work in Hollywood. And his memorable, broadly popular music will be the focal point for the final Tulsa Symphony Orchestra concert of this season.

Our guest today on ST is Murry Sidlin, an American conductor who's a professor of conducting at Catholic University's Benjamin T. Rome School of Music; he's also worked with the Baltimore Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony, the Tulsa Philharmonic, and the Connecticut Ballet, among many other notable musical organizations.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak by phone with the acclaimed American composer Carlisle Floyd, whose opera, "Of Mice and Men," will be staged this weekend (that is, both this evening and Sunday afternoon) by Tulsa Opera at the Tulsa PAC. This widely performed work was first performed in 1970 by the Seattle Opera; other notable operas composed by Floyd include "Susannah" (1955), "Wuthering Heights" (1958), "Flower and Hawk" (1972), "Willie Stark" (1981), and "Cold Sassy Tree" (2000).

On this edition of ST, we're pleased to speak with Andrés Franco, the newly named Artistic Director and Conductor of the Signature Symphony at Tulsa Community College. The TCC Board of Regents approved Frano's hiring at a meeting held yesterday; he will replace Dr. Barry Epperley, the founder and longtime leader of this orchestra, who is retiring.

Our guest on ST is Gerhardt Zimmermann, who will be the Guest Conductor for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra on Saturday the 14th at the Tulsa PAC. This "Simply Tragic" concert, as its being called, will begin at 7:30pm, and it will feature the 80-to-85-minute masterpiece by Mahler known as Symphony No. 6 in A minor (a/k/a the "Tragische").

On this edition of ST, we welcome Jeffrey Zeigler, the gifted cello player and composer who's best known for his eight-year tenure with the internationally known Kronos Quartet. Since leaving that collective about two years ago, Zeigler has embarked on an interesting (and decidedly multi-genre) solo career that's found him collaborating with a host of fascinating musicians -- such as singer/songwriter Norah Jones, avant-jazz guru John Zorn, pianist Vijay Iyer, composer Philip Glass, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, and so forth.

This weekend -- just in time for Valentine's Day -- Tulsa Opera will offer two performances of Gounod's "Roméo et Juliette." This classic opera will be staged on Friday the 13th at 7:30pm and Sunday the 15th at 2:30pm, with both productions happening at the Tulsa PAC.

On Saturday the 24th, in a performance beginning at 8pm, the highly acclaimed Rastrelli Cello Quartet will return to Tulsa. The concert happens at the Williams Theatre in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and is presented by Choregus Productions. Our guest is the founder and artistic director of this group, Kira Kraftzoff. As he explains, the Rastrelli has been deliberately focused on -- and enthusiastically passionate about -- what classical music buffs sometimes call "non-traditional programming" since its inception in 2002.

On this installment of ST, we speak with James Bagwell, a widely admired and diversely experienced classical music and choral conductor who's been on the faculty at Bard College since 2000, where he is currently the chair of the undergraduate music department and co-director of the graduate program in conducting. He's worked with organizations ranging from the American Symphony Orchestra and The Concert Chorale of New York to The Dessoff Symphonic Choir and the Jerusalem Symphony.

This coming weekend, on both Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th, Tulsa Opera will present Tulsa Youth Opera’s production of composer Susan Kander's "The Giver." This piece, as noted at the Tulsa Opera website, is "an opera for young people based on the bestselling novel by Lois Lowry. 'The Giver' tells the story of a seemingly utopian society free from pain or strife, but also devoid of color and memory.

On this edition of ST, we learn all about the bART Center for Music (formerly known as the Barthelmes Conservatory). This nonprofit organization, per its website, was "founded in 2001.... Its sole purpose is to provide music education for the larger Tulsa community... The Center offers superior private music lessons for piano, cello, violin, viola, bass, flute, African drums, voice, and guitar for all ages and abilities." Our guests are Bill Andoe, the newly named Executive Director of the bART Center, and John Rush, its Artistic Director.

Tomorrow night, Saturday the 6th, at the Tulsa PAC, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will present a winter- and holiday-themed concert with Steven Smith as Guest Conductor. This is Smith's second appearance with the TSO, and he's our guest on ST today. On the program for tomorrow evening, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor (with violinist Rossitza Jekova-Goza as the soloist) as well as two selections from Tchaikovsky: the seldom-heard-but-excellent Symphony No. 1 in G minor (a/k/a "Winter Dreams") and, of course, Selections from The Nutcracker.

The Signature Symphony at TCC has narrowed its search for a new artistic director and conductor to three finalists: Andrés Franco, Michael Rossi, and Timothy Verville.

At the Tulsa PAC this coming weekend -- on the evening of Friday the 24the and the afternoon of Sunday the 26th -- Tulsa Opera will stage Rossini's delightful romantic comedy, "La Cenerentola" (or, if you prefer, "Cinderella"). This well-liked piece, which tells the familiar rags-to-riches story of a poor and mistreated yet nevertheless good-hearted young woman, will be sung in Italian with projected English translations. Tulsa's own Lauren McNeese stars in the title role. Our guest on ST today is Marc Astafan, who's the stage director for this production.

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone to Joshua Gindele, a founding member of -- and the cellist for -- the world-renowned Miró Quartet, which will soon perform here in Tulsa.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Grant Cooper, who has been the Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra since 2001. Years ago -- in the late 1970s and early 1980s -- Cooper was actually a trumpet player in the bygone Tulsa Philharmonic, and this weekend, he returns to our community to be the Guest Conductor for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. The TSO will present an all-Sibelius concert on both Saturday the 4th and Sunday the 5th at the Tulsa PAC; the Saturday concert begins at 7:30pm, and the Sunday performance starts at 2:30pm.

On this installment of ST, we welcome Timothy Verville, who will be the guest conductor with the Signature Symphony at the TCC Van Trease PACE (at 10300 E. 81st Street) tomorrow night (Saturday the 27th).

Our guest on this installment of ST is Daniel Hege, the well-regarded young classical music conductor who was the music director of the Syracuse Symphony for several years before becoming, in 2010, the music director of the Wichita Symphony. Hege will also be the guest conductor for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra tomorrow night, Saturday the 13th, as that orchestra begins its new season of concerts in the Tulsa PAC's Chapman Music Hall. The program begins at 7:30pm; it will feature not one but two show-stopping mega-works: Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op.

The Signature Symphony at Tulsa Community College continues its search for a new artistic director and conductor, and the field has narrowed to three young finalists, each of whom is a promising talent amid the next generation of American conductors. As the Symphony begins its new season of concerts, each of these finalists will be given the chance to wave the baton, as it were, during an actual concert.

Our guest on this edition of ST is Marcello Angelini, the Artistic Director of Tulsa Ballet, who's now celebrating his twentieth season at the helm of the company. That Tulsa Ballet has both grown and thrived under Angelini's impressive leadership is a given in this community, and on today's show we are focusing on one flourishing aspect of the company that was created during Angelini's tenure: Tulsa Ballet II, which is the second or "pre-professional" company of Tulsa Ballet.

On this installment of ST, we speak with harpist Janet Witman, whose accomplished career in music has taken her from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia to the Salzedo Harp Colony in Maine (where she worked with the legendary Alice Chalifoux). Witman, based in Pennsylvania, has performed as a soloist with the Allentown Symphony, the Hilton Head Orchestra, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Providence Chamber Orchestra, the Wheatland Chorale, and other ensembles.

Organized labor, generally speaking, has had a tough time of it in our country over the last several decades; from coast to coast, for many reasons, professional unions have been minimized, marginalized, disrespected, demonized, etc. But has this also been the case for today's professional musicians? Our guest is Raymond Hair, Jr., the President of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (or AFM). This labor union, founded in 1896, is the largest organization in the world representing the interests of professional musicians.

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