Classical Music

On this installment of ST, we welcome the widely acclaimed mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese, who has performed on opera stages all over the world, and who, as Opera News has noted, possesses "one of those distinctive timbres recognizable six miles away in the dark...with a sparkling quality intriguingly laced with a hint of lemon juice." McNeese made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Wagner's "Parsifal" during the 2012-13 season; she's played Giovanna Seymour in Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" with Minnesota Opera, and has also appeared with the Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, Ravinia Festival, Los

Tomorrow night, Saturday the 5th, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra continues its current season with a 7:30pm curtain at the Tulsa PAC. On the program are two well-known, well-loved pieces from Brahms: his Piano Concerto No. 1 and his Symphony No. 2. Our guest on ST is Steven Smith, who will be the guest conductor for this concert, which will also feature a special guest appearance by the renowned pianist William Wolfram. Smith talks about his fondness for --- and his considerable familiarity with --- these two Brahms "war horses" (as he affectionately calls them).

Tomorrow night, Saturday the 7th, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will begin its new season with a 7:30pm concert at the Tulsa PAC. On the program, a pair of timeless Beethoven works, Leonore No. 3 and Symphony No. 5, as well as two pieces from the outstanding contemporary composer, Samuel Adler, each of which will be presented in its world premiere: Violin Concerto and Song Cycle. This special evening will also include two guest artists, the soprano Sarah Coburn and the violinist Siwoo Kim.

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.

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.

Today our guest on ST is the accomplished Polish musician Agnieszka Przemyk-Bryła, who's won several prestigious piano competitions over the years and who's also an assistant professor in the Piano Department at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. She'll be giving a free-to-the-public piano recital here on the TU campus tomorrow night (Wednesday the 24th) at 7:30pm; the recital, presented by the TU School of Music, will take place in the Gussman Concert Hall of the Lorton Performance Center. On the program will be music by Szymanowski, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff.

Tulsa Opera Presents Verdi's "Aida"

Apr 22, 2013

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we welcome back Kostis Protopapas, who's been the Artistic Director of Tulsa Opera since May of 2008. He previously served as the company's Associate Conductor and Chorusmaster, and he joins us today to talk about Tulsa Opera's latest production --- the final show if its current season, for which Protopapas himself is the conductor --- "Aida" by Giuseppe Verdi. This production opened on Saturday the 20th at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center's Chapman Music Hall; it will continue with two more curtains, on Friday the 26th and Sunday the 28th.

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.

Robert Ward, the highly acclaimed American composer, died today at age 95. Ward won the Pulitzer Prize for his opera "The Crucible" --- based on the classic Arthur Miller play, with a libretto adapted by Bernard Stambler --- which was commissioned by the New York City Opera and had its premiere in 1961.

Our guest on this edition of ST is Daniel Hege, who's been on our show before, and who's widely seen as one of America's finest young conductors; Hege served for eleven seasons as the Music Director of the Syracuse Symphony before becoming the Music Director of the Wichita Symphony, where he's been based since 2010. He will be the Guest Conductor for the next concert to be performed by the Tulsa Symphony, which begins tomorrow night (Saturday the 16th) at 7:30pm in the Chapman Music Hall of the Tulsa PAC.

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.

On this edition of our program, we're joined by Timothy Myers, an up-and-coming American classical-music conductor with an impressive resume and a thoughtful, articulate appreciation for music of all sorts. Myers will be the guest conductor for the next concert in the Tulsa Symphony's current --- and color-themed --- season of performances. "Red," a concert of music notable for its energy, heat, passion, and jazzy intensity, gets underway tomorrow night, Saturday the 9th, at 7:30pm at the Tulsa PAC. On the program will be works by Michael Daugherty, Mark O'Connor, and Charles Ives.

A Chat with the New Artistic Director of OK Mozart

Dec 17, 2012

On this edition of ST, we speak with Constantine Kitsopoulos, who was recently named the new artistic director of the OK Mozart International Festival. Kitsopoulos, appointed to the post in late October, is also the music director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, in New York City, and serves as general director of the Chatham Opera, which he founded in 2005. He's previously been a guest conductor at OK Mozart on several occasions; he also serves as the music director of the Festival of the Arts BOCA, a multi-day cultural arts event in South Florida.

Remembering Dave Brubeck, a Jazz Titan

Dec 6, 2012

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we remember the great jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who died yesterday at 91. (He would have turned 92 today, the 6th.) Rich Fisher spoke with Brubeck back in the fall of 1996, prior to a Tulsa concert appearance. Brubeck's quartet with saxophonist Paul Desmond and drummer Joe Morello was among the most popular bands (of any sort) of the 1950s and '60s, and even today, their 1959 album, "Time Out," remains one of the most popular jazz recordings of all time.

On this installment of our program, we are pleased to speak by phone with Michael Tilson Thomas, the renowned musician, conductor, and music director who has won ten Grammy Awards over the course of his still-thriving career (and who has appeared on scores of albums). Thomas has long served as music director of the San Francisco Symphony, a post in which he has flourished.

Tomorrow night, Saturday the 3rd, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will present the next concert in its current season at 7:30pm in the Tulsa PAC's Chapman Music Hall. This season's overall theme is "Color" --- and tomorrow night's concert is to be a "Green" evening, with music meant to evoke the natural world in all its wonder, variety, and majesty.

Today, we are happy to welcome back to our program Tim Sharp, who's been the artistic director of Tulsa Oratorio Chorus for the past few years now. (You can read Tim's bio here, by the way.) Tomorrow night, Thursday the 1st, at Cain's Ballroom in downtown Tulsa, Sharp will lead the Tulsa Chamber Chorus and Bluegrass Band in a performance of his work, "Come Away to the Skies: A High, Lonesome Bluegrass Mass." The concert starts at 7:30pm; doors open at 6:45pm, with a pre-show BBQ dinner and exhibit available.

We are pleased to welcome to ST Alfonso Martin, a Principal Dancer with Tulsa Ballet who first joined the company in 1998 as a Demi-Soloist. This season, Martin's 14th with TulsaBallet, will be his last; he's decided to "go out while still on top" in terms of his retirement from dancing.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Kostis Protopapas of Tulsa Opera back to our show. Tulsa Opera will soon present Donizetti's "The Daughter of the Regiment," a comic opera in two acts; it'll be staged at the Tulsa PAC on October 13th (at 7:30pm), 19th (at 7:30pm), and 21st (at 2:30pm). This production stars soprano Sarah Coburn, tenor Gregory Schmidt, bass-baritone Peter Strummer, and mezzo-soprano Dorothy Byrne. Protopapas was named artistic director of Tulsa Opera in 2008; he's currently also serving as the organization's interim executive director.

Our guest on ST is Elizabeth Patterson, the longtime director of the world-renowned choir known as Gloriae Dei Cantores ("Singers to the Glory of God"). This group is known and admired for its wide-ranging choral artistry, which takes in the repertoire of sacred choral music, Gregorian chant, 21st-century compositions, and more. The choir has received critical acclaim for its artistic elegance, performance authenticity, and compelling spirituality; it's made dozens of recordings over the years and has toured extensively across the globe.

What does "blue" mean to you --- that is, what does it mean musically? Does it denote a calm sky? Or a dramatic seascape? Or a conservative or subtle --- or perhaps emphatic --- image of some kind? Tomorrow night (Saturday the 22nd) at 7:30pm, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra kicks off its new season with a "blue"-inspired concert in the Chapman Music Hall at the Tulsa PAC. (Each of the performances in the TSO's 2012-2013 season will carry its own colorful theme, as it were --- there's a "Green" concert in November, a "Yellow" one in December, etc.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we speak with Ken Tracy, the founder of (and programming director for) the Tulsa-based nonprofit arts organization known as Choregus Productions.

This year's OK Mozart Festival gets underway on Friday the 8th; it runs for more than a week, with an array of not-to-be-missed performances in both Bartlesville and OKC. We're joined on this installment of StudioTulsa by four members of the Amici New York Orchestra, the outstanding classical collective that's been at the heart of the OK Mozart Festival since its beginning in 1985.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the widely accomplished freelance classical conductor Alastair Willis, who will be the Guest Conductor for the Tulsa Symphony when it performs "Musical Fireworks" --- the title for its final concert of the season --- tomorrow night (May 5th) at the Tulsa PAC. The performance begins at 7:30 pm; it will include works by Handel ("Music for the Royal Fireworks"), Haydn ("Concerto for Trumpet"), and Bartok ("Concerto for Orchestra"), with the Haydn selection featuring the symphony's Principal Trumpeter, Tim McFadden.

On today's show, we present a chat with the charming, delightful, and highly accomplished young concert pianist, Petronel Malan, whose debut CD, "Transfigured Bach: The Complete Bach Transcriptions of Bartok, Lipatti, and Friedman," was nominated for three Grammy Awards in 2004. (She's made three additional CDs of "transfigured" music since then.) Malan will perform as a guest artist with Tulsa Camerata on Thursday night (the 26th) at 7pm in Emerson Hall at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa.

Today on ST, we chat with Paul Chihara (born 1938 in Seattle), a film and TV composer who's been active in Hollywood since the 1970s. Interestingly, Chihara is also a well-respected and prolific composer of classical music --- from avant-garde works to mainstream, highly melodic pieces; from symphonies and concertos to chamber music, choral compositions, and ballets --- and he's still, today, writing music for noted orchestras throughout the country.

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