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.
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.
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.