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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
On this edition of ST, we're pleased to welcome Rebecca Ungerman back to our program. She has long been known and admired as one of the outstanding jazz/cabaret singers in the Tulsa community. She's also a wonderful songwriter, and her original musical, "The Unwitting Wife," was first staged about two years ago here in town (and was thereafter staged in Israel).
This has been an anxious past few months for many in Tulsa's arts community. That community was very much caught off-guard by the decision of Mayor Bartlett's office to eliminate most of the City of Tulsa's arts funding. Alarming proposals to cut staff positions at the Tulsa PAC Trust, the Waterworks Community Arts Center, and both the Heller and Clark Theatres effectively galvanized supporters all over town, and these supporters quickly spurred the City Council to oppose the Mayor's proposals.
Tomorrow night, Saturday the 11th, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra continues its current season with a pair of beloved yet quite different masterpieces: Mozart's Symphony No. 40 and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5. The concert begins at 7:30pm in the Chapman Music Hall at the Tulsa PAC. (You'll find more about this upcoming concert at this page from the TSO website.) We are joined today on ST by James Judd, who will be the Guest Conductor tomorrow evening.