Jason Heilman

Host, Classical Tulsa

Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman is no stranger to Tulsa’s concert audiences, having been a frequent speaker at concerts by Tulsa Camerata, Chamber Music Tulsa, and other local groups. Originally from Wisconsin, Jason grew up in Tulsa, where he began playing trumpet in his middle school band. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Tulsa, a master’s degree in music history from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in musicology and European Studies from Duke University. Jason’s area of expertise is the music of Vienna circa 1900, and while he was completing his dissertation, he lived in Vienna for a year and a half. Officially, he was there as an invited fellow at the IFK International Research Center for Cultural Studies, but in reality, he spent most of his time attending concerts and sampling the city’s many bratwurst and kebab stands.  Jason has taught music courses at Duke and at the University of Texas at Austin, but his real calling is inspiring people to experience the vast diversity of classical music firsthand. After returning to his hometown of Tulsa, he and three other local musicians co-founded Tulsa Camerata in 2010. In addition to his innovative role as Tulsa Camerata’s concert narrator, he also served for two years as its executive director. When Tulsa Camerata commissioned Michael Daugherty’s This Land Sings: Songs of Wandering, Love, and Protest Inspired by the Life and Times of Woody Guthrie, Jason wrote the narrator’s part and performed it at the world premiere in Tulsa in April 2016. Jason met his wife, Rosalyn, when they were both sixth graders at Byrd Middle School and they married twenty-five years later. His three passions in life are music, beer, and coffee, and he doesn’t consider a day complete without all three.

Courtesy Jason Heilman

      “It’s a story – it’s like reading a novel” is how British conductor Timothy Brown describes George Frideric Handel’s oratorio, Messiah. “As a novel, it has no poor moments. It’s a page-turner.”

This summer I am dedicating the show to composers you don’t get to hear often, and I am calling is a "Festival of Overlooked Composers" on Classical Tulsa. The series began on June 7 with the Baroque era and moves forward each week, culminating on July 5 with some of my favorite overlooked American composers.

Who are the artists? Of course, there are several women among history’s most overlooked composers

Spring is already upon us, which means it’s time for Tulsa’s classical music institutions to set their programs for next season. Whether you have season tickets to the Tulsa Opera or it is on your bucket list to attend a Tulsa Ballet performance, there is something for eveyrone right here in our hometown. Here’s an overview of what you can look forward to hearing next season:

This month, I’m excited to join the classical music world in paying tribute to French romantic composer Hector Berlioz on the 150th anniversary of his death. 

Classical Tulsa with Jason Heilman
Classical Tulsa

In addition to the weekly show, you can also enjoy the Classical Tulsa Podcast. It spotlights upcoming local concert performances through extended interviews with the music-makers themselves. Hosted by Jason Heilman.


Episode One: An Interview with Violinist Rossitza Goza

Episode Two: An Interview with Composer Noam Faingold

Episode Three: Sitting Down with Ryan & Ryan