Classical 88.7

Photo from Iowa Public Radio

Our guest is the renowned orchestral conductor Gerard Schwarz, who will lead the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra in a special broadcast-only concert to be aiared on our sister station, Classical 88.7 KWTU-FM, on Saturday the 27th at 8pm -- with a rebroadcast happening on Sunday the 28th at 4pm. (In both cases, the over-the-air concert can be live-streamed online at Schwarz has had a pioneering, quite remarkable career in music, which he tells us about.

Arnold Schönberg Center

A century ago, as Europe was coping with both the aftermath of World War I and the influenza pandemic, concerts were pretty far from most people’s minds. But amidst the chaos and uncertainty, one Viennese composer saw an opportunity. In the fall of 1918, Arnold Schoenberg and his students founded a bold, new organization – a Society for Private Musical Performances – to promote contemporary music by reinventing the concert experience altogether. 

Our guest on StudioTulsa is the well-regarded African-American composer Adolphus Hailstork, who is based in Virginia. His music will be part of the program for a special broadcast-only concert to be presented by the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra on Saturday (the 27th) at 8pm -- with a re-airing on Sunday (the 28th) at 4pm. This concert will be a celebration of Black History Month, and it will air on our sister-station, Classical 88.7 KWTU-FM. More details are posted here.

The Tulsa Symphony Orchestra is going DIGITAL! You can now listen to select special performances broadcast exclusively on KWTU Classical 88.7! Public Radio Tulsa and the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra are partnering throughout 2021 so you can listen from the warmth, safety, and the comfort of your home.

Courtesy Lara Downes

To call pianist Lara Downes “busy” is an understatement. In just the past year, she’s released three albums, including one of my favorite new releases of 2020, Florence Price Piano Discoveries. She also launched a new interview series for NPR Music, Amplify, where she hosts revealing conversations with compelling music makers, like clarinetist Anthony McGill and the multitalented Rhiannon Giddens.

It's Just a Fantasy

Jan 27, 2021

Every now and then on my show, I like to explore some of the genres and ideas we take for granted in classical music. I’ve covered subjects from rhapsodies to minimalism before, but on Classical Tulsa this week (Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 at noon on KWTU 88.7 FM), I’m taking a look at one of the most evocative of all musical forms: the fantasy.

Wikimedia Commons

What does it mean to be an American? And who gets to define the American experience? These are questions we often ask ourselves, particularly around the inauguration of a new president, but they’ve taken on a new urgency in light of recent events. 

Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a bit of trivia: no one knows when Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday really was.

Holiday Specials 2020

Nov 30, 2020

Some are new, some are annual favorites, and some are timeless classic stories...all intended to bring you a little holiday comfort and joy. Tune in to KWGS Public Radio 89.5 or KWTU Classical 88.7 during these days and times to hear holiday specials on Public Radio Tulsa. You can also listen live on our website HERE

Our guest is Daniel Hege, the Special Guest Conductor for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. We're pleased to welcome Hege back to StudioTulsa as he'll soon conduct the TSO in a Radio Broadcast Concert that will air later this month on our sister station, Classical 88.7 KWTU-FM. The pre-recorded, broadcast-only concert will be heard on Saturday the 28th (at 8pm), with a replay on Sunday the 29th (at 4pm). The program will include works by Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Joan Tower, and more.


This week on Classical Tulsa, we’ll give the radio premiere of a new composition by Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker. Tobias has composed six operas to date, but this new piece represents his return to symphonic music – with an operatic twist. 

Classical Tulsa

This fall, you’ll have the chance to learn even more about some of the greatest works of classical music, as our Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less podcast returns for its second season. Starting next week, you can my hear bite-sized audio introductions to six of the pieces on Chamber Music Tulsa’s streaming and live 2020-21 season, complete with a quick historical background and highlights from the musical themes. 

Tulsa Drillers courtesy

For classical music lovers, fall means the beginning of a new season and the promise of an exciting mix of new discoveries and familiar favorites. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed most of Tulsa’s concerts, but the Tulsa Symphony has just announced a plan to kick off their 2020-21 season in a responsible way.

As you may have heard, 2020 marks an important anniversary in the classical music world: the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven. Naturally, Beethoven’s music is getting plenty of exposure, both on Classical 88.7 and in live concerts (whenever those resume). 

I’ve never considered classical music to be a harmless diversion, detached from the real world. On the contrary: I’ve always loved this music precisely for its ability to speak to the human condition and give meaningful emotional expression to even our darkest hours.

This is all to say that this Friday’s Classical Tulsa could have been just another hour of nice music. But after recent events, I thought I needed to do better.

With Memorial Day this weekend, and the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe earlier this month, I wanted to spotlight some American music from the war years on this week’s Classical Tulsa.

For nearly a month, the Public Radio Tulsa studios have been closed to everyone but the news team. This means that many of the local shows on 88.7 and 89.5 have been in reruns for the past few weeks. My own show, Classical Tulsa, was in that same boat – until now, that is: I’ve just finished setting up a home studio, so I can record new episodes while I shelter in place!

For nearly a month, the Public Radio Tulsa studios have been closed to everyone but the news team. This means that many of the local shows on 88.7 and 89.5 have been in reruns for the past few weeks. My own show, Classical Tulsa, was in that same boat – until now, that is: I’ve just finished setting up a home studio, so I can record new episodes while I shelter in place!

Holiday Specials 2019

Dec 5, 2019

Join Public Radio Tulsa for the 2019 holiday specials. There are the perennial favorites and a few new specials along the way. Tune in to these scheduled dates to KWGS Public Radio 89.5 or KWTU Classical 88.7 for all these can't-miss specials.

Mindy Ratner fell hopelessly in love with radio as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she volunteered at an on-campus student station.  Lucky for us, her love affair with radio continues, and we hear her most afternoons on KWTU Classical 88.7!

Signature Symphony Conductor to Step Down in 2020

Jun 10, 2019
Conductor Andrés Franco leading the Signature Symphony at TCC

Tulsa's Signature Symphony has announced that music director Andrés Franco will step down at the end of their upcoming 2019-20 season. The orchestra, which is affiliated with Tulsa Community College, expects to launch a search for a new music director quickly, with candidates leading concerts as early as the 2020-21 season.


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. 

A New Ballet for Philbrook: Ryan Lott's Pentaptych

Jan 31, 2019
Eric Sall/courtesy

This past September, the Tulsa Ballet gave the world premiere of a brand-new work commissioned by the Philbrook Museum. Called Pentaptych, the music was composed by Ryan Lott, a Los Angeles-based musician and founder of the electronica ensemble Son Lux, and realized by Lott together with violinists Hajnal Pivnick and Rob Moose and cellist Eric Byers.

Classical Tulsa Podcast: Sitting Down with Ryan & Ryan

Jun 22, 2018
Pianists Barron Ryan and Donald Ryan

On this Classical Tulsa podcast, host Jason Heilman sits down with pianists Donald Ryan and Barron Ryan, who perform together as the father-and-son duo of Ryan & Ryan. With a wide-ranging repertoire encompassing classical, jazz, film music, and more, they've thrilled audiences in Tulsa and beyond with their virtuosic displays of piano pyrotechnics.  In this interview, the Ryans describe

Live on Classical Tulsa: The Catalyst Quartet

May 11, 2018
The Catalyst Quartet: violinists Karla Donehew Perez and Jessie Montgomery, cellist Karlos Rodriguez and violist Paul Laraia
Frank Christel

This week, the Catalyst Quartet was in town to perform for all of the fourth graders in the Tulsa Public Schools as part of Chamber Music Tulsa's contribution to the Any Given Child program.

This month, Chamber Music Tulsa brings the exciting Catalyst Quartet to Tulsa to introduce chamber music to all of the fourth graders in the Tulsa Public Schools system. But you don't have to be in grade school to hear a special live performance by the quartet in our studios on the May 11 episode of KWTU’s Classical Tulsa!

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