Classical Music

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!

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we welcome the Tulsa-based composer, musician, and music teacher Noam Faingold back to our show. He's also the curator for the fifth-annual OK Electric Festival of Electroacoustic Music, which he tells us about. This special event (presented by Living Arts of Tulsa) happens tonight, Thursday the 5th, at Duet Jazz; more info, including how to get tickets, is posted here.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the scholar who will deliver the free-to-the-public 2020 Cadenhead-Settle Memorial Lecture here at TU tonight (Tuesday the 3rd). Our guest is is Dr. Christy L. Pichichero, whose work focuses on the racial (geo)politics of the early modern era in France. Her talk is titled "Black | Power: Race, Empire, & Privilege in Enlightenment France." Dr.

Our guest is Leona Mitchell, the legenday American opera star, Grammy Award-winning soprano, and member of Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. Born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma -- and now based there, after a long career that took her to famous opera houses all over the world -- Mitchell is perhaps best known for her 18 seasons as a leading spinto soprano at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 2014, she was inducted into the Oklahoma African-American Hall of Fame. She joins us to look back on her remarkable career.

The Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will offer its next concert tomorrow night, Saturday the 8th, at the Tulsa PAC. The exciting program will include music by Michael Torke as well as Grieg's lyrical Piano Concerto (with guest artist Sean Chen at the keyboard). Also, Mozart's Symphony No. 39 will be presented. Our guest on ST will be the guest conductor for this concert: Leslie Dunner.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Max Oppenheimer/Classical Tulsa

It was his musical shot across his teacher’s bow: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet Op.18, No. 1. You can hear this piece live when Chamber Music Tulsa presents the Daedalus Quartet live at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center February 2nd.

Our guest is Daniel Hege, who will tomorrow night (Saturday the 11th) conduct the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra in its next concert. The program, titled "Strauss and Schumann," will offer an evening of lush, ornate, wholly gorgeous music. The night opens with J.S. Bach's "Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor," as orchestrated by Sir Edward Elgar. Next comes Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs," featuring the acclaimed soprano Sarah Coburn. And finally: "Symphony No. 2" by Robert Schumann. Details are posted here

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.”

Our guest is the esteemed pianist, Robin Sutherland, who's known for his long, well-regarded tenure with the San Francisco Symphony. He'll join the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra onstage on Saturday night, the 16th, in a concert led by Gerhardt Zimmermann. Sutherland will perform Mozart's Piano Concerto in C Minor; also on the program will be works by Berlioz and Lutoslawski. More information, including ticket details, is posted here.

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!

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Max Oppenheimer/Classical Tulsa

It took him 20 years to compose his First String Quartet, but just a few weeks to write his last: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Johannes Brahms's String Quartet No. 3, Op. 67. You can hear this piece live when Chamber Music Tulsa presents the Harlem Quartet at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center November 10th.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Max Oppenheimer/Classical Tulsa

In order to escape the influence of Germany, he looked east – much farther east: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Claude Debussy's String Quartet. You can hear this piece live when Chamber Music Tulsa presents the Harlem Quartet at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center November 10th.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Max Oppenheimer/Classical Tulsa

Sometimes you just need a little more time to get a better perspective on the thing you're working on: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Johannes Brahms's Piano Trio No. 3, Op. 87. You can hear this piece live when Chamber Music Tulsa presents the Lysander Trio at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center October 13th.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Max Oppenheimer/Classical Tulsa

Charming and genteel may not be the first words to come to mind when you think of Beethoven, but they are in this case: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op. 70, No. 2. You can hear this piece live when Chamber Music Tulsa presents the Lysander Trio at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center October 13th.

Photo by Oil City News

Our guest is Ron Spigelman, who will conduct the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra during its next concert (happening tomorrow night, Saturday the 5th, at the Tulsa PAC). Opening with Rimsky-Korsakov's vivid "Capriccio Espagnol," the evening will also feature Mozart's "Posthorn Symphony" (or Serenade No. 9) and Debussy's swirling and colorful "Images." More info is posted here.

Our guest on ST is the widely acclaimed mandolinist and composer, Jeff Midkiff. He will soon perform his "Concerto for Mandolin and Orchestra: From the Blue Ridge" with the Signature Symphony at TCC. The concert happens on Saturday night, the 28th, at the TCC Van Trease PACE (at 10300 E. 81st Street in Tulsa). It begins at 7:30pm; ticket information is posted here. The evening will also feature Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony as well as the Overture from "Ruslan and Lyudmila" (the opera by Mikhail Glinka).

Tomorrow night, Saturday the 14th, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will present a special gala concert at the Tulsa PAC (beginning at 8pm). The guest artist will be the world-renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine, who will play Samuel Barber's soulful and lyrical Violin Concerto. Also on the program will be Rossini's "Barber of Seville" and Mussorgsky/Ravel's "Pictures at an Exhibition." Our guest on StudioTulsa is the TSO's Principal Guest Conductor, Daniel Hege, who will lead the orchestra.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less: Season 1

Sep 11, 2019
Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Max Oppenheimer/Classical Tulsa

Chamber Music Tulsa and Public Radio Tulsa present Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less Season 1, six new podcasts from musicologist and Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman.

Signature Symphony Conductor to Step Down in 2020

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

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.

 

Our guest is Keith Elder, who has recently been named the new executive director of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. Elder, who will assume his new job in August, comes to the TSO from the Aspen Music Festival and School, which is widely seen as one of America's top classical music festivals. A tuba player by training, Elder was the general manager and vice president in Aspen; he's also worked with the Eastman School of Music and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the nonprofit Harmony Project, a long-running (and highly successful) music-based mentoring program that provides academic tutoring, instruments, and music lessons to at-risk students (in grades K through 12) nationwide. The program was begun in 2001 in Los Angeles -- as a "public-health intervention" -- by Dr. Margaret Martin, who is our guest today. There are by now several different Harmony Project Affiliates -- in New Orleans, Kansas City, East St.

We chat with the acclaimed English conductor Matthew Halls, who will be the Guest Conductor for the next Tulsa Symphony Orchestra concert, happening tomorrow night (the 13th) at the Tulsa PAC. The program will feature Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances" as well as works by Strauss and Piazolla. More on this concert is posted here.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is the noted classical/crossover/experimental cellist and activist Amanda Gookin, who'll play a pair of interesting shows here in Tulsa this coming weekend as part of the 2019 OK Electric Festival. Gookin will be at Living Arts on Friday night (the 22nd) and at Duet Jazz on Saturday night (the 23rd). She'll be performing pieces from her newly created Forward Music Project 2.0, for which five female composers crafted cello-plus-electronics-and-multimedia works addressing such timely topics as body shaming and women's rights in Iran.

Photo by Bernie Guzik

Our guest is the locally based musician and photographer, Bernie Guzik. As a tuba player, the Ohio-born Guzik, who attended Julliard, has peformed with the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Tulsa Symphony, and so forth. Now retired from music, he devotes more and more time to his other longtime passion: photography. Guzik tells us about this passion, which has led him to travel all over the world, documenting vanishing cultures with his camera.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Rubén Rengel, the 22-year-old Venezuelan violinist who won the 2018 Sphinx Competition, which is held annually for talented Black and Latino string players. Rengel will appear in Tulsa on Saturday night, the 16th, with the Signature Symphony at TCC. (More info and details on tickets are here.) On the program, Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin in D major, op. 35, which is a feature for Rengel, as well as Amy Beach's Symphony in E minor (a/k/a "the Gaelic").

Our guest is John Jeter, the longtime Music Director and Conductor of the Fort Smith Symphony. That symphony has a new CD out, which Jeter tells us about. It's a widely acclaimed recording of the work of Florence Price (1887-1953), who was a pioneering African-American classical composer. Indeed, Price, who was originally from Little Rock and spent many years in Chicago, was the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have her music played by a major U.S. orchestra.

On this edition of ST, we learn about The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, which is scheduled to open on the campus of OSU in Stillwater in October of this year. And although it's not yet open, the McKnight Center will soon offer -- from February 25th through March 3rd, with performances in Stillwater, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Dallas -- its second Chamber Music Festival. This festival will feature intimate soirée performances, a youth concert for area students, master classes for OSU student musicians, and a free community concert (happening in Stillwater on Saturday the 2nd).

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