There is something for everyone at this year’s OK Mozart Festival. Attendees at this year’s 26th annual OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville June 11-19 would be hard pressed to find a wider variety of featured artists anywhere.
Following opening ceremonies at Johnstone Park on Friday night, the performances begin with a bang from Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s World Premier of “Ludwig” with the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra. Founded in Tulsa, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey consists of Brian Haas on piano, Josh Raymer on drums, Chris Combs on tap steel, and Jeff Harshbarger on double bass. The band is now considered one of the foremost contemporary jazz bands in the world, having released more than 20 records and performing around the globe at top venues. “Ludwig” consists of innovative reinterpretations of Beethoven’s 3rd and 6th symphonies into modern music for today’s audiences.
Sunday features two performances, a matinee with Celtic Spring, six siblings who play the fiddle and are trained in Irish high-step dancing, backed by their mom on the keyboard and their dad on percussion. Their defining element is the dual expertise in music and dance. Audiences are astounded by their tight choreography, powerful footwork, and fiddling, all at the same time.
Sunday evening features “Time Changes Everything”, a one-act play based on the premise of what would have happened if Bob Wills and Woody Guthrie had actually met. Written by Thomas Conner and John Wooley, performed by Brad Piccolo and John Cooper from the Red Dirt Rangers, the play is followed with a mini-concert by the Red Dirt Rangers. The group blends country, rock, folk and blues into a format reminiscent of Woody Guthrie and Bob Wills.
Monday’s performance features Time for Three, two violins and a double bass, with elements of classical, country western, gypsy, and jazz blended together. The group gained instant attention in 2003 during a lightning-induced power failure at Philadelphia’s Mann Center when two of the group began in impromptu jam session playing “Ragtime Annie” and The Orange Blossom Special.” The crowd went wild.
Tuesday night the Spencer Prentiss Classic All-Stars take the stage with artists David Shifrin, Kathleen Nester and Alexander Sitkovetsky, hosted by Fred Child. They will play selections written by Hummel, Schubert, Shostakovich, Strauss, and Mendelssohn. Shifrin is one of only two wind players to have been awarded the Avery Fisher Prize since the award’s inception in 1974. Sitkovetsky was born in Moscow and has performed with the English Chamber Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, Bangkok Symphony and toured with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. Nester is a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and on the flute faculty at New York University and this year will mark her 16th visit to OK Mozart.
On Wednesday the Woolaroc Outdoor Concert with the Amici New York Orchestra takes place at Clyde Lake, with guest conductor JoAnn Falletta, who serves as the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony orchestras. Kyle Turner is featured as principal tubist. The concert will close with the “Washington Post March” and the “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
Thursday night marks a concert with Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain trio.
Fleck has been called the premier banjo player in the world and has won 11 Grammy Awards while Meyer has been hailed by the New Yorker magazine as “the most remarkable virtuoso” on the bass. Hussain is recognized as “an international phenomenon” on the tabla. He creates some of the most sophisticated sounds any hand drummer can produce.
Friday night features the Concert of Concerti with the Amici New York Orchestra, guest conductor Andrew Sewell and artists Robin Sutherland, David Shifrin, and Paul Neubauer. Sutherland has been a frequent performer at OK Mozart through the years and plays Mozart with a uniquely effortless touch on piano. He is the featured pianist with the San Francisco Symphony. Paul Neubauer is the Music Director for OK Mozart and has appeared with more than 100 orchestras throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
For tickets and more information please go online to www.okmozart.com or call 918-336-9800 or visit the OK Mozart office at 500-A S. Dewey in Bartlesville. This year’s festival features more concerts than ever, for less money, according to Shane Jewell, Executive Director, with ticket prices beginning at only $15 per performance when purchased in series.
The OK MOZART International Festival takes place every June in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and is made possible through the support of the Oklahoma Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Allied Arts & Humanities Council of Bartlesville, ConocoPhillips, , Accenture and individual, corporate and foundation patrons throughout the . This year OK MOZART was nominated by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits for the Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence Award.
In addition to its internationally-acclaimed classical and chamber music concert series, OK MOZART presents a variety of performing arts, including dance, jazz, pops and Broadway show tunes, as well as a full program of related cultural events throughout the annual nine-day Festival. These include many daytime Showcase Events — mini-concerts, talks and tours. The OK MOZART Festival is produced by OK MOZART, Inc., a non-profit 501©(3) organization.
For more information on the festival, visit www.okmozart.com. To learn more about patron benefits and sponsorship opportunities, call the Festival office at 918-336-9900.